US President Donald Trump has vowed “substantial” retaliation against France for a tax targeting American technology companies, threatening to impose tariffs on French wine and blasting French President Emmanuel Macron’s “foolishness.”
“If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the USA. We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron’s foolishness shortly,” Trump tweeted on Friday.
Later in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters the tax decision by Paris was wrong and he threatened duties on French wine.
France is the world’s top wine exporter in terms of revenue and the US is the world’s largest consumer of wine and the largest import market.
“France put on a tax on our companies … wrong thing to do. They should not have done that,” Trump said.
“Might be on wine or something else,” he told reporters. “we’ll be announcing that fairly soon.”
“I’ve always liked American wines better than French wines. Even though I don’t drink wine. I just like the way they look, OK?” Trump added.
The US president also said he maintains a “good relationship” with his French counterpart, saying he had just spoken with Macron on the phone.
“But they shouldn’t have done this. They’re used to taking advantage of the United States, but not with me as President,” Trump continued.
The French parliament this month passed the “digital tax” law, which affects about 30 multinational firms from the US, China, Germany, Spain and Britain, but mainly targets American technology giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
The French law requires taxing digital companies for income even if their headquarters are in other countries. Other European nations, including the UK and Germany, are considering similar taxes.
Trump and Macron spoke by telephone on Friday and discussed the tax and next month’s summit of the Group of 7 rich nations in France, the White House said.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire indicated that Paris was not backing down on its tech taxes. “Universal taxation of digital activities is a challenge for us all. We want to reach an agreement within the G7 and the OECD. In the meantime, France will implement its national decisions,” Le Maire said.
Trump has generally had good relations with Macron, avoiding some of the more tense ties he has had with close US allies in Europe and Asia.
US President Donald Trump, incensed by a surge of illegal immigrants across the southern border, vowed on Thursday to impose a tariff on all goods coming from Mexico.
The Trump administration has slapped steep tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods from the EU, Canada, Mexico and China.
Trump has used the tariff strategy to reduce America’s massive trade deficit with China and other large trading partners, as well as to force Mexico and Central American nations to curb illegal immigration to the US.