LONDON (Reuters) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday welcomed President Joe Biden’s administration’s support for a proposed global tax on tech giants, saying a multilateral agreement could go into effect next spring.
This comes shortly after Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee for the Secretary of the Treasury, expressed her support for calls for technology companies to pay a greater share of their revenues in the countries in which they operate.
Former President Donald Trump strongly opposed the proposed tax arrangements, saying they discriminate against US companies.
Speaking via video link at the top of the Davos agenda, Le Maire said: “I think it is very good that the new Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, has just made it clear that she has been open about the idea of considering new international taxes on the two pillars: First and foremost, digital taxation. And, of course, also minimum taxes on corporate tax. “
“I think we are on the right track. There is a possibility to reach an agreement on this new international tax system by the end of the spring of 2021. I can tell you that we will do our best to pave the way for the agreement,” Le Maire told Geoff Katmore of CNBC.
Yellen endorsed calls for a new global tax on tax giants during a Senate hearing last week.
“This will enable us to collect a fair share of companies while preserving the competitiveness of our business and reducing the incentives that American companies now have for outside activities,” Yellen said, AFP reported on January 20.
French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire speaks during a press conference in Paris on January 14, 2021.
Thomas COEX | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images
“The winners from the economic crisis are the digital giants. How can you explain to some sectors that have been hard hit by the crisis and are paying (on) the level of taxes owed that the digital giants will not have to pay? Pay the same amount of taxes?” Le Maire added.
“This is unfair and ineffective,” he said.
When asked whether it would be wise for France to seek corporate taxation amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Le Maire replied: “We must do our best to maintain the same level of investment. Otherwise, we clearly risk with countries open to exit the technological race of the 21st century. We have to think about the type of economy we want to build. “
“We want to build a sustainable economy. We want to reduce inequality between countries. We also want to reduce inequality in the international tax system.”
The World Economic Forum is taking place online this year due to the coronavirus crisis. A virtual gathering of businessmen, political thinkers and world heads of state is scheduled to be held in Singapore in May.