The White House is planning to order an investigation into a proposed tax plan from France that would hit tech giants like Facebook and Google, possibly leading to tariffs or trade restrictions, Bloomberg reports.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the probe, known as a 301 Investigation, on Wednesday afternoon. He has a year to determine whether France’s plan would hurt U.S.-based tech firms and come up with actions to address it.
The U.S. has been lobbying to protect American tech companies from foreign taxes at the same time Congress, regulators and the White House chide them for alleged conservative bias, poor handling of user data and possible antitrust violations. The administration’s action shows it still has tech’s back when it comes to protecting the financial interests of American companies abroad, despite its constant criticism of some much of what the industry is doing.
France’s proposed three percent levy would hit global tech companies with at least $845 million in revenue and digital sales, according to Bloomberg.