OREANDA-NEWSFrench Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume called absurd the possible introduction by the US authorities of customs duties on French wines in connection with the “digital tax” adopted in the republic.

"This is the third time that the American president threatens us with duties", said the minister, speaking on the French TV channel on Tuesday. "This is absurd, just like the political and economic debates that if you tax GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple), then we are your wine", he said. The minister urged not to tie these two issues together, since this is about "completely different situations".

Earlier, US President Donald Trump, in an interview with journalists, said that he allowed for the introduction of customs duties on goods from France, in particular wine, because of the “digital tax” on US companies.

On July 11, the French Senate (upper house of parliament) finally adopted a bill on taxation of the largest companies offering digital services. This tax will affect the profits of Internet giants, received after January 1, 2019 and will be 3% of the total turnover in France. In particular, it will cover all companies whose turnover exceeds € 750 million in the world and € 25 million in France, as well as whose field of activity covers online advertising, online sales, or information aggregators. In 2020, tax revenues from IT corporations should grow to € 650 million.

The speaker of the United States in trade negotiations, Robert Lighthizer, in turn, said that Washington had begun to study the consequences of the decision of France to develop its own legislation governing the taxation of American digital giants, as well as to consider possible responses by the US administration. At the same time, Minister of Economy and Finance of France Bruno Le Mayor on the radio station France Info confirmed that the authorities of the country won't refuse to introduce the "digital tax".