President Trump lashed out on Tuesday against France’s digital tax during a meeting with NATO leaders in London.
France in July implemented the 3-percent tax on companies with more than $834 million in revenue globally and more than $27 million in revenue in France made through certain digital services. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) finished its investigation into the tax on Monday, saying the U.S. would take action against the tax.
“I’m not going to let people take advantage of American companies,” the president said of France’s digital tax policy. “If anyone is going to take advantage of American companies, it’s going to be us. It’s not going to be France.”
U.S. tech giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon said the French tax, known as GAFA — an acronym representing all four companies — unfairly targets them.
The Trump administration on Monday threatened a 100% tariff on $2.4 billion of French imports in retaliation of the digital tax.
“Statements by French officials responsible for proposing and enacting the French DST show that the law deliberately targets U.S. companies,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement. The added that French officials “repeatedly referred to the French DST as the ‘GAFA tax,’ which stands for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.”
Trump said that the U.S. may implement a tax on the European aerospace company Airbus, which has shares that are traded in France.
“If France puts a tax on our companies … I don’t want France taxing American companies,” the president said as a follow-up to the United States’ announcement Monday that it could increase retaliatory tariffs on European goods if the EU continues to provide subsidies to Airbus.
The decision came after the World Trade Organization (WTO) rejected the EU’s claim that it no longer provides subsidies to Airbus.
“Strong action is needed to convince the EU that its interests lie in eliminating these market-distorting subsidies now and in the future so that our industries can compete on a level playing field,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.