France sees EU digital tax solution in 2021

Dunya News

Le Maire said he would prefer a global accord

 PARIS (AFP) - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire forecast Friday there would be a European solution next year on taxing digital giants should global talks at the OECD hit a wall.

After months of technical talks, 137 countries met in January under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to negotiate a deal on how to tax multinational tech companies.

Big EU countries say the so-called GAFA group -- Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon -- unfairly exploits tax rules that let them declare profits in low-tax havens, depriving other governments of their share.

France, Britain, Spain, Italy and others have imposed taxes on the largest digital companies but officials in Washington say that amounts to discrimination against US firms.

The US continues to oppose ideas put forward at the OECD, but German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said last month he was confident an international blueprint could be agreed later this year.

On Friday, Le Maire told the media groups RMC/BFMTV: "If there is no OECD agreement we shall have a European solution during 2021.

"On the European level there is total mobilisation, notably with European (Economy) Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni," Le Maire said.

He noted a "reticence above all in the United States" on the issue but said opposition was falling away in EU states.

Le Maire said he would prefer a global accord, however.