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Trump names the next US ambassador to France

US President Donald Trump has nominated a businesswoman from California (who appropriately enough loves food and wine) for the role of US ambassador to France.

Trump names the next US ambassador to France
Photo: AFP
President Donald Trump has nominated California businesswoman Jamie McCourt to become the US ambassador to France, the White House said in a statement Wednesday.
   
Jamie McCourt, 63, is described on her company website as an entrepreneur, real estate developer and lover of food and wine.
 
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Until her divorce in 2011, the Maryland native and attorney was co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with her former husband, Frank McCourt, who currently owns the Olympique de Marseille football club.

Based in Los Angeles, Jamie McCourt has degrees from Georgetown University, the University of Maryland and France's Sorbonne. She has lived and studied in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence. An attorney who practiced for 15 years, she owns a Napa Valley vineyard.

During the campaign, McCourt showed early support for Donald Trump's economic policies and donated more than $400,000 to the “Trump Victory” fund, the Los Angeles Times reported.
   
McCourt was originally nominated to be the US ambassador to Belgium, but the White House withdrew the nomination and replaced it with France. Her appointment has to be approved by the Republican-led Senate.

TAXES

France aims for US digital tax deal by late August, despite Trump opposition

France wants to reach a deal with the US on taxing tech giants by a G7 meeting in late August, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Saturday.

France aims for US digital tax deal by late August, despite Trump opposition
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. Photo: AFP

He was responding to US President Donald Trump, who on Friday vowed “substantial” retaliation against France for a law passed this month on taxing digital companies even if their headquarters are elsewhere.

The law would affect US-based global giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, among others.

Trump denounced French President Emmanuel Macron's “foolishness”, though they discussed the issue by phone on Friday, according to the White House.

Macron confirmed that he had a “long” conversation with Trump, stressing the pair would “continue to work together in view of the G7”.

“We will discuss international taxation, trade and collective security”, he said Saturday.

His office earlier said Macron had told Trump that the tax on the tech giants was not just in France's interest but was something they both had a stake in.

Neither side revealed if they had also discussed Trump's threat to tax French wines in retaliation.

Le Maire took the same line at a news conference Saturday: “We wish to work closely with our American friends on a universal tax on digital activities.

“We hope between now and the end of August — the G7 heads of state meeting in Biarritz — to reach an agreement.”

Leaders of the Group of Seven highly industrialised countries are to meet in the southwestern French city on August 24-26.

Le Maire emphasised that “there is no desire to specifically target American companies,” since the three-percent tax would be levied on revenues generated from services to French consumers by all of the world's largest tech firms, including Chinese and European ones. 

But Deputy White House spokesman Judd Deere noted earlier that France's digital services tax was already the subject of an investigation at the US Trade Representative's office, potentially opening the door to economic sanctions.

“The Trump administration has consistently stated that it will not sit idly by and tolerate discrimination against US-based firms,” Deere said in a statement. 

The French law aims to plug a taxation gap that has seen some internet heavyweights paying next to nothing in European countries where they make huge profits, because their legal base is in smaller EU states.

France has said it would withdraw the tax if an international agreement was reached, and Paris hopes to include all OECD countries by the end of 2020.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a Paris-based forum that advises the world's advanced economies.

READ ALSO: 'I like the way they look': Teetotaler Trump prefers US wine to French

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