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Vintage Trump as US president threatens to tax French wines

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By Lauren Chadwick
Vintage Trump as US president threatens to tax French wines
Copyright  Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Donald Trump has threatened to target French wine after Paris imposed a tax on US technology giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon.

The US president said "reciprocal action" against his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron "foolishness" would be forthcoming.

The pair spoke on the telephone on Friday and Trump said he threatened Macron with a tax on French wine.

The Elysée said on Saturday that Macron had told Trump the digital services tax was in their "common interest", according to AFP.

The French law, named "Gafa" for Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, imposes a 3% tax on companies' digital turnover (advertising and commissions) in France and concerns companies that make at least €750 million globally and €25 million in France.

It was passed by France's parliament earlier in July and the government says about 30 companies would be affected.

"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. But the American wines are great, American wines are great and they didn't do the right thing when they start taxing our companies," Trump said.

"I have a good relationship with President Macron, but they shouldn't have done this."

The French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday he would speak with his American counterpart treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin later in the afternoon.

But, he said, the effort was not about targeting American companies, but rather about "fair taxation".

He added that he hoped to reach a consensus with the US about the digital tax by the G7 meeting in August.

"France is a sovereign nation. We take our decisions related to taxation issues as a national and sovereign nation," Le Maire said on Friday.

The United States is the top global consumer of wine and France is the second biggest wine producer in the world, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.

Additional sources • AFP