US takes advantage of Davos to threaten Europe if the digital rate is approved.
The US has taken advantage of the 50th edition of the Davos Forum, which concluded on Friday, to make it clear that it will not tolerate that Europe applies, country by country or jointly, a fee to digital companies, and has threatened in retaliation with imposing tariffs 25% to European products.
Clear trade tensions with China, once approved a first phase of agreements, and in the middle of the election year, US President Donald Trump has left two clear messages in Davos.
One, that climate change is a hoax of “Apocalypse” prophets, and another that will impose tariffs of up to 25% if Europe persists in launching the digital rate, which in France was approved last year and is known as GAFA (acronym for Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN)).
This is a tax on digital services companies that Spain does not rule out imposing unilaterally if there is no consensus in Europe to apply it globally, as noted in Davos the Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño.
What the tax seeks is to tax internet giants whose annual revenues exceed 750 million euros worldwide, so that they pay 3% of their turnover in the countries in which they operate.
While Minister Calviño is confident that in the framework of the OECD an agreement will be reached in June, so that by 2020 there is a global solution, if this is not possible “Spain will have to start acting at the national level”, as he said in Davos.
Although Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed to a truce and France decided to postpone it, one of the US president’s recurring squires, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, launched himself in Davos to an open grave and threatened the United Kingdom and the rest directly of the continent with tariffs of 25%.
Undeterred, Mnuchin snapped to the British Minister of Economy, Sajid Javid, that his country would not hesitate to apply “arbitrary reprisals” if the United Kingdom continues with its plans to apply it as of April, albeit temporarily.
The US Government has defended at all times that it prefers to reach bilateral agreements country by country, such as the one it expects to close shortly with the United Kingdom, before the OECD or the EU, if that fails, gets an international agreement.
More blunt has been the French Government, whose finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, reiterated in Davos that the country “will never” withdraw the rate, whose implementation has been postponed only so that the OECD can find a global solution, which The agency provides in principle by the end of the year.
A day later, in response to the unveiled ultimatum of the United States, Le Maire proclaimed that there is no draft trade agreement between the European Union and the United States; As regards France, it has been established as a criterion not to accept the signature with a country that has not committed to the Paris Agreements on climate change.
Although the US position seems immovable, Trump and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, pledged in Davos to continue looking for a solution to bilateral disputes that avoid falling into a disastrous trade war.
Brussels now waits for the OECD Secretary General, Mexican José Ángel Gurría, to present a proposal on digital taxation that may be acceptable to all, although the Mexican was cautious in Davos and said he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic, just “activist”.