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Trade Talks – The Future of Global e-Commerce & Digital Service Taxes

Trade Talks – The Future of Global e-Commerce & Digital Service Taxes

Tuesday, March 2, 2021
11:30am - 12:45pm
Time Zone:
Eastern Time - US & Canada (change)
  All Department of Commerce Staff  


Presented by the International Trade Administration in partnership with the Commerce Research Library

The issue of digital services taxes (DSTs) has become hotly debated worldwide in the decade-plus since the first moratorium on taxing e-commerce transactions. DSTs are becoming a prominent policy consideration in many countries that have begun collecting such taxes, causing objections by U.S. and foreign companies, and some governments.

One example is France and their 2019 “digital tax” which targets services provided by U.S. tech conglomerates such as Google and Amazon. The French action and the absence of the widely accepted global rules for the taxation of e-commerce have put the U.S. on a potential collision course with the European Union (EU). Other countries have also recently introduced digital taxes, creating potential investment trade barriers for U.S. e-commerce transactions and service providers.

Digital trade represents 70 percent of U.S. services exports, approximately $439 billion as of 2017 (Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)). Services account for approximately 70 percent of U.S. GDP, so therefore much of the U.S. economy could potentially be subject to DSTs. The OECD and the United Nations have recently submitted proposals pertaining to DSTs and the digital economy, yet the two multinational bodies are not in agreement. Meanwhile, the global implementation of DSTs are contributing to escalating trade tensions and raising questions with trading partners about the future of e-commerce and digital services taxation. This panel will explore the questions and potential solutions.

Moderated by:
Paulette Hernandez, Team Lead for Digital and Internet Services, ITA/I&A/SVCS/Office of Digital Services Industries

Jennifer Smith McCloskey, Senior Manager, Tax Policy, Google

Megan Funkhouser, Director of Policy, Tax and Trade, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

William Morris, Deputy Global Tax Policy Leader, PwC

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