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France Says U.S. Talks Could Produce Agreement on Digital Taxes


DAVOS, Switzerland — France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said the United States and France had reached a broad framework for using a plan that was being developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to set digital taxes, but further talks were needed and would take place Thursday.

The announcement came a day after the two countries appeared to strike a temporary truce in a trans-Atlantic spat. President Emmanuel Macron agreed to suspend a French tax on American technology giants in exchange for a postponement of threatened retaliatory tariffs on French goods by the Trump administration.

Any tax framework developed by the O.E.C.D must meet certain standards, Mr. Le Maire said. “We want the basis to be solid, credible and fair,” he said, later adding that, “There is still some work to be done.”

Further talks were also needed among European nations, he said. If a deal could be reached at the O.E.C.D., he said, that would be preferable to European countries acting individually or as a group to impose taxes.

“Europe stands united vis-à-vis the U.S.” on the preference for a broadly agreed tax framework, Mr. Le Maire said.

No comment was immediately available from United States officials. The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, is expected to hold a briefing in Davos tomorrow.

There have been detailed technical talks with Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Le Maire’s staff for two weeks, as well as a Sunday night phone call between President Trump and Mr. Macron, the finance minister said.

Mr. Le Maire described the call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Macron as “decisive,” having reached an agreement that gave more breathing room to work out further details.

France had drawn scorn from Mr. Trump after officials announced plans to impose a 3 percent tax starting Jan. 1 on the revenues that companies earn from providing digital services to French users. The government estimated a windfall of 500 million euros (about $563 million).



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