Boris Johnson is adamant global tech giants should pay more tax in the UK, despite similar action by France intensifying a trade war with the US.
The Prime Minister stuck by the Conservative election commitment to bring in a “digital services tax” to ensure major multinational companies pay their “fair share”.
However, the US has threatened 100% tariffs on French cheese, Champagne and other products, in retaliation for a French tax on global tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.
The proposed tariffs, described by France as an attack on all of Europe, would be on $2.4bn (£1.8bn) of goods.
The French government says its measures are aimed at “establishing tax justice” and seek to deal with a problem in which an overseas company can pay most of its taxes in the one EU country it has a regional base, which tend to be in smaller countries which try to attract multinationals with low corporate taxes.
Mr Johnson, speaking to reporters during a campaign visit to Wiltshire, said: “Obviously I deplore, I don’t think trade wars are a good thing.
“On the digital services tax, I do think we need to look at the operation of the big digital companies and the huge revenues they have in this country and the amount of tax that they pay.
“We need to sort that out. They need to make a fairer contribution.”
Mr Johnson earlier stressed the importance of the British leader having “good relationships” with the US president, describing it as “a geopolitical, geo-strategic fact” alongside having such relationships with other countries.
And when questioned about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020, the prime minister said: “We have a great deal. It’s going to allow us to come out smoothly and efficiently on 31 January.”
Asked if he would advise companies to cease no-deal preparations, Mr Johnson repeated the UK has a “great deal” in place.
Mr Johnson also dismissed any suggestions he looked “knackered”.
“Do I look knackered? I’m like a steel spring, I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog.
“I’m like a coiled something or other – spring, a coiled spring.”
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