In a radio interview, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that France will retaliate against the U.S. if the U.S. imposes Section 301 tariffs on French goods due to the French Digital Services Tax (DST) investigation. The French DST levies a 3 percent tax on revenues for providing “digital interface” services and “targeted advertising” in France, which the U.S. argues discriminates against U.S. companies. Late last year, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (‘USTR”) proposed a list of goods valued at $2.4 billion that may be subject to additional Section 301 duties. The list of proposed goods includes cheeses, Champagne, handbags, cosmetics, and fine dinnerware. The USTR is holding a hearing to determine what products should be covered by the additional duties on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, with a final decision on the list of goods that will be subject to Section 301 duties to be announced later this year.
We will continue to monitor this situation and will provide future updates as additional details become available. If you have any questions regarding the new tariffs on French goods, please contact Husch Blackwell’s International Trade and Supply Chain team.