BIARRITZ (AP/CBS SF) – A French diplomat says President Emmanuel Macron tried to reduce the pressure exerted by U.S. President Donald Trump over a new digital services tax the country is imposing on internet giants.
Last March, the French government introduced a 3% tax on revenue of companies like Google and Apple, with annual revenues that exceed €750 million ($843 million).
According to the Wall St. Journal, the “could cost Silicon Valley Companies billions of dollars.”
The official, who spoke anonymously in accordance with the French presidency’s customary practices, said Macron told Trump the tax is not an anti-American policy.
During a 2-hour working lunch with Trump, Macron stressed the need for every country to be able to tax digital activities.
Trump repeatedly vowed to retaliate against France for the new digital tax the country is imposing on big tech companies that sell online advertising by placing tariffs on French wine imports to the U.S.
The French diplomat said Macron told Trump there was no link to be made between the digital tax and the wine tariffs and tried to convince him there was no point in opening a trade war on that issue.
Macron also called for an end to the trade wars he said are “taking hold everywhere.” Just before Trump left the United States, he again threatened tariffs on French wines in retaliation for a French measure taxing technology companies.
European Council President Donald Tusk has promised EU retaliation if the U.S. makes good on its threats to impose tariffs on French wine.
Just before leaving for the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump again threatened new taxes on French wine in response to a French measure taxing internet companies.
Tusk said that “the last thing we need and want is confrontation with our best ally, the United States.” But he said France can count on EU loyalty for one of its most valuable exports.
Meanwhile, Macron has vowed to appeal to all world powers to help Brazil and other South American countries fight the fires burning in the Amazon.
Before the Group of Seven summit, Macron thrust the rainforest fires to the top of the agenda. He touched on it again in a national address, which took place just as Trump touched down in the French seaside resort of Biarritz.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.