France and the European Union are ready to fight back over the latest U.S. tariff threats on French products, French government ministers said on Tuesday.
As well as threatening new tariffs on a series of French imports, the U.S. administration said it would consider whether to impose "fees or restrictions" on French services.
The Trump administration has threatened to slap 100pc tariffs on up to $2.4bn (£1.9bn) of French goods in retaliation to the country's digital tax against USA tech companies.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) declared Monday afternoon that, after an investigation of the Trade Act of 1974, France's Digital Services Tax (DST) "discriminates" against US companies and is "inconsistent" with worldwide tax policy.
The proposed tariffs target French products across cheese, sparkling wine, perfume, handbags, yogurt, butter, beauty and makeup, manicure and pedicure, soap, porcelain, and bone china. "The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of European Union member states, which unfairly targets US companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading US digital services companies".
Any retaliatory action from France would have to be taken at an EU-wide level because the 28-nation bloc is a customs union, which applies duties at its border.
He later told a press conference: "We are not targeting any country".
Hours before Lighthizer's announcement, the minister claimed Trump "is going to content himself with imposing sanctions against France over its national tax".
The tariff spat marks a new low in relations between French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump, who will meet on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit later on Tuesday. It said it found the French tax proposal was "unusually burdensome for affected USA companies", including Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.