The tax will be retrospectively applied from early 2019, raising around €400m ($450m) for the French government this year.
She said that, in light of growing concerns about carbon emissions from trains, "France is committed to the taxation of air transport but there is an urgency here". Facebook, Amazon and Google owner Alphabet are all in the firing line. Hours after the French vote, the United Kingdom released its own draft proposal for a 2% digital services tax.
France pushed ahead with the tax after European Union countries failed to agree a levy valid across the bloc in the face of opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. France forecasts that the tax could bring in as much as €500m a year.
Le Maire said: "I want to highlight that this is the first time in the history of relations between the U.S. and France that the American administration has chose to open a Section 301 procedure". In October 2018 the United Kingdom government's 2018 Budget included a proposed "Digital Services Tax" which would be 'a narrowly-targeted tax on the UK-generated revenues of specific digital platform business models' - primarily as a means of closing a loophole which has seen companies like Google dodge billions in tax. Taxing revenue is meant to counter the complex arrangements most USA tech firms have in place to avoid paying high taxes on their profits.
Industry group techUK warned of similar consequences from the U.K.'s proposed 2% tax on digital services in a statement Thursday.
On its own, a 3% tax such as France's would hardly dent the revenues of big tech companies.
France argues these firms have long benefited from global tax loopholes that aggressively minimize their tax bill in countries where they aren't headquartered. In the first quarter of this year, for instance, Amazon's share of French e-commerce went down slightly, but the American retail behemoth still controlled no less than half of France's online trade.
Many global tech companies pay taxes in the countries where their headquarters are based, rather than where they generate sales.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement ahead of the adoption of the French law that Washington was "very concerned" it would "unfairly" target American companies. This causes problems for countries such as France and the United Kingdom, where huge sales are made but governments see very little of this money returned in tax.
'The UK has always sought to lead in finding an worldwide solution to taxing the digital economy, ' claims Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General Jesse Norman.