France urges Trump to 'not mix' digital taxes with tariffs on wine

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Saturday urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE to refrain from slapping tariffs on his country’s wine exports in response to a new French tax law targeting technology giants such as Amazon and Google.

“It’s in our interest to have a fair digital tax,” Le Maire said at a press conference, according to Reuters. “Please do not mix the two issues. The key question now is how we can we get consensus on fair taxation of digital activities.”


Le Maire was responding to a Friday threat from the White House to tax French wine over the new law, which Trump described as foolish and said places an unjust burden on U.S. tech companies. 

“France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies. If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the USA. We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly. I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!” Trump tweeted. 

The French tax, which would affect several U.S.-based tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, imposes a 3 percent tax on the annual revenues of technology companies that make at least 750 million euros a year and provide services to users in the country.

Le Maire maintained that France would lift its digital tax if a deal could be reached at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on a universal tax. Thirty-six countries, mostly from Europe, are part of the body.

Several other European Union countries, including Austria, Britain, Spain and Italy, are also mulling passing their own digital taxes.

“The Trump Administration has consistently stated that it will not sit idly by and tolerate discrimination against U.S.-based firms,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement Friday responding to the French tax.