France's digital tax: Trump threatens reprisals
In reaction to France's introduction of a digital tax that will mainly affect the technology giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (Gafa), US President Donald Trump has threatened to tax French wine. While some commentators voice concern for French wine producers, others focus on the sensitivities of the US economy.
Another blow for France's wine producers
The US tax on French wines would be a hard blow for winegrowers, comments Jean-Marc Vittori, a columnist for business paper Les Echos, on the radio station France Inter:
“It's not 20 cents extra tax on a good burgundy that will change much. But if Trump really comes down hard it could do major damage. The Americans are the nation that spends most on French wines, ahead of the British, who are on the brink of Brexit, and the Chinese, who are increasingly giving preference to Australian and Chilean wines. The viniculturalists are also having to adjust to the decline of red wine, the demands of trade and climate change. A plunge in their US market sales would hit the producers of French wines hard at a moment of great fragility.”
An attack on the heart of the US economy
Paris is running roughshod over US sentiment, criticises tax lawyer Fréderic Douet in the business paper Les Echos:
“The Gafa tax is supposedly justified by the fact that the digital giants pay no tax, or very little. A word must be said in that regard. It's true that Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and even Microsoft are subject to little taxation in Europe. However, from a global perspective their taxes are as high as they are for other companies. Edouard Philippe's government seems to be forgetting that the Gafa companies spearhead the US economy - and the US intelligence system. The brunt of the Gafa tax will be borne by the Gafa companies - and indirectly by the US. And they see that as an attack.”