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Digital debate heating back up

A digital tax remains wholly unacceptable, Mnuchin said, echoing past remarks he’s made on the matter. “I highlight again our strong concern with countries’ consideration of a unilateral and unfair gross sales tax that targets our technology and internet companies,” he said. Mnuchin, along with congressional leaders and tech industry officials, has instead urged the Europeans to slow down and consider alternatives. A more favorable outcome would result from a multilateral process under way through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, they’ve said. Mnuchin’s statement pressed for an income-based tax that doesn’t single out a specific industry.

In March, European Commission officials laid out a framework for a 3 percent tax on revenues stemming from digital commerce there, so that Google, Apple and other companies with a limited physical presence are taxed in a “fair, effective and growth-friendly” way. Tech companies see it differently. They want Mnuchin’s words to resonate far and wide while publicly buttressing the OECD, which isn’t scheduled to deliver its plan until 2020. It’s important for Trump administration officials to “continue to highlight their engagement at that level and their concerns about unilateral measures,” said Jennifer McCloskey, vice president of policy for market access at the Information Technology Industry Council.

How China's rampant intellectual property theft, long overlooked by US, sparked trade war

Imbi Plaza, a 1970s-era shopping mall on the fringe of the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur, is a good place in which to start understanding how the United States and China came to be in a trade war in 2018. In its heyday, in the 1990s and early 2000s, Imbi was the Malaysian capital’s thriving bazaar of high-technology – a collection of shops selling computer hardware and accessories, and the software needed to run them.

The hardware was mostly real, though rumours hovered in the complex’s dank air of proprietors switching original personal computer (PC) components for cheaper ones, to make a little extra on the side.

‘Inadequate’ intellectual property rights hitting investment, says China’s premier

Nobody worried about that with the software, though. It was all fake, and everybody knew it. If you wanted to drop US$200 on real software, go buy it somewhere else, sucker. Stores with rack after rack of poorly printed package covers on display offered pirated copies of virtually every program available. Need the latest Windows operating system? “Ten ringgit.” MS Office? “Ten ringgit.” Adobe Acrobat? “Why not get the multi-program Adobe suite?”