The EU will strike back if the US moves forward with proposed tariffs on $2.4 billion in French goods, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Radio Classique on Tuesday.
His comments followed the USTR’s announcement that an investigation into a controversial levy that affects America’s tech behemoths “concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax discriminates against US companies [and] is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy”.
At risk are French wines, cheeses, handbags, and a hodgepodge of other items.
“It’s not worthy of an ally, and it’s not the behavior we expect from the US toward one of its main allies, France, and more generally, Europe”, Le Maire remarked. “If there were new US sanctions, the EU would be ready to retaliate”.
It’s not (at all) clear why Le Maire would expect anything else from Trump, self-styled “tariff man”. What, if not slap tariffs on people, does “tariff man” do?
French luxury stocks took a hit on Tuesday as the spat escalated. Hermes and LVMH were both off sharply.
“It’s too risky to go into the luxury sector”, Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu told Reuters. “The sector was hit first of all by the Hong Kong protests, and now this will hit it even more”.
“They’re American companies”, Trump said of Google, Twitter and Facebook. “If they’re going to be taxed, the US will tax them”.