NFTC Calls for Strong U.S. Response to Canada’s “Ill-Advised” Digital Services Tax

Washington D.C. – National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President Jake Colvin today issued a statement following passage by the Canadian Parliament of a bill implementing a Digital Services Tax (DST), which is expected to become law imminently:

“Yesterday’s passage of Canada’s retroactive and discriminatory DST legislation is deeply disappointing. NFTC has repeatedly stated that this ill-advised step reflects fundamentally unwise tax policy and unfairly targets a broad range of American companies. As OECD Pillar One negotiations are still underway, this undermines the collaborative, good-faith work that other countries are engaged in to reach a more durable international consensus on digital economy taxation that avoids a patchwork of country-specific DSTs.  

“The enactment of the DST is the latest in a troubling trend of actions taken by the Canadian government directed toward U.S. companies. 

“The Biden Administration has repeatedly expressed to Canada – to no avail – that it has concerns with fiscal policies, including the DST, that single out American companies while excluding national firms and indicated that, if Canada adopted a DST, USTR would examine all options, including under our trade agreements and domestic statutes.

“The time for action has arrived. With the DST on the verge of being signed into law, we are calling on Ambassador Tai to lead a strong U.S. response that holds Canada accountable to its trade obligations and defends the interests of U.S. companies.”

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

Brad Wood Joins NFTC as Senior Director for Trade and Innovation Policy

Washington D.C. – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) announced that Brad Wood has joined the NFTC as Senior Director for Trade and Innovation Policy.

He will serve as NFTC’s lead on policy areas including environment, health, frontier technologies and intellectual property. He will also lead an effort to further deepen the Council’s relationships with the diplomatic community and bolster engagement in North America and the Indo-Pacific.

Most recently Brad served for more than a decade at the Canadian Embassy, where he advanced U.S.-Canada cooperation in support of open trade and an integrated North American market.

“Brad is going to be a great addition to the NFTC team,” said NFTC President Jake Colvin. “ His deep network of relationships throughout the hemisphere, expertise on trade and familiarity with companies’ integrated North American operations will be an asset as we help our members prepare for what’s on deck following the election.”

Brad’s full bio can be found below.

Brad Wood
Senior Director, Trade and Innovation Policy

Brad Wood is Senior Director for Trade and Innovation Policy at the National Foreign Trade Council, the leading business association dedicated solely to advancing the interests of U.S. companies in international commerce.

Brad previously served in consecutive roles at the Embassy of Canada where he was most recently the Trade Program Manager for Innovation and Industrial Policy and the U.S. representative for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. In this capacity Brad advanced Canada-U.S. cooperation bilaterally and with third countries, and worked with the Administration, Congress and business sector to ensure policies support open trade and the integrated North American market.

Prior to the Embassy, Brad worked in several capacities for the Government of Canada in Ottawa where he shaped international policy priorities, coordinated appropriations, mitigated technical barriers to trade, and represented Canada internationally, including at the World Trade Organization.

Brad holds a Master’s in International Trade from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Business Administration with an economics double major from Brandon University.

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

U.S. Business Clamoring for More Tax Treaties

Washington D.C. – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today released the 2024 Tax Treaty Survey.

The survey, which was answered by tax professionals from NFTC member companies, asked businesses to rate their tax treaty priorities around the world.

“Companies value certainty and avoidance of double taxation, which is why Tax Treaties are so crucial,” said Anne Gordon, NFTC Vice President for International Tax Policy. “As countries around the world elect new leaders and policies change, treaties provide companies with the certainty they need to make long term investment plans and succeed in global markets. Continuing to vigorously pursue treaties also strengthens the U.S. position as a global leader and allows us to defend our interests in other markets.”

Highlights of this year’s survey include:

  • Brazil was once again identified as the top priority country for respondents.
  • For Brazil, Transfer Pricing was identified as the greatest concern, followed by Mutual Agreement Process (MAP); Business Profits, and reducing withholding rates on royalties.
  • Ireland, Israel, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, Switzerland were also listed as high priority countries for the business community.
  • In total, respondents requested treaties with 32 countries.

Read the full results here.

An infographic of the most requested countries can be found here.

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

NFTC, Leading Trade Associations Call for U.S. Response Upon Enactment of Canada DST

Washington D.C. – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) today joined a number of leading industry associations in calling for a robust response from the United States once Canada enacts its digital services tax (DST).

“As Canada’s Parliament continues to rush forward with its discriminatory and retroactive DST, the United States must be prepared to respond,” said Tiffany Smith, NFTC Vice President for Global Trade Policy. “That is why we are calling on Ambassador Tai to seek dispute settlement consultations under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to ensure Canada complies with its USMCA obligations and to defend the interests of U.S. companies operating in Canada.”

The letter reads, in part: “Although determining the specific economic effect on U.S. firms may not yet be possible given lack of implementing rules, industry is already feeling the effects of Canada’s decision. Many companies have begun the costly and burdensome process of preparing for incipient tax liability. Moreover, as underscored by previous 301 investigations regarding DSTs, the tax will also negatively affect U.S. startups, small businesses, and consumers, in the form of increased prices for critical services on which they rely. In short, firms are already experiencing the harms of the law, and the clear outlines of Canada’s intent now create the basis for a legal response.”

“Canada still has time to avoid creating an unnecessary trade dispute with its closest ally and largest trade partner and jeopardizing the finalization of the Pillar One negotiations at the OECD,” added Smith. “We strongly urge Canada to reconsider implementation of the DST and to continue actively engaging in the OECD Inclusive Framework Pillar One negotiations before violating its obligations by enacting this unilateral measure.”

Along with NFTC, the letter was signed by Coalition of Service Industries (CSI), Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Consumer Technology Association (CTA), Engine, Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), TechNet, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Council on International Business (USCIB).

Read the full text of the letter here.

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

NFTC Welcomes IPEF Progress and Calls for Further Efforts to Advance Trade Pillar

WASHINGTON DC – National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Vice President for Global Trade Policy Tiffany Smith issued a statement following the conclusion of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Ministerial meeting in Singapore:

“The signing of the IPEF agreements implementing the Clean Economy and Fair Economy Pillars and the overarching deal is an important step towards making the concept a reality.

“NFTC looks forward to working with the Commerce Department to help advance the goals set out in the supply chain, clean energy and fair trade pillars in order to create more opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes to bring their goods, services, and know-how to the Indo-Pacific region.

“At the same time, it is disappointing that more progress has not been made under the Trade Pillar to underpin the cooperative efforts under Pillars 2-4 with a set of durable, predictable trade rules that would go even farther in enhancing U.S. leadership and economic engagement in this important region.”

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

NFTC Statement on New Canadian Fee for U.S. Streaming Companies

WASHINGTON DC – National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Vice President for Global Trade Policy Tiffany Smith today issued a statement follow the announcement that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) will impose a five percent levy on Canadian revenue from online streaming companies:

“Today’s action by Canada once again raises serious questions about their commitment to the fair treatment of companies headquartered in its closest trading partner and ally as well as its adherence to both the spirit and the letter of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).”

“This action by the CRTC will compel U.S. streaming services and social media platforms to pay an estimated $200 million per year to fund Canadian content on their platforms.

“This new fee will hurt U.S. creative professionals and related workers and ignores the already significant investments U.S. streaming companies have made in Canada as well as the benefits these global platforms provide.”

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

In Senate Testimony, NFTC’s John Pickel Emphasizes Government-Industry Collaboration Is Key to Resilient Supply Chains

WASHINGTON DC – National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Senior Director for International Supply Chain Policy John Pickel today testified at a Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing on trade enforcement at U.S. ports of entry.

During the hearing, John stressed the importance of government-industry collaboration in facilitating the secure and efficient entry of legitimate goods into the American economy without adding overly burdensome processes that would make supply chains less resilient.

“Partnership between government and industry to develop policies and regulations that anticipate and respond to supply chain challenges would promote resilience and avoid requirements that could snarl supply chains. Industry should be seen as an ally that can partner with government agencies to ensure the facilitation of entry of legitimate goods to the U.S. economy as well as the enforcement of laws that prevent the entry of illicit and dangerous items.”

His written testimony outlined business community priorities around several key areas, including:

  1. Customs Processes at Ports of Entry;
  2. Importance of Data and Cargo Processing Digitization;
  3. Importance of Trade Facilitation and Adoption of Technology;
  4. Trusted Trader Programs;
  5. Facilitative Treatment for Low-Value Shipments;
  6. Digitization of Border Processes;
  7. Clear Compliance Standards; and
  8. Prioritize Addressing Risk at the Source.

Video of the hearing can be found here and the full testimony can be found here.

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

NFTC: Administration’s Long-Overdue Section 301 Report Misses the Mark with New Tariffs

WASHINGTON DC – In response to the Biden Administration’s release of the statutorily-required Section 301 four-year review and the announcement of new tariffs imposed on goods from China, Tiffany Smith, Vice President of Global Trade Policy at the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), released the following statement:

“While we welcome the release of the long-overdue Section 301 four-year review and a new exclusion process to provide limited relief to American manufacturers, this announcement is a missed opportunity to move away from relying on tariffs as the tool of choice in our relationship with China.

“This announcement suggests that this Administration continues to believe that imposing unilateral tariffs on imports from China will be effective in swaying Beijing to abandon the array of policies that first led to this investigation and which remain a problem. If tariffs were going to solve these complex issues, they would have done so by now.

“The small improvements are overshadowed by the cost and effects of maintaining old and imposing new tariffs. According to the Administration’s own data, U.S. businesses and consumers have paid over $215 billion in Section 301 tariffs since 2018 with little to show for it, and will now be on the hook to pay even more. 

“Instead of continuing to rely on tariffs, which increase prices for all Americans at a time of record inflation, as a primary policy tool, the Administration should be seeking ways to work with our key trading partners to create real change in China and bring lasting benefits to American producers, exporters and consumers.”

Tiffany Smith is available for further comment on this issue. She can be reached at tsmith@nftc.org.

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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

At NFTC Foundation Annual Dinner, Congressional Champions, Biden Administration Emphasize Importance of U.S. Global Economic Leadership

WASHINGTON DC – Last week the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) Foundation hosted its annual World Trade Dinner and Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC. This year’s dinner honored Representatives Brad Schneider, Kevin Hern, Carol Miller and Adrian Smith and featured remarks from Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
The first honorees of the night, Representatives Kevin Hern and Brad Schneider, were recognized with the International Tax Award for reaching across the aisle and working together on a Foreign Tax Credit rule that would have had enormous impacts on American companies.
Congresswoman Carol Miller was recognized with the World Trade Award for her commitment to encouraging U.S. trade leadership, including through the recent introduction of the U.S. Trade Leadership in the Indo-Pacific Act (USTLIPA).
Congressman Adrian Smith, this year’s Trade Leadership for the Digital Age Award honoree, was recognized for his advocacy of strong digital trade provisions, including his support for a resolution outlining the importance of the U.S. digital economy and his longstanding emphasis on the role of digital technologies in supporting agriculture communities.
Arun Venkataraman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets, and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, closed out the dinner with remarks emphasizing that, “in the face of so much criticism leveled at trade…trade is a force for good.”
The dinner also included remarks from Jake Colvin, President of the NFTC, Leslie Griffin, President of the NFTC Foundation and Susan Schwab, Chair of the NFTC Board of Directors.
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About the NFTC
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) is the premier business association advancing trade and tax policies that support access to the global marketplace. Founded in 1914, NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.

NFTC Vice President Intervention at UN Tax Meeting

NFTC Vice President Anne Gordon last week delivered remarks at the meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee to Draft Terms of Reference for a United Nations Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation.

The remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be found below.

Remarks from Anne Gordon (NFTC) at the Ad Hoc Committee to Draft Terms of Reference for a United Nations Framework Convention on International Tax Cooperation
May 1, 2024
As prepared for delivery

  • Thank you, Madam Chair
  • My name is Anne Gordon, Vice President for International Tax Policy at the National Foreign Trade Council and I appreciate the opportunity to provide input on these important discussions and for today’s dedicated feedback session.
  • Founded in 1914, the NFTC promotes an open, rules-based global economy on behalf of a diverse membership of U.S.-based businesses.
  • Our members value transparency and rules – and I’d like to address that topic as part of the Ad Hoc Committee.
  • We would like to support the statements from several countries including US, UK, Canada, Singapore, Germany and others encouraging consensus for developing protocols and the convention. We understand that ultimately each country will have the ability to vote yes or no on the final product under the General Assembly rules. However, we are concerned that without consensus decision-making, there won’t be sufficient buy-in and we will be left with a fragmented international tax system that will be detrimental to global trade and investment by MNEs, and in particular to emerging and developing countries.
  • We support efforts to create a system that is more inclusive but we believe that widespread adoption will be essential – and a consensus approach will help achieve that goal.
    In order to achieve this, we suggest that this committee develop and communicate transparent processes, including sharing of documents and other information for feedback from delegates and stakeholders. We would appreciate sufficient notice of meetings and publication of the tentative agenda – NFTC was grateful to be approved, but was only notified last week. Without notice and transparency, it is difficult to follow and understand the proceedings and to provide constructive input.
  • As documents are drafted – including the terms of reference, protocols, and eventually a convention- we request a clear process so that stakeholders, including the business community, can provide input. The process for input should be posted on the UN website and stakeholders should be given reasonable amounts of time to provide such input ideally at least a month.
  • We also highly recommend the Committee consider creating a business advisory group to allow for consistent dialogue. An international tax system should work for both governments and taxpayers. As noted by the ICC, the business community can provide invaluable insights into the practical aspects of taxation for those affected, including the impact to different business models, investments and complex value chains.
  • We also believe the international tax framework convention should ensure that there is no double taxation and no discriminatory treatment of industries.
  • Our members need tax certainty as well as an international tax system that is stable, rules-based, and administrable. Without these key tax principles, there will likely be an increase of disputes and complicated compliance which are costly to both tax administrators and taxpayers.
  • As the international tax framework is developed, we urge countries to prioritize pro-growth policies that help encourage investment and ensure that there is no double taxation.
  • Thank you.