Earlier this month the Office of the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer (USTR) released its report following an investigation under the Trade Act of 1974 into France’s new Digital Services Tax (DST).
The US strongly opposed the DST, which imposes a 3% tax on revenue generated in France from certain digital services by companies that generate revenues of €750 million globally and €25 million in France from those services. The USTR found that “the French DST is intended to, and by its structure and operation does, discriminate against U.S. digital companies. “
The USTR has responded by issuing a notice of intended tariffs of up to 100% on approximately US$2.4 billion of imports from France. The main items are food products, cosmetics, handbags and tableware.
The USTR will hold hearings into the tariff notice. Deadlines are 30 December 2019 for requests to appear at the public hearing, and 6 January 2020 for written comments. The public hearing is scheduled for 7 January 2020 and the deadline for post-hearing rebuttal comments is 14 January 2020.