Trump ponders tariffs on French wines in retaliation for tech company tax

Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-26 18:44:24-04

President Donald Trump on Friday floated placing tariffs on French wines and other French products in retaliation for that nation’s new tax on large American technology companies, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he “might” impose the tax ahead of the G7 summit in August.

“France put on a tax on our companies … wrong thing to do. They should not have done that,” Trump said, referring to a tax recently approved by France’s Parliament. It would institute a 3% tax for large technology companies on revenue earned in France beginning January 2020.

“I’ve always liked American wines better than French wines. Even though I don’t drink wine. I just like the way they look, OK?” Trump added. “American wines are great, and they didn’t do the right thing when they start taxing our companies. We tax our companies, they don’t tax our companies.”

Still, the President said he maintains a good relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, adding that he had just spoken with the leader.

“But they shouldn’t have done this. They’re used to taking advantage of the United States, but not with me as President,” Trump continued.

“It might be a wine, it might be on something else,” the President said later in the interview. “We’ll be announcing that fairly soon.”

The President suggested the tariffs could come before the upcoming G7 meeting, which will take place in France.

Earlier this month, the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s announced a so-called Section 301 investigation, warning that the French tax on tech companies could discriminate against American companies.

The President made a similar threat last month, claiming onCNBCthat “France charges us a lot for the wine,” and later adding that “it’s not fair. We’ll do something about it.”

The trade representative’s office is alsoalready proposing new tariffson the European Union worth some $4 billion. The tariffs, announced earlier this month, would cover 89 products including meat, cheese, pasta, fruits, coffee and whiskey.

They could be added to a list of EU exports worth $21 billion that the trade office said in April would be subject to tariffs.