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Trump to Press Macron on Digital Services Tax

President Donald Trump will be pressing France on its decision to "unilaterally" impose a digital services tax, going after U.S. companies in the process.  

That will come in a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron during the G7 summit in France this weekend, according to a senior administration official speaking on background.  

France last month imposed a 3% services tax on digital revenues of companies that earned over 25 million euros in French revenue and over 750 million euros worldwide. 

The President's stance--he has reportedly called the tax 'foolish'--will please tech companies, whose just-released list of issues they wanted the G7 countries to consider included "a multilateral approach to tax policy issues arising from digitalization," while "refraining from pursuing unilateral digital tax measures." That is a reference to the fact that Macron pushed for an EU-wide digital services tax, but proceeding with his own when that was unsuccessful.  

Of that French tax, a senior official said the President would talk about not overtaxing tech and of his disappointment in the unilateral tax measure. The official said the President wants to see a global approach to the challenges of the digital economy and did not plan to back down in the face of France's attempt to undermine a multistakeholder process and go after U.S. industries. 

The official said the tax has become a big point of interest during conversations between the President and Macron.  

Digital issues more broadly will be discussed during a multilateral G7 working lunch on "digital transformation Monday, Aug. 26. 

The President's message on the digital economy and innovation will be that the U.S. has one of the most innovative economies in the world, thanks to the President's pro-growth, pro-jobs approach that eschews overregulation and over-taxation.  

In a bilateral meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the President plans to urge India to lift communications restrictions in Kashmir.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.