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France plans new tax on 30 internet giants

Paris - The French government unveiled plans Wednesday to slap a 3 percent tax on the French revenues of internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook. The bill outlines how digital companies with worldwide revenues over 750 million euros ($848 million), including French revenue over 25 million euros, will be taxed.

In a news conference in Paris on Wednesday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire estimated the tax will raise about 500 million euros a year this year but that should increase "quickly."

About 30 companies, mostly based from the U.S, but also from China and Europe, will be affected. Le Maire said the tax won't apply to companies directly selling their own products online.

"This is about justice," Le Maire said. "These digital giants use our personal data, make huge profits out of these data ... then transfer the money somewhere else without paying their fair amount of taxes."

Le Maire quoted figures from the European commission, the EU executive body, showing that digital giants pay on average 14 percentage points less tax than other European companies. France decided to implement the new levy after a similar proposal at the EU level failed to get unanimous support from member states.

Le Maire said he would now push for an international deal by the end of the year at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based forum made up mostly of developed nations.

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