US claims Austria, Spain, UK digital taxes discriminate

The US Trade Representative (USTR)’s Office has claimed that digital service taxes (DSTs) adopted by Austria, Spain and the UK discriminate against American companies and are inconsistent with the prevailing principles of international taxation.

“USTR is not taking any specific actions in connection with the findings at this time but will continue to evaluate all available options,” the Office said in a statement on Thursday after releasing findings of its Section 301 investigations into DSTs.

“The best outcome would be for countries to come together to find a solution,” Xinhua news agency quoted outgoing USTR Robert Lighthizer as saying in the statement.

The move came after the US last week decided to suspend proposed tariffs on about $1.3 billion worth of French products amid the DST dispute.

“A suspension of the tariff action in the France DST investigation will promote a coordinated response in all of the ongoing DST investigations,” said the USTR’s Office.

The USTR’s Office also claimed last week that DSTs adopted by India, Italy and Turkey discriminate against American companies without taking any tariff actions.

In June 2020, the US initiated Section 301 investigations into DSTs considered by 10 American trading partners, including the European Union, Brazil and India.

The so-called Section 301, under an outdated US trade law adopted in 1974, allows the American President to unilaterally impose tariffs or other trade restrictions on foreign countries.

The global trading community has become increasingly concerned that the US government’s frequent use of Section 301 would go against the World Trade Organization rules, undermine the multilateral trading system and disrupt the global supply chain.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)


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