Friday, June 18

The US announces tariffs against Spain and five other countries for the ‘Google rate’, but temporarily suspends them | Economy

Representation of Google at an industrial fair in Hannover (Germany), in April 2017.
Representation of Google at an industrial fair in Hannover (Germany), in April 2017.Jens Meyer / AP

The United States will impose additional fees on products from six countries, including Spain, in response to the taxes adopted by each of them against US technology companies such as Amazon or Facebook. The application of the charge, however, will be put on hold for six months pending the ongoing negotiations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the G-20 reach a global resolution on the matter. The announcement was greeted by sources from the Ministry of Finance of Spain as a sign of the US will “to reach a pact on international taxation” and a good step towards tax cooperation that will bridge the differences on the so-called Google.

If there is no agreement in 180 days in the aforementioned forums, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria, India, Italy and Turkey will be subject to these tariffs, “justified” by the imposition of fees on digital services, according to a statement from the US Department of Commerce. made public this Wednesday. Thus, imports of goods whose volume amounted to more than 2,000 million dollars in 2019, from Italian footwear to Turkish rugs, could suffer additional tariffs of 25%, Commerce sources cited by the Bloomberg agency have explained.

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The suspension recalls the four-month waiting period that Washington and Brussels gave themselves at the beginning of March to resolve their differences in the Boeing-Airbus dispute, except that in this case the scope of negotiation is not bilateral, but global.

The Trade Minister, Katherine Tai, has assured that the US prefers to focus now on “finding a multilateral solution to a range of key issues related to international taxation, including our concern about taxes on digital services” from giants such as Inc. and Facebook Inc., the name they adopt in their international operations. The big companies in Silicon Valley generally use their structures in other countries to legally reduce their tax bill.

The Joe Biden Administration has been placing special emphasis on the fiscal harmonization of developed countries, with proposals such as a global corporate tax of 15% formulated before the OECD, since, in fact, it is one of the initiatives in which the multilateral organization has been working for a long time. The international tax homologation is also directly related to the attempt by the White House to raise the corporate tax in the United States from the current 21% to 28%, to finance part of the ambitious infrastructure plan of the Democratic Administration. What Washington ultimately wants is to end the race to the bottom registered in the last 30 years, which has allowed many US companies – led by technology companies – to pay much more in countries like Ireland. kind fiscally speaking. Ireland imposes a corporate tax of 12.5%, compared to the 21% average for the European environment.

“The United States remains committed to reaching consensus on international tax issues through the processes [en curso] of the OECD and the G-20. Today’s actions [el anuncio de suspensión] provide time for those negotiations to continue progressing while maintaining the option to impose tariffs under Section 301 if justified in the future, “added the Secretary of Commerce, referring to legislation that addresses unfair trade practices by from other countries.

The OECD hopes to reach a global agreement in principle on the “new global tax architecture” – in the White House’s definition – at the G-20 Finance summit, scheduled for July 9 and 10, as a preliminary step to specify the final mechanism at a final meeting in October. The initiative has the Spanish backing. Sources from Hazando have said this Wednesday that “Spain has always defended that if an agreement is reached at a global level it will adapt its internal taxes to the new international order”, and have underlined the struggle for years “against abusive tax strategies, to establish taxation fair on the technology sector and ensure that taxes are paid where value is generated ”, an allusion directed especially against technology companies.

In mid-January, a few days before the replacement in the White House, Washington had warned Spain that it was considering all options in response to the Google, considering that the tax discriminates against their companies, is incompatible with the current principles of international taxation and restricts their trade. The notice also came days before it came into force in Spain. The same warning received the other five countries that appear in the announcement made public by the US Department of Commerce on Wednesday. Brussels seconded in January the measures adopted by Spain, ensuring that it is willing to advance in the design of a Google community, although it gave the OECD the leading role in the creation of a global one.

France, which does not appear on the list, is together with Spain one of the countries that has pushed the most for large technology companies to pay in the jurisdictions where they obtain their benefits, even if they do not have a physical presence in them. Currently, these giants operate in the European market, but hardly contribute to its public coffers. The Spanish Government plans to raise 968 million euros thanks to the Google, which will tax internet advertising services, online intermediation and sale of data generated thanks to information provided by the user during their activity or the sale of metadata.

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