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On March 26, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the next steps in its Section 301 investigations of Digital Service Taxes (DSTs) adopted or under consideration by ten US trading partners.  In January, USTR found that the DSTs adopted by Austria, India, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom were subject to action under Section 301 because they discriminated against US digital companies, were inconsistent with principles of international taxation, and burdened US companies.  USTR is proceeding with the public notice and comment process on possible trade actions to preserve procedural options before the conclusion of the statutory one-year time period for completing the investigations.

USTR has posted advance copies of the Federal Register requests for comments and notices of virtual public hearings. USTR requests comments with respect to any issue related to the action to be taken in each investigation. In each case, USTR has proposed an ad valorem tariff of 25% up to the amount shown in the table below, to be assessed on products specified in the annex to each notice. Certain interested persons may wish to provide written comments or oral testimony on multi-jurisdictional issues common to two or more investigations. To avoid duplication, the USTR portal will have a separate docket  for multi-jurisdictional submissions, and USTR will hold a separate multi-jurisdictional hearing.

A Multi-jurisdictional virtual hearing on the proposed actions will be held on May 3, 2021. The common deadlines that apply to all listed jurisdictions to be assured of consideration are as follows:

  • Submit requests to appear at a hearing, along with a summary of the testimony, by April 21, 2021.
  • Submit written comments by April 30, 2021.
  • Submit multi-jurisdictional hearing rebuttal comments by May 10, 2021.

In addition, there will be virtual hearings for each of the six countries. The dates of the those hearings and the dates country-specific rebuttals are due are shown below (Links are to the advance notices posted by USTR):

Docket No. Country Proposed Action Virtual hearing on country Country Rebuttal due
USTR-2021-0002 Austria 25% up to $45 Mn./yr 05-11-21 05-18-21
USTR-2021-0003 India 25% up to $55 Mn./yr 05-10-21 05-17-21
USTR-2021-0004 Italy 25% up to $140 Mn./yr. 05-05-21 05-12-21
USTR-2021-0005 Spain 25% up to $155 Mn./yr. 05-06-21 05-13-21
USTR-2021-0006 Turkey 25% up to $160 Mn./yr 05-07-21 05-14-21
USTR-2021-0007 United Kingdom 25% up to $325 Mn./yr. 05-04-21 05-11-21