G7 finance ministers in France to talk digital tax, Facebook's libra
Finance ministers from the G7 group of major powers were due to kick off talks Wednesday in France on issues including taxing internet giants and Facebook's planned libra digital currency. French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is hosting his counterparts from Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy and the US on the grounds of Chantilly chateau outside Paris. The official topic is "Making capitalism fairer," but a row over taxing internet firms has already highlighted trans-Atlantic differences on how to do that.
French lawmakers last week adopted a 3-per-cent tax on the digital turnover of giant internet firms, with Le Maire saying it was needed because EU research shows they pay much lower effective tax rates than traditional firms.
But Washington has threatened France with an investigation and possible countermeasures, saying the move targeted areas where US firms were world leaders.
French officials say they hope for some progress this week on international moves to agree minimum corporate tax rates, which would also reduce the impact of tax optimization strategies by multinationals.
On Facebook's planned libra digital currency, the ministers may find more common ground. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that digital currencies could represent a national security risk, while French and German ministers have warned that issuing currencies is a task for governments.
The search for Christine Lagarde's replacement at the helm of the International Monetary Fund, though not officially on the agenda, is expected to be informally discussed. Lagarde on Tuesday announced her resignation from the IMF after EU leaders tipped her to run the European Central Bank.