Amazon, Apple Face More International Taxes In Europe


(Photo: Lionel Bonaventure, AFP/Getty Images) SHARE 9 CONNECT 23 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE It’s no day at the plage operating a giant, successful, multinational American company, once you’ve run up against some very un-American notions about tax policy from abroad. Such as the “data tax” on Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, about to be proposed by France for adoption by the European Union. Apparently, France would like to impose a data transmission tax on those companies — and only those companies — because they are the dominant platforms for Internet usage in Europe just as they are in the US, but they are “non-European,” that is, American. Their dominance therefore prevents European competitors from emerging from obscurity. (How taxing the most popular sites will make other sites more popular with consumers is not clear.) A French member of the European Parliament tells the Wall Street Journal that a data tax should be imposed because the European nations have become “just the puppets of financiers and multinationals.” Or, as Forbes puts it in a now-classic headline: “Gibbering Nonsense From France About Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.” The tax plan is just one piece of a proposal that would establish a new Internet regulatory agency within the European Union. In part, the agency would be empowered to impose other rules aimed at leveling the playing field for European competitors, such as forcing the American companies to enable portability among devices for digital purchases. French Technology Minister Fleur Pellerin told the Wall Street Journal that the absence of such regulations is effectively “blocking innovation from all of the other actors,” and making it difficult for European companies to emerge. The call for regulation gets real impetus from another issue that has entangled US technology companies in Europe: data privacy. The issue gained a great deal of heat after revelations of the US government’s continuing collection of private data on a massive scale, and with the cooperation of some of its biggest technology companies. The proposals are expected to be presented in late October at a summit of European leaders. At this point, the data transmission tax is the part of the proposal that seems least likely to succeed. For one thing, it’s not clear how such a usage-based tax could be imposed, though Pellerin told the Financial Times that her agency is looking at data transfer, traffic, and interconnection to work out how the big Internet companies make their money and, therefore, what part of their (free) services could be taxed.

Europe stocks slip on U.S. debt fears

25, 2013, 12:03 p.m. EDT Europe stocks slip on U.S. debt fears Carnival shares drop after a broker downgrade Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist? Just add items to create a watchlist now: or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In By Sara Sjolin LONDON (MarketWatch) European stock markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday, as discussions among U.S. lawmakers about raising the debt ceiling and difficulties with agreeing on a budget weighed on sentiment. The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/zigman/2380150 XX:SXXP -0.27% dropped 0.1% to close at 313.02, partly erasing a 0.2% gain from Tuesday. SABMiller CEO: Whats on tap Alan Clark of SABMiller PLC on sharing power with his predecessor and selling beer on six continents. Its been a couple of odd few days. Theres not a great deal to lead the markets along and it hasnt been the case for a while. Economic data is still the main focus, said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. It feels like a bit of a holding phase and theres no obvious near-term catalyst. In a few weeks assuming that the debt ceiling is resolved then the focus will fairly quickly turn to the corporate result season, he added. Among notable movers in the pan-European index, shares of Carnival PLC /quotes/zigman/321074 UK:CCL +0.62% /quotes/zigman/322132/quotes/nls/ccl CCL -0.15% lost 6.7% after Morgan Stanley cut the cruise-line operator to underweight from equal-weight.

Europe should shift focus to bowel cancer screening to save lives: scientists

Many governments devote significant funds to breast cancer screening, but studies in recent years have found that routine breast mammograms can also lead to so-called “over-diagnosis” when tests pick up tumors that would not have caused a problem. The risk of over-diagnosis in bowel cancer screening is very low, while gains in terms of reducing deaths are large – making routine testing cost-effective, Philippe Autier, a professor at France’s International Prevention Research Institute, told the European Cancer Conference in Amsterdam. “There is now an irrefutable case for devoting some of the resources from breast and prostate cancer screening to the early detection of colorectal (bowel) cancer,” he said. A large European study published last year found that breast screening programs over-diagnose about four cases for every 1,000 women aged between 50 and 69 who are screened. Colorectal cancer kills more than 600,000 people a year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. In Europe some 400,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year. Results of a study conducted by Autier using data from 11 European countries between 1989 and 2010 showed that the greater the proportions of men and women routinely screened for bowel cancer, the greater the reductions in death rates. In Austria, for example, where 61 percent of those studied reported having had colorectal screening tests, deaths from this form of cancer dropped by 39 percent for men and 47 percent for women over the decade. Meanwhile in Greece, where only 8 percent of males had had bowel cancer screening, death rates rose by 30 percent for men. In the light of the results, Cornelis van de Velde, an oncologist at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and president of the European Cancer Organisation, said it was “very disappointing” there are such wide differences in European governments’ approaches to colorectal screening. “People over 50 should be informed of the availability of the test, and pressure should be put on national health services to put more effort into organizing screening programs,” he told the conference. Screening for early signs of bowel cancer involves either a faecal occult blood test, which checks a sample of feces for hidden blood, or endoscopy, where a tiny camera is introduced into the large bowel to look for the polyps that can be a precursor of cancer. In some European countries, such as France, Germany and Austria, many men and women over the age of 50 have regular colorectal screening examinations, while in others, such as The Netherlands and Britain, screening is much less common. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

Europe’s global role

Gulf to Europe are expected to exceed 2 million tonnes in September, the highest volume on record, according to traders and shipping data. {ID:nL5N0HD3BU] An additional 1.5 million tonnes coming from Russia and Asia are more than enough to cover for lower production in Europe. U.S. diesel output averaged 2.86 million barrels per day (bpd) in September, compared with a peak production of 2.7 million bpd at the end of last year, according to Andrew Reed, analyst at ESAI Energy. Exports from the U.S. Gulf in Q4 2013 are expected to rise by 10 percent from a year earlier to 1 million bpd, he said. Danger for Europe’s refiners is also rising in the east. The earlier-than-expected start of production at the giant 400,000 bpd Jubail refinery in Saudi Arabia, a joint venture with Total, is already remaking global trade flows as demand in the Middle East for refined product from Asia weakens. That means that Asian refiners such as India’s Reliance Industries are keen to ship more diesel and jet fuel to Europe. While diesel flows into Europe grow, European exports of excess gasoline volumes to the U.S. East Coast market, a long-established trade, are rapidly dwindling. U.S.

Europe’s oil refiners choke on flood of U.S., Asian imports

As Gideon Rachman wrote in the Financial Times, athe moral issue that has divided Germans this election is not chemical weapons, but vegetarianism,a a reference to the proposal by the Green Party that public canteens should stop serving meat on one day a week. Germanyas cautious approach worries its EU partners and Nato allies and causes frustration in Washington. Given its history, Germany is clearly anxious not to be seen to be interested in military adventures. Also, there is no appetite in Berlin to alienate Russia and China, countries which oppose international interventions and with which Germany has strong trade links. In the rest of Europe, the situation is more complex. Some governments may want a more forceful global profile for the EU a but thatas not necessarily shared by the people. The doomsayers a of which there are many a insist that the Eurozone crisis and the impact of economic stagnation on European societies have accelerated the loss of EU influence in the international arena. China, India, Russia, Brazil and others are seen as fierce rivals who want a afull-scale reversala of their relationship with the West by demanding better representation in multilateral fora. Others argue that Europe should be more assertive and more self-confident when dealing with the cheeky new kids on the bloc. It was partly to respond to such concerns that the European External Action Service (EEAS) was set up three years ago to act as an EU foreign ministry a and certainly the EUas international profile has gone up a notch. But in todayas competitive world of rising powers, new alliances and increased geo-strategic competition, the EEAS is still seen as underperforming. Much of the criticism is levelled at Catherine Ashton, the head of the EEAS and the EUas de facto foreign minister. It has to be said, however, that Ashtonas role is constrained by the limited space she is allowed by some of the EUas bigger member states, including Britain and France. Still, some EU countries want to go further. The foreign ministers of Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden argued recently that Europe needs a strategic framework to help it navigate a more complex world.