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U.S. tax on French wine could help Trump winery

  • A French official blasted President Donald Trump's threat to impose a tariff on French wine imports as "completely moronic."
  • In theory, a U.S. tax on French wine could benefit Trump Winery in Virginia, which is headed by Mr. Trump's son Eric.

Apparently, French wine and taxes don't mix. French farming minister Didier Guillaume on Tuesday derided President Donald Trump's threat to impose a tax on French wine as "moronic."

"It's absurd, in terms of having a political and economic debate, to say that if you tax the 'GAFAs', I'll tax wine. It's completely moronic," Guillaume told France-based BFM TV, alluding to Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

Guillaume's comments came after Mr. Trump last week floated the idea of a tariff in response to French President Emmanuel Macron's proposed tax on the technology companies' revenues in France. 

"They shouldn't have done this," Mr. Trump said of the digital tax proposal. "I told them, I said, 'Don't do it because if you do it, I"m going to tax your wine.'"

Mr. Trump also took a dig at one of France's most acclaimed national products, arguing that American wine is better. "I've always liked American wines better than French wines -- even though I don't drink wine," he said.

While the insult was heard -- Guillaume later insisted that "American wine is not better than French wine" -- Mr. Trump failed to acknowledge a potential conflict of interest related to a possible French wine tax. In 2011, he purchased one of the largest vineyards in Virginia, now called Trump Winery, and could benefit from the proposed tariffs. Higher prices on French wines in the U.S. could help boost sales of American wines, including those bearing the Trump label. 

The winery's website lists President Trump's adult son, Eric, as its president and describes him as overseeing "everything from winemaking and marketing to global distribution and sales."  

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