Perfume of commercial war between the United States and Europe

US President Donald Trump on December 3 in London during a meeting with Emmanuel Macron.
US President Donald Trump on December 3 in London during a meeting with Emmanuel Macron. Evan Vucci / AP

Finally, Donald Trump played the appeasement. After meeting Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, December 3 in London on the sidelines of the NATO summit, the US president described "Minor dispute" the commercial conflict between France and the United States linked to the French digital tax. "I think we'll be able to overcome it," he continued. "I think with President Trump we can fix this situation," for its part, estimated the French head of state.

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Monday, the US administration has published a list of iconic French goods, such as champagne, handbags, Roquefort or cocottes Le Creuset, whose exports to the United States represent 2.4 billion euros per year. year. And on which Washington threatens to increase customs duties as of mid-January 2020, if France does not give up its GAFA tax.

Are we at stake

This is not the first time Washington has been blowing hot and cold on the subject. In July, when Paris had established the digital tax, the United States had opened an investigation on the grounds that it would be discriminatory for their companies. Mr. Macron and Mr. Trump had finally found a compromise at the G7 Biarritz end of August, the time the OECD negotiates an agreement on digital taxation.

It must be said that the amounts involved remain modest. "The digital tax, which also concerns non-American companies, must bring back 400 million in 2019", explains Bercy, who refuses to give the figures for the American giants. In comparison, Apple has won more than 55 billion dollars in 2018. But probably Mr. Trump fears that the French example is emulated, while Austria, Italy and Turkey have also planned to levy a tax on the digital in 2020. The US administration has also announced Monday that it planned to open an investigation against these three countries.

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If he decides to continue on the path of confrontation with Paris, Donald Trump will once again face Europe. "The United States must know that if they engage in a new set of sanctions against France, the European Union would be ready to react strongly", warned Tuesday the French Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, to meet Wednesday in Brussels the Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan. "The European Union will act and react in one block and remain united", confirmed a spokesman for the Commission.


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