Trump had previously threatened to retaliate against France for passing a digital services tax that will invariably hit some of the largest tech companies in the world that just so happen to be based in America and now we know how they will retaliate.
The office of Trump's trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, has proposed a tariff of 100 percent(!) on $2.4 billion in French goods including wines, cheese, make-up, and other luxury goods.
The U.S. Trade Representative's office said its "Section 301" investigation found that the French tax was "inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy, and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies," including Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc. [...]
"The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets U.S. companies," Lighthizer said. His statement made no mention of proposed digital taxes in Canada or Britain.
We're countering the "growing protectionism" of the European Union says a regime headed by the self-proclaimed "Tariff Man" who is waging a protectionist trade war against most of the planet.
Irony is already dead so we'll need to resurrect it if it's going to be killed again.
What's important to know about France's digital services tax is that it does not specifically target American-owned companies that operate in France. French and other European companies will also be taxed for operating inside France. That's how taxes work.
Imposing tariffs on French goods in "retaliation" for a domestic tax is an attack on French sovereignty itself as Trump tries to tell French lawmakers how to balance their own finances and what laws to pass.
France is a member of the European Union and a tariff on French goods is effectively the same as a tariff on all European goods as the EU trades as a single bloc. Imposing tariffs on French goods will lead to wider retaliation from the European Union on an equal amount of American goods; meaning American companies will pay a price for Trump's attempt to block a digital services tax in another country -- a tax that has nothing to do with them. And on and on we go until there's no one left to impose tariffs on.
Other countries aside from France have already passed or will soon pass digital services taxes and I suppose they should all line up for Trump's tariffs. That is unless this isn't really about a tax. Maybe it's really about Trump's hatred of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The U.S. Trade Representative will collect public comments beginning on January 15th and these tariffs will be imposed at some point soon after that.