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France is giving unilateralism a go

DONT TAX you, dont tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree. Historically, this rhyme has poked fun at the tax-shy American public. Today it reflects complaints against the French government, which on July 25th introduced a tax on digital services. American companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google are protesting that they are being treated like the fellow behind the tree. President Donald Trump is itching to hit back. Unilateralism is a language he can understand.At the heart of the dispute lies a mismatch between where companies make their profits and where those profits are booked for tax purposes. Governments wail that as data and ideas can zip across borders, taxable profits can slip between their tax-collectors fingers. The solution requires international co-ordination, to avoid everyone trying to tax the same stuff at once. But negotiations overseen by the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, are taking too long for the French.
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