Primed to retaliate with European Union over US tariff threat against Paris


"The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of European Union member states, which unfairly targets USA companies".

On Monday, US trade officials said that they had investigated the measure and found it was "unusually burdensome for affected US companies", according to a statement.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday promised a "strong" European Union response to threatened United States tariffs on French goods, as another front split open in the U.S. trade war.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire branded the U.S. threat unacceptable and said the French tax did not discriminate against American companies.

The trade office will accept public comments on the tariffs, which could hit 100%, through January 6 and hold a hearing January 7.

Lighthizer also said the Trump administration was also looking into a similar response for such taxes in Austria, Italy, and Turkey.

"I'm not in love with those (tech) companies, but they're our companies", Trump said Tuesday ahead of a sure-to-be-tense meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in London.

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Many videos were posted online which showed shoppers on the busy street running away frantically from the incident. A police spokesperson told local media that the youngest victim is a 13-year-old boy from The Hague .

It has been claimed by many countries across the world that tech giants, such as Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB), Google (GOOG), Netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), are paying a relatively small amount of tax to the countries it makes sales in.

It did not specify an effective date for the proposed 100% duties. In a report on Monday local time, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer recommended punitive tariffs on 63 product lines with a import value of around U.S. $2.4 billion on French goods. His government is trying to use France's national tax as a bargaining chip, saying it would withdraw it if there is agreement on an global solution - in talks under the stewardship of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But French Finance Minister Le Maire said ahead of the USTR announcement that the USA has backed off from supporting an OECD compromise.

"We can see that the United States is shifting into reverse", Le Maire said, reported AFP, adding that while the USA had expressed interest in an "international solution" from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Washington "now isn't sure it wants one".

However, despite Trump's repeated threats to retaliate against French wines, only sparkling wine made the tariff list.

"The French digital services tax is unreasonable, protectionist and discriminatory", Senators Charles Grassley and Ron Wyden, the top Republican and Democrat, respectively, on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a joint statement. "We will never abandon our will to tax digital giants in a fair way".

France's 3% levy applies to revenue from digital services earned by firms with more than 25 million euros ($27.86 million) in French revenue and 750 million euros ($830 million) worldwide.