Washington is reportedly moving forward with its additional duties for hundreds of billions in imports from six nations in response to digital service taxes targeting the likes of Google and Amazon.
A wide range of goods from the UK, Spain, Italy, Turkey, India and Austria could be hit with 25% tariffs, the US Trade Representative documents show. If the US goes ahead with the punitive measure after public consultations scheduled for May, those tariffs would total around $880 million annually, according to Bloomberg.
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The sum is thought to be equivalent to what the countries that adopted digital service taxes plan to raise by taxing Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other American internet giants. Given that, the UK, which imposed 2% levies on large tech corporations’ revenues, is set to be hit hardest by the US move with about $325 million worth of its exports to the US, ranging from clothing and cosmetics to furniture, being on the line.
The duties for Turkey, Spain and Italy could amount to $160 million, $155 million and $140 million respectively, judging by estimated taxes paid in those countries by US-based companies. Meanwhile, Indian and Australian exporters could lose $55 million and $45 million respectively due to retaliatory measures from the US.
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While announcing the move last week, Washington said that it is still in favor of an international consensus that is being discussed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The body has been trying to address the tax challenges of the digital economy for years, but no global deal has been struck so far. Until an agreement is reached, the US said that it “will maintain our options under the Section 301 process, including, if necessary, the imposition of tariffs.”
Tech companies were quick to welcome the renewed US tariff threats. Last week, the Internet Association, which represents leading US internet platforms, including Amazon, Google and eBay, said the move signals that the US is “pushing back on these discriminatory trade barriers,” while the OECD deal is still in progress.
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