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Global Tax Reform Process Hangs on U.S. Election: Saint-Amans

June 30, 2020, 11:48 AM

The OECD’s tax chief warned Tuesday that the fate of global talks on digital services taxes may hinge on the outcome of November’s U.S. elections.

“We’ve been waiting many years already, but there is indeed an election and it’s true that waiting for the outcome of the elections wouldn’t be so outrageous,” Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD’s Center for Tax Policy and Administration, told a Belgian finance committee.

“This would make it possible to resume negotiations in March,” he said, adding that this would set up an “extremely difficult” to conclude negotiations before the end of 2021. The alternative, he said, was “unilateral measures.”

  • The unilateral measures being considered by many countries heighten the chances of a trade war, he noted, as the proposals have been met with U.S. threats of trade sanctions.
  • “I think countries seem to plan on waiting for the U.S. elections and giving the OECD process one last chance, even though most of them feel very frustrated,” he said.
  • An election delay could push already-delayed talks to secure a deal on taxing the digital economy further into the future.

Check out Bloomberg Tax’s country-by-country roadmaps covering direct and indirect tax developments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamza Ali in London at; Linda Thompson in Amsterdam at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at; David Jolly at