PRESIDENT Donald Trump has told Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez the US will react “very harshly” if plans for a ‘Google Tax’ go ahead.
The warning came on the eve of this week’s G20 summit and is aimed at Spain and France in particular, as well as other European nations who may consider such a charge.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is the main advisor, negotiator and spokesman for Trump in the area of trade, was speaking to a Senate committee when he issued the warning.
He said that “President Trump will respond very harshly” against European countries that insist on applying tax pressure that, in his opinion, “discriminatorily penalise American companies.”
The US ambassador to Spain, Duke Buchan, wrote to the Spanish government last November to ask that a proposed new tax be withdrawn, saying that Sanchez should not try to impose such a tax without international agreement within the Organisation for Economic Development Cooperation (OECD).
The government has said that it plans to create a new tax as soon as possible because it considers it necessary for Google and other digital platforms to pay more than they currently do. It hopes to raise €1.2 billion annually.
Nadia Calviño, Spain’s Minister of Economy and Business, said: “It is a priority to jointly address the special challenges posed by the taxation of new business models of digital platforms. The government assures that this declaration does not change the plan to create the new tax.”