French minister calls Trump’s wine tax threat ‘completely stupid’
US President Donald Trump’s threat to tax French wine is “completely stupid,” said the French agriculture minister today.
Trump has suggested placing tariffs on French wines and other products in retaliation for France’s new tax on America’s biggest tech companies.
But speaking to the French channel BFM TV, Didier Guillaume called the tit-for-tat idea “stupid” and “absurd,” arguing that the two issues cannot be compared.
“It’s completely stupid. Why? Because (US tech companies) are making huge profits, millions or billions of euros or dollars on our territory, using our people so there is no reason for them not to pay their taxes,” he said.
“Wine is completely different, it’s an exchange,” he added.
The French parliament recently passed a law that would hit Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — collectively known as GAFA — with a 3% levy on revenue earned in France. If signed by French President Emmanuel Macron, the law will come into effect in January 2020.
Trump reacted to the French tax earlier this week, calling it the “wrong thing to do” and mulling out loud the retaliatory tax. “It might be a wine, it might be on something else,” he said.
The president, a teetotaler, added that he has “always liked American wines better than French wines. Even though I don’t drink wine. I just like the way they look, OK?”
The US has already threatened new tariffs on other European goods, including meat, cheese, pasta, fruits, coffee and whiskey.