Hindustan Times (Lucknow)


- HT Correspond­ent letters@hindustant­imes.com

WASHINGTON: The US government announced Wednesday it is suspending for six months any punitive tariffs on Britain, India and four European nations while it works to resolve a dispute over digital services taxes. “The US is focused on finding a multilater­al solution to a range of key issues related to internatio­nal taxation,” US Trade Representa­tive Katherine Tai said. The suspension comes at the conclusion of a probe into taxes which Washington said discrimina­ted against companies like Apple, Amazon and Google.

NEW DELHI: The US on Wednesday announced ‘suspended’ additional tariffs on certain goods from India and five other countries it has deemed at the conclusion of a year-long probe to have adopted digital services taxes (DSTs) that are discrimina­tory against its businesses.

The new tariffs will come into effect only after 180 days, giving time for negotiatio­ns under way at the G-20 group of countries and the Organizati­on for Economic Cooperatio­n and Developmen­t (OECD), the office of the top US trade representa­tive (USTR) said in an announceme­nt.

“The US is focused on finding a multilater­al solution to a range of key issues related to internatio­nal taxation, including our concerns with DSTs,” said USTR Katherine Tai.

“The United States remains committed to reaching a consensus on internatio­nal tax issues through the OECD and G20 processes. Today’s actions provide time for those negotiatio­ns to continue to make progress while maintainin­g the option of imposing tariffs under Section 301 if warranted in the future.” she added.

The US launched a comprehens­ive Section investigat­ion into digital services taxes adopted by nine countries and one jurisdicti­on in June 2020: India, Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the UK, and the European Union,

In January 2021, the USTR concluded that the DSTs in India, Austria, Turkey, UK, Italy and Spain, “discrimina­ted against the United States digital companies, were inconsiste­nt with principles of internatio­nal taxation, and burdened US companies”.

In March, the USTR announced trade actions against these six entities and kicked of a public-notice and comment period, with hearings.

In April, the US also invited comments and announcing a hearing into the investigat­ion related to India.

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