After President Donald Trump echoes the statement from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the United States may impose car tariffs in the event that the European Union and the United Kingdom levy a digital tax against American tech firms, Germany remains optimistic about a possible free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Thursday, Germany’s Olaf Scholz said that he is “confident” that the United States and the E.U. could reach a free trade agreement and added that he is not necessarily threatened by Washington’s possible imposition of tariffs.
No, not really. I think we know that there is a need for debating about trade,” said Scholz, adding that people “could be confident” that E.U. proposals currently on the table would lead to a deal.
“In the end, we know that trade is most successful if there are not too many barriers,” he added.
Scholz opened the idea that a digital tax similar to what the United Kingdom and other E.U. nations like France are proposing, which would impact huge tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, should be agreed globally. He added that he is expecting a global proposal on the forthcoming OECD in early 2020.
During a panel discussion with both countries present in the World Economic Forum last Wednesday, the United States and the United Kingdom engaged in an argument relating to the British government plan to push through with its plans to impose a digital tax, affecting American tech companies, in April.
According to the newly introduced policy, a 2% tax shall be imposed on tech companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook for the profit they make from search engines, social media platforms, and online marketplaces serving people in Britain.
The proposal was met with threats from the U.S., where Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that the country would be imposing tariffs if the U.K. pursues its plans. “If people want just arbitrarily to put taxes on our digital companies, we will consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies,” said Mnuchin, as U.K. Finance Minister Sajid Javid sat next to him.