Trade Enforcement Tools and International Taxation: A Digital Services Tax Case Study
Forthcoming, Julien Chaisse and Cristián Rodríguez-Chiffelle, eds., The Elgar Companion to the WTO
18 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2023
Date Written: March 3, 2023
The US Section 301 trade actions against DSTs were strikingly effective in the short term. Section 301, however, is ill suited as a process for challenging taxes of other countries and lacks legitimacy. The sovereign power to tax is very broad and there is insufficient international agreement on taxation norms applicable to the full range of taxes to form a basis for unilateral action against a tax such as the DST. The Section 301 DST cases did not employ an objective standard and encourage skepticism that trade fora without tax policy experience or expertise are equipped to deal satisfactorily with novel tax instruments. The USTR’s tax policy analysis was weak and unpersuasive. US application of Section 301 to contest taxes of other countries risks longer term consequences that include undermining efforts to achieve a stable and sustainable international tax system.
Keywords: taxation, international taxation, development, economics, tax treaties, WTO, trade, corporate tax, digital services taxes, DSTs, globe, pillar 2
JEL Classification: D78, E62, F02, F21, F23, H20, H21, H25, H61, H77, H87, K33, K34, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation