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30 Jul, 2019 19:29

‘Completely moronic’: French minister slams Trump’s plan to tax wine

‘Completely moronic’: French minister slams Trump’s plan to tax wine

France’s agriculture minister has blasted US President Donald Trump for his recent announcement that he will increase taxes on French wine in response to France’s move to hike taxes on US digital giants.

“It’s absurd, in terms of having a political and economic debate, to say that if you tax the ‘GAFAs’ [Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple], I’ll tax wine. It’s completely moronic,” Farming and Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume told the French news network BFM TV.

Earlier this month, France became the first major global economy to place a tax on the four US digital giants operating in France, aiming to eliminate a fiscal loophole that allowed them to pay next to nothing in countries where they make large profits, and “bring more justice and efficiency to the international tax system.”

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This reform drew a furious response from Trump, who pledged to retaliate with “substantial reciprocal action on [French President Emmanuel] Macron’s foolishness,” as he stated in a tweet last week.

When asked whether these measures could target French wine, Trump replied that it “might be on wine or something else.”

“I’ve always said American wine is better than French wine!” he added.

Last week, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also insisted that the digital tax and French wine were separate issues.“It’s in our interest to have a fair digital tax. Please do not mix the two issues. The key question now is how we can get consensus on fair taxation of digital activities,” Le Maire told reporters, as cited by Sputnik.

France’s new tax was signed into law last week. It will affect companies with global revenues of at least $834 million (€750 million). A minimum of $27 million (€25 million) must be earned in France through “digital activities” – such as advertising – for the tax to kick in. Le Maire noted that the taxation is a temporary solution that will be in place until an international agreement on how to tax the transnational digital corporations is reached.

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