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Romney gets nostalgic for his Paris years

White House hopeful Mitt Romney got a bit wistful Monday while on the campaign trail as he recalled time spent with his wife in "magnificent" Paris, where he hopes to enjoy more vacation time.

Romney gets nostalgic for his Paris years
Gage Skidmore

Romney, the all-but-certain Republican nominee to face President Barack Obama in November’s election, spent two years as a Mormon missionary in France in the 1960s and gushed about his time in the country.

“I think the best memories were with my wife on vacations from time to time in France,” he told reporters before a town hall event in Aston, Pennsylvania.

“The last vacation we had there walking around the city of Paris and walking not just the Champs-Elysees but also over to the Jardin of Luxembourg and around the city,” he went on.

“It’s one of the most magnificent cities in the world and I look forward to occasional vacations again; it’s such a beautiful place.” 

The comments came just days after Romney rebuked Obama for “jetting around the world,” playing too much golf and failing to rein in widening scandals that have hit two federal agencies.

“I would not be jetting around the world and using four years in office to see the world, but instead I would consider the four to eight years in office as a time to get America back on track,” Romney told conservative radio host Bill Cunningham last week.

And in an interview with National Journal, he warned that Obama was setting a bad example for Americans by taking “elaborate vacations” instead of focusing on the economy.

Throughout the campaign, Romney has made frequent allusions to his vast wealth, and Democrats have seized on the gaffes to portray him as a privileged member of the super-rich who can’t relate to middle-class and working-class Americans.

During a televised debate, Romney challenged Texas Governor Rick Perry to a $10,000 bet, and later mentioned that he has friends who own NASCAR and football teams, and that his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs.” 

Romney’s comments about France came as Socialist candidate Francois Hollande seeks to topple conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in a second-round election showdown set for May 6.

In addition, many conservative US Republicans hold lingering resentment toward France dating back to 2003, when Paris opposed military intervention in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein.

In the heat of the primary race earlier this year, rival Newt Gingrich released an ad attacking Romney for speaking French.

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TAX

Trump orders investigation into France’s planned tax on tech giants

US President Donald Trump has ordered an investigation into France's planned tax on internet services that will hit American tech giants especially hard, officials said Wednesday.

Trump orders investigation into France's planned tax on tech giants
Photo: AFP
The investigation into unfair trade practices could pave the way for Washington to impose punitive tariffs, something Trump has done repeatedly since taking office.
   
“The United States is very concerned that the digital services tax which is expected to pass the French Senate tomorrow unfairly targets American companies,” US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement.
   
The proposed three percent tax on total annual revenues of companies providing services to French consumers only applies to the largest tech companies, “where US firms are global leaders,” the trade representative's office said.
 
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France to introduce tax on big US tech firms in JanuaryPhoto: AFP

The so-called Section 301 investigation is the primary tool the Trump administration has used in the trade war with China to justify tariffs against what the United States says are unfair trade practices.   

USTR will hold hearings to allow for public comment on the issue over several weeks before issuing a final report with a recommendation on what actions to take.
   
Despite the objections to the French tax proposal however, the statement said the United States will continue to work with other advanced economies to address the conundrum of how to tax tech companies.
   
The Group of 20 has tasked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with finding a fix in the international tax system that has allowed some internet heavyweights to take advantage of low-tax jurisdictions in places like Ireland and pay next to nothing in other countries where they make huge profits.
   
The Computer & Communications Industry Association on Wednesday applauded the US Trade Representative's move, saying the tax would retroactively require US internet giants operating in France to turn over a percentage of their revenues from the beginning of this year and violates international trade commitments.
   
“This is a critical step toward preventing protectionist taxes on global trade,” CCIA official Matt Schruers said in a statement.
   
“CCIA encourages France to lead the effort toward more ambitious global tax reform, instead of the discriminatory national tax measures that harm global trade.”
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