Global tax deal must include tech giants, says Treasury source

The comments were made ahead of the UK-hosted G7 Trade Ministerial meeting

The UK's Treasury department has stated that any global agreement on the minimum tax rate paid by corporations must include tech companies.

An anonymous government source made the comments to Reuters ahead of the UK-hosted G7 Trade Ministerial meeting this week, which takes place today and on Friday and is to include the trade ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, US, and the EU.

The HM Treasury source told the publication that the UK's "consistent position has been that it matters where tax is paid". 

"Any agreement must ensure digital businesses pay tax in the UK that reflects their economic activities," they said, adding that they "welcome the US's renewed commitment to tackling the issue and agree that minimum taxes might help to ensure businesses pay tax – as long as they are part of that package approach".

Last year, it was revealed that three US companies – Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – could be avoiding as much as £2.1 billion in tax by exploiting loopholes in developing countries.

Taxing tech giants has been a contentious issue between the UK and the US, with the latter recently considering implementing a 25% tariff on a selection of British goods that enter the country in retaliation to the former's digital services tax (DST).

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Although the source of the statement hasn't been named, the government said on Thursday that International Trade secretary Liz Truss would "push for collective G7 support for the creation of rules governing digital and data trade".

At today's G7 Trade Ministerial meeting, Truss is expected to deliver a speech in which she will mention that the UK wants to use its G7 Presidency "to address the fundamental issues facing global trade".

"Like-minded democracies need to lead the charge on trade reform, because if we don't then there is a very real danger that global trade fragments and that fewer countries end up playing by the rules," she will say.

Truss will also tell attendees of the meeting that "international trade only works when it is fair and when countries submit themselves to a common set of rules"  and that as a result, the world needs "a more modern and dynamic WTO".

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