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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Trade Commissioner Hogan and MEPs warn USA not to overreact to Digital Tax, but pursue Dialogue

EU Trade Commissioner Hogan and MEPs warn USA not to overreact to Digital Tax, but pursue Dialogue

Written by ACM
Thursday, 19 December 2019
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- In the 1st ever Debate in EU Parliament on US possible reactions to Digital Tax, New EU Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan from Ireland, warned USA not to overreact, but Better pursue Dialogue through OECD and/or other ways.      

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- "it would be a matter of significant concern to the (EU) Commission  if the US should decide to introduce tariffs against the EU", in an "Unilateral" move, "for the 1st Time" in History,

- Similar methods "have previously been used only in response to unfair trading practices in China’s non-market economy in order to justify US tariffs against China", Hogan pointed out.

- But, here, on the Contrary, it's about "ensuring that Digital Companies pay their Fair Share of Taxes", he stressed. Already since 2018, EU Commission had "made 2 Proposals" : (A) "a Short-term Target", with "Digital Services Taxation", and (B) "a Long-term Comprehensive Solution", by "adjusting the Definition of a Permanent Establishment... to include Digital ...for Corporation tax", he Reminded. EU Parliament "supported the Digital ServicesTax", "Pending a Comprehensive Solution", he added. Because there are "increasing pressures ... faced by Member States to act, given the risk that their Corporate tax base is being Eroded significantly over Time and the perceived Unfairness of the situation", he explained.

AnOther Possibilty is to "accelerate Discussions at the OECD level to find a Global Solution on taxation issues, including a global Digital service taxation"

- But, Meanwhile, "unfortunately", the EU "Council did Not Find Agreement....on the Beginning of 2019", so that "                            "France and some other Member States then, proceeded to adopt or prepare National Digital service Taxes".

=> Then, "the USA started an ... Investigation on July 2019", which "is the 1st US investigation into a digital service tax, despite France being Neither the 1st, Nor the Only country that has adopted it".

- However, on August 2019, "on the margins of a G7 meeting in Biarritz", Presidents Trump and Macron Agreed "that France would continue levying the tax and would Reimburse companies if subsequently there was a difference between the French tax and the OECD Global solution'.

- But, "Despite that", "the US continued with its investigation with a negative determination on 2 December 2019, claiming that France’s digital service tax is unreasonable, discriminatory and burdens or restricts US commerce" : "This ...opens the route for Unilateral Measures, under US Law".


>>> But, the EU "Commission calls upon the US Not to break its obligations under international Law.... President von der Leyen made clear that the EU will Act and React as One, Against any                                          Unilateral measures outside the multilateral trading system. The EU will collectively Defend a Member State, If a trading Partner takes Unilateral trade Measures Against it !", he Warned.


- "It would be the 1st time that the US has used this instrument Against the EU, since the WTO was founded in 1995" ,

while, on the Contrary, "the US Statute envisages further Discussions as an option"... "So, we in the (EU) Commission will Keep on Pushing for these Discussions", Hogan concluded Today.

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+ In the subsequent Debate, French MEP Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Speaking on behalf of the Groupe "ReNew", Criticised a "World Trade in "Troubled Waters", and Pleaded for "any Balanced World Trade Based into Rules".

- But, in Fact, we (EU) Faced Taxes on Aluminium and Steel, our Agriculture producers are under Customs, on the occasion of the Affair "Airus/Boeing", and Nowadays, there is also a Threat for Various "Heavy" measures Against Trade, she Criticized.

- It's Not True that this Digital Tax would be "Discriminatory". It only represents a Juste Remuneration for Digital services, she found.

=> EU searches a Negociated Solution inside the OECD, and we Support that. We don't want any Trade War. More Tensions will only provoke more Losers. We want Better Dialogue !", she concluded.=

+ "And EU Solidarity !", added also Irish ChristianDemocrat MEP Maria Walsh.

 


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    - "Europe must be liberated from this undermining "wooden talk" of a "unique thought" which hampers democratic debates", stressed incoming EU Chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking to Journalists after his official meeting with EU Commission's President, Jose Barroso, at Elysee Palace in Paris

    - "It's precisely because there are not enough Debates, that EU hasn't managed yet to make it clear to European citizens what is really at stake", he added, in an obvious reference to the latest Irish "No" in 2008, after a long series of similar, unprecedented events, from the 1st Majority Abstention to EU Parliament's Elections in 1999, repeated in 2004, to the Dutch and French "No" in 2005, etc.


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          In fact, "there is no time to lose for Europe, and that's why we decided to start the French EU Presidency right away, from the first day", he explained, on France's exceptional choice to schedule the usual meeting with EU Commission from the 1st day of the 1st month, instead of the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or even 10th or 11th, as it had been done by others in the Past..    


    - "This is not an easy period, but we shall act with determination, while also listening to Citizens' views", he promised.

    Sarkozy's move came shortly before his opening Speech, next week in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, for the first Public Debate on the Priorities of the French EU Presidency (July - December 2008), and that's one of the reasons for which he significantly opened his EU Council's Chairmanship by welcoming at Elysee palace EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert Poettering at first..

    The incoming EU Chairman was replying to Press Questions about rumours that controversial British EU Commissioner on Trade, Mandelson, was alone to drop an invitation to have a working Diner at Elysee palace, together with all other EU Commissioners and the French Government, only because he would have been upset for some critical points made earlier by President Sarkozy in defense of European Agriculture vis-a-vis its Foreign competitors.

    But, as smiling Sarkozy played down Mandelson's reported refusal to debate, saying that he had to visit Marseille for a Ministerial meeting on Trade the next morning, and that "all our British friends are always welcome to taste a nice diner" in France, perhaps at another occasion..

    - "It's urgent to win anew the trust of the People" : Lately, "the European ideal lost its momentum. Since several years, whenever Citizens are questioned on Europe, they react with reserves : They even have .. a tendency to reply "NO".. After this 3rd "No" of a People in some years, there is an Urgency to convince", added French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, after a meeting earlier the same day of all Ministers with EU Commissioners, followed by an interview with Barroso

    "According to recent Polls, only 30% of French people believe that the European construction is a source of hope. It's only a poll, but we all now quite well, that, since 2005, it's dangerous to neglect these alarming signals, as it would be dangerous to treat with contempt the Irish "No", Fillon warned.

    "We all have a common duty to prove to the European Citizens who have doubts, that EU is more useful, more necessary, than ever" : And "that EU can take decisions needed in order to respond to European or Global challenges", the Prime Minister concluded.

    - "We believe, together with President Sarkozy, that EU should open debates on all issues of direct, concrete interest to Citizens", confirmed later to EuroFora the Head of France's governing party (UMP), Patrick Devedjan, after his speech to the European People's party (EPP) Study Days in Paris (2 - 4 July 2008).

    He didn't deny that one of them is Turkey : - "Public Opinion in France is very much unfavorable to Turkey's EU bid, and President Sarkozy has said that several times", he told EuroFora.

    From European Central Bank's controversial policies on Euro's value, to EU Enlargement Strategy, etc., issues of obvious importance to EU Citizens will be plenty, next week in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, before President Sarkozy launches the debates on EU 2008 French chairmanship's priorities on Thursday.

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