France and Germany backed a US proposal for a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15 percent on Friday, hoping for a quick breakthrough at talks at the OECD.
Washington floated the idea on Thursday as part of US President Joe Biden’s push to find an agreement with major economies on imposing a shared minimum corporate tax to end a race to lower taxes.
France and Germany are the eurozone’s biggest economies and their support is key at talks taking place on the subject at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and G20.
Arriving for talks with his eurozone counterparts, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France “can live with 15 percent, it can be a good compromise”.
However, “the key question is not the figure,” Le Maire said, insisting that a quick political agreement was key and needed no later than a G20 meeting in Italy in July.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz hailed the US proposal as “really a big progress” that brought negotiations to a “point where we can see that we will make it.”
The OECD negotiations are intended to stop what Washington calls a “race to the bottom” among countries to see who can offer the lowest rate.
In Europe, France and Germany are key backers of the idea, but questions remain from smaller EU member states whose economies depend on keeping taxes low to attract big companies.
“The discussions are still open,” said Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s finance minister, whose country is a lower-tax headquarters for Amazon and other multinationals.
“As long as it is a common agreed level for all of us, it makes life easier for everybody,” he added.