The six countries subject to tariffs, set at 25% on goods worth about $2 billion, include Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The US Trade Representative’s office said the additional tariffs will not apply for up to 180 days as the US continues to negotiate a proposed global tax system through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the G-20 process.
Foreign governments have long complained that big tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google should pay them more taxes. Some have recently introduced taxes specifically targeting revenue generated by these companies, including US-based companies such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
For example, the UK has imposed a 2% tax on revenue from social media platforms, search engines and online marketplaces, arguing that because these companies benefit from UK-based users, the UK earns some of that revenue.
The US response to taxes on digital services reflects its opposition to what it sees as discriminatory policies targeting large and successful Silicon Valley companies with a global reach. In March, the US Trade Representative’s office proposed an estimated $880 million in combined new tariffs against the six nations, amid an investigation into foreign taxes under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act.
The final tariff amount affecting more than $2 billion in goods relates to imported products, including shrimp, carpets, cosmetics, clothing and video game consoles.
“The United States remains committed to building consensus on international tax issues through the OECD and G20 processes,” US Trade Representative Catherine Taye said in a statement. “Today’s actions provide time to continue these negotiations moving forward, while reserving the option to impose tariffs under Section 301 if justified in the future.”