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Trump tells France's Macron U.S. concerned with proposed digital services tax

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07/19/2019 | 02:46pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: French President Macron visits Serbia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday and expressed concerns about the country's proposed digital services tax, the White House said.

The two leaders also discussed ongoing efforts to ensure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

Trump ordered an investigation on Wednesday into France's planned tax on technology companies, a move that could lead the United States to impose new tariffs or other trade restrictions. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement the administration was concerned the tax would unfairly target American companies.

The so-called Section 301 investigation gives Lighthizer up to a year to investigate whether the tax would hurt U.S. technology companies and whether it amounts to an unfair trade practice. Similar probes in the past have dealt with Chinese trade practices and European Union subsidies on large commercial aircraft.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in March that a 3% tax on the French revenue of large internet companies could yield 500 million euros ($563 million) a year. [nL5N20Q0AN]

USTR said in a statement the "services covered are ones where U.S. firms are global leaders. The structure of the proposed new tax as well as statements by officials suggest that France is unfairly targeting the tax at certain U.S.-based technology companies."

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Alexander and Jonathan Oatis)

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