U.S. tech groups urge Ottawa to hold off on digital-services tax plan

Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in September 2020. The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick

Katherine Tai, confirmed Wednesday as the new U.S. Trade Representative, inherits several longstanding irritants in her country’s commercial relationship with Canada. Along with disputes over softwood lumber and procurement rules, there’s a more recent issue on her desk: Ottawa’s plans to tax tech giants.  

Two major industry organizations representing large U.S. tech companies have urged Washington’s trade office to intervene against Canada’s digital-services tax (DST), first promised in the Liberals’ 2019 election platform then proposed in the November 2020 fall economic statement. Meanwhile in Ottawa, Big Tech firms likely to be affected have been lobbying senior government officials on tax issues.

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