French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says he wants to see a landmark global corporate tax agreement implemented by 2023.
“We have been waiting for too long to adopt this international taxation system,” Le Maire told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.
“Now is the time to decide to adopt this new system and to implement it, let’s say, between one or two years, [but] not much more.”
Le Maire said he expects finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 of the world’s largest economies to approve the tax plan at this week’s G20 ministerial meeting in Venice.
“We could have at the level of the G20, in a few hours, an agreement amongst 20 [of the] most important countries around the world,” he said.
If fully implemented, the plan would overhaul the global taxation system and make it more difficult for large multinational companies to relocate operations to jurisdictions with low tax rates.
“For the first time, we are putting the race to the bottom to an end,” Le Maire said.
“I’m deeply convinced that this race to the bottom on taxation is clearly a dead end because it does not provide the necessary public funding for public services.”
He said the tax deal would target tech giants, which Le Maire said tend to avoid fair taxation on their profits in countries where they don’t have a physical presence.
‘A starting point’
Last week, Canada and 130 other countries backed the plan by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to set a 15 per cent global corporate tax rate.
Le Maire said he wants the rate set as high as possible and considers the 15 per cent rate to be a benchmark for negotiations at this week’s G20 summit.
He noted that the U.S. had been keen on a 21 per cent rate early on in the negotiations, but ultimately backed the 15 per cent figure first agreed on at the G7 summit last month in the United Kingdom.
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“Let’s be clear. For the French government, 15 per cent is the starting point and not the end of the story,” he told Power & Politics.
Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said there is no consensus on a global rate. Ireland’s low tax rates have attracted many large multinational tech giants.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she will attend the G20 ministerial meetings in Venice. Her office said the Canadian delegation will follow all health protocols during their visit and upon returning to Canada.
With files from David Cochrane and The Associated Press.