In a statement U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, she plans on continuing to maintain threat of U.S. tariffs on goods from Britain, India, Austria, Spain, Italy and Turkey in retaliation to their digital services taxes.
She went on to add, her office would move ahead with steps to impose potential tariffs, including collecting public comments and filing public notices as part of investigations that were originally launched by the Trump Administration into digital service taxes that are largely aimed at U.S. tech companies and e-commerce platforms.
The statement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) comes despite U.S. President Joe Biden’s renewed commitments to pursue a global agreement on digital services taxes through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Tai also mentioned that the USTR was terminating “Section 301” tariff investigations against the Czech Republic, Brazil, the European Union and Indonesia since these countries have not adopted or implemented digital services taxes that were previously under consideration. If they were to adopt a digital services tax, the USTR may open a new tariff probe.
The move is among the first negotiating tactics revealed by Tai since she took office last week. In her confirmation hearing in February, Tai had said that tariffs were a “legitimate tool” for U.S. trade policy.
“The United States remains committed to reaching an international consensus through the OECD process on international tax issues,” said Tai in a statement. “However, until such a consensus is reached, we will maintain our options under the Section 301 process, including, if necessary, the imposition of tariffs.”
The move was applauded by the Internet Association, which represents major U.S. internet platforms.
“Today’s move by USTR is an important affirmation in pushing back on these discriminatory trade barriers as the U.S. continues to work to find a viable solution at the OECD,” said the trade group in a statement.
Washington is continues to maintain a more advanced tariff threat against $1.3 billion in imports of French Champagne, cosmetics, handbags and other goods in retaliation for France’s digital tax.