France Pushes For Stricter Eu Regulation Of U.s. Online Giants

France has proposed the European Union study taxing companies for transferring personal data outside of the bloc, for example in call centres abroad. Caption PARIS: France has proposed the European Union study taxing companies for transferring personal data outside of the bloc, for example in call centres abroad. The proposal is part of a series France has made ahead of an EU summit next month that also includes a call to put in place new tax rules that would require non-European Internet companies to pay taxes in Europe on profits earned there. France suggested studying “the introduction of tax rules for digital companies that would ensure that profits they generate in the European market are subject to taxation and the revenues shared among the member states,” according to the document, obtained by AFP. Complex, but legal, tax structures have allowed companies like Amazon and Google to pay little profit tax in most European countries although they generate hundreds of millions in profits in these markets. A hot button issue given the austerity policies governments across Europe are implementing, British lawmakers recently gave Internet company executives rough rides in hearings over the tax avoidance schemes. Through pricing of intellectual property companies can show most profit in European countries which have lower corporate tax rates, such as Ireland where Google has its European headquaters. In a new proposal, France suggested “preparing a report on the possibility of taxing data transfers outside of Europe”, but did not elaborate. The transfer of personal data outside the EU is highly regulated in order to protect the rights of individuals. Both transfers of data inside companies, such as sending information on employees from a European subsidiary to a non-EU parent, and between companies are affected. Transfer of personal data often happens when companies outsource certain tasks such as customer sales and help lines to offshore call centres. – AFP/ec

Bullish on France

The public-policy implications are obvious: How can France spend about half as much as we do on health care and get substantially better outcomes? When most Americans think of France, they think of culture, style, food, wine, “joie de vivre,” and historical nostalgia going back to the American Revolution, when France was among the first three nations to recognize U.S. independence. There is a reason why France remains the most visited country on earth. The French are keenly aware of these “quality of life” attributes, and that fact explains, in part, why reform will entail a struggle. But I credit the French for their growing recognition that change must occur, and this change will occur against the backdrop of trying to preserve aspects of what they already have — rather than having to create these institutions from scratch. What tourists to France do not always see are the technology centers like Sophia Antipolis between Nice and Cannes on the Riviera; the world-class doctors, engineers, IT experts, and math professionals graduating from outstanding universities; the high productivity levels associated with the French workforce, notwithstanding vacation periods that Americans envy; and world-class companies such as Accor, AXA, Danone, EADS, Essilor, l’Oreal, LVMH, Michelin, Publicis Omnicom, Schneider Electric, and Sodexo. The Fortune 500 includes more French companies than any other European country, and the website www.lafranceestunechance.fr includes an impressive list of French success stories. Both England and the United States experienced similar periods of economic malaise in the mid-to-late 1970s. High inflation and unemployment coupled with a need for serious structural reform gave way to sustained periods of economic growth and prosperity. Many of those reforms were associated with strong leadership from Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who were also able to change not only the economic climate but also instilled a sense of optimism about each nation’s future. The first stage of reform is to recognize the need for change. That is now well underway in France. Moreover, that growing sense of urgency contrasts with a sense of gridlock and complacency in the United States.

Online Giants 3:40 AM PDT 9/20/2013 by George Szalai 0 Comments Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.com would be affected by suggested tax changes and new rules that would make it easier for European firms to challenge U.S. giants. France is pushing for new Europe-wide regulation and changes to tax rules that would affect U.S. Internet and tech giants, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Apple. our editor recommends STORY:Apple iPhones Go on Sale in China, Post Haste France wants to create new rules for “a tax regime for digital companies that ensures that the profits they make on the European market are subject to taxation.” The revenue would be shared by the EU member states, according to the report. Germany and the U.K. have also suggested changing current tax rules that allow U.S. Internet firms to avoid paying much of the corporate taxes in Europe. France is also suggesting new regulation that would support the emergence of European Web players, according to the Journal. It said the rule proposals include making online user profiles portable to make it easier for European competitors to challenge U.S. giants. “We don’t want to regulate the net,” French technology minister Fleur Pellerin told the Journal.