France: Big Tech tax on hold as US threatens tariffs

France will postpone payment requirements on its newly levied digital services tax aimed at large tech companies like Facebook and Google due to a dispute with the US over the issue, Reuters reported.

The payments were due in April, and Washington took issue with the tax, which it claimed is unfair and discriminatory toward the US. 

US officials threatened to tack on tariffs to some French goods over the tax.

“What we’re proposing is to give ourselves time and to show our goodwill, to postpone the remaining payments to December,” a French source told the news organization.

France will take time to allow for larger negotiations to take place at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and to rewrite international tax laws.

In other France news, the holiday shopping season in France wasn’t as lucrative as it might have been. Transport workers in Paris were in the midst of a strike and made it hard for business owners to operate over the holidays. It’s the continuing backlash against pension reform in the country, which is being advanced by President Emmanuel Macron.

The issue has been trudging along since last fall.

Clothing store owner Emile Sebbag said he doesn’t know how he is going to make ends meet. Sebbag said the beginning of the winter sales season on January 8 likely wouldn’t make up for lost revenue.

Sebbag also said the holiday shopping season was so poorly attended that he only made about half of what he expected to make during the season. Business, he said, has been “hell since December.”

One of Sebbag’s two stores relies heavily on shoppers who are commuting, as it is located in the basement of Paris’ Les Halles shopping center, near a local train and metro terminal. The strikes make it increasingly difficult for people to get around the city.