U.S. supports France's G7 push for minimum corporate taxation: Mnuchin

PARIS (Reuters) - The United States supports France’s call within the Group of Seven economic powers for a minimum level of corporate taxation, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday after meeting with the French finance minister in Paris.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a member of the U.S. trade delegation to China, leaves a hotel in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials, China, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

France has said it will use its G7 presidency this year to push for an agreement on a minimum level of corporate taxation.

“On the minimum tax, that’s something we absolutely support, that’s something the U.S. just put into place with our tax reform,” Mnuchin told reporters.

“We think it’s very important, the concept of minimum taxes, and that there isn’t a chase to the bottom on taxation,” he added.

France has also been leading a push at the EU level for tax on digital giants like Amazon AMZN.O and Facebook FB.O, which Paris and many European countries view as able to unfairly reduce their tax bills by booking profits in the countries with the lowest tax rates.

With the EU unlikely to reach a deal in the face of opposition of countries like low-tax Ireland, France and some other EU countries are pushing ahead with plans for their own digital tax at the national level.

Mnuchin said that he was sympathetic to the issue, but considered it to be a broader problem than just digital companies that should be worked out at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Mnuchin’s visit to Paris comes as Washington is trying to win European support for its candidate to lead the World Bank, who is a critic of multilateral institutions and is a loyalist of President Donald Trump. [nL1N2011CX]

Speaking alongside Mnuchin, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that U.S. Treasury Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass was a “good candidate” to head the bank.

Le Maire added that it was important the World Bank continue to help the poorest countries and support the fight against climate change, and said that EU countries would work out a joint position on Malpass’ candidacy.

Malpass, who was present at the meeting, offered assurances that he would not reverse the bank’s work on fighting climate change.

“I expect the World Bank to continue its current course, which involves lending related to climate change,” Malpass told journalists.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Frances Kerry