Washington is moving closer to European plans to impose taxes on US technology giants, such as Apple and Google, officials said this week.
The evolving attitude of the past few days will mark a radical change in the frustration of US officials faced with previous efforts by European authorities to collect corporate taxes from Silicon Valley
"The United States is open to scrutiny and they understand very well the need for a fair taxation of digital giants," French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.
He spoke after meeting with the US Treasury Steven Mnuchin on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. A spokesman for the Treasury Department on Friday called AFP to a statement made earlier this month, according to which US officials remain "deeply concerned" about it
The administration of former President Barack Obama was outraged in 2016 when European authorities decided to force Apple iPhone maker to pay $ 14.5 billion worth of " after the company negotiated very favorable tax arrangements with the Irish government.
But, according to Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy and Administration of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the attitude of Washington has changed in recent days .
The European Commission is expected to present proposals to tax technology giants such as Google and Apple, and France also threatens to impose much tougher taxes, according to Saint-Amans, not on profits but on business income.
Washington knows that "the countries will act unilaterally and they therefore prefer to involve themselves", told AFP Mr. Saint-Amans.
The OECD, headquartered in Paris, has been working on this subject for several years, but has until now met with the firm refusal of the US authorities to discuss it
The OECD will present to the G20 finance ministers a report on the subject in April, with a view to a long-term solution
Due to the slow pace of the process, the OECD also seeks to harmonize the tax proposals of different governments to reduce the harm they could cause to the financial situation of businesses.
"The news is that the United States will sit at our table to not block the discussion, but rather, drive it and try to discourage, or at least limit, the damage that these taxes could cause, "he said.