The taxation of the digital in the impasse

La taxation du numérique dans l’impasse

Photo: Fernando Vergara Associated Press
The secretary-general of the OECD, Angel Gurria, has alerted the country about the risks that this impasse would lead to a “trade war”.

The international negotiations on taxation of the digital, apple of discord, recurrent between Washington and Paris, ending up in a stalemate after the “pause” announced by the United States, at the risk of triggering a trade war as the fear of the OECD.

The minister of Finance of the us, Steven Mnuchin, has sent a letter to some of its european counterparts, and the Organization for economic cooperation and development in which he announces ” a break in the negotiations “, indicated to the AFP a source close to the folder. These discussions, under the auspices of the OECD, should be concluded by the end of the year to a global agreement to tax groups such as the GAFA, which is regularly accused of not paying their fair share of tax.

This letter, “including the United States had demanded that it remain confidential,” mentioned the option of “resume discussions later this year” and formulated the hope that a global agreement is found before the 31st of December, explained the source, who regretted the “lack of seriousness” of this proposal.

Officially, the u.s. Treasury announced in a statement Wednesday ” that he had suggested to take a break […] at a time when governments around the world focus on the response to the pandemic of COVID-19 and on the re-opening any security of their savings “.

The argument did not convince the French Finance minister : Bruno the Mayor has denounced Thursday “a provocation” on the part of the United States, after having interpreted the message of Mr. Mnuchin as a desire “not to pursue” negotiations. “We were within inches of an agreement on the taxation of the giants of the digital, perhaps the only ones in the world who have derived immense benefits of the coronavirus “, has he lamented on France Inter, being outraged in the way that Washington treated his allies in the ” threatening routinely sanctions.”

In a written reaction which it is not customary, the secretary-general of the OECD, Angel Gurria, has alerted the country about the risks that this impasse would lead to a “trade war” that the world economy would be well, at a time where it undergoes full whip the crisis caused by the sars coronavirus. “Without a multilateral agreement, other countries will take unilateral measures, he warned. This would have the effect of reviving the trade disputes and, inevitably, increase trade tensions. “

In his letter, Mr. Mnuchin recalls that the other countries involved in the negotiations (137 in total) had rejected his proposal presented in December to introduce into the agreement the concept of ” safe harbour “. This expression, which could be translated as “port of withdrawal” means, in reality, the opportunity for the giants of the digital to submit, or not, with the new tax.

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