U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Trump administration said on Wednesday it will investigate a French plan to impose a 3% tax on U.S. tech companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This move escalates the administration's global trade fight, "stok[ing] tensions with the European Union," per the Times. It is "a step that could lead Washington to impose trade penalties," the Washington Post adds.

The big picture: If the administration pursues this probe into France — a U.S. ally — it will use the same legal mechanism that President Trump used to strike China with trade war tariffs last year.

  • The investigation intends to "...determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement on Wednesday.
  • French senators are scheduled to vote on the tax Thursday. Lighthizer anticipates it will pass.
  • Other countries are also considering implementing new levies on digital services, Bloomberg reports.

Our thought bubble from Axios' technology reporter Ina Fried: How you see this depends largely on where you sit. In France and other places, this feels like a way to derive tax revenue from companies that are making a lot of money off people in their country. For the tech companies, this seems like an added and unique tax aimed at punishing U.S.-based companies

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The 53 countries supporting China's crackdown on Hong Kong

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Rolex/Pool/Getty Images

China's foreign ministry and state media have declared victory after 53 countries joined a statement at the UN Human Rights Council supporting Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong — compared to 27 who criticized the law.

The big picture: The list of 53 countries was not initially published along with the statement, but has been obtained by Axios. It is made up primarily of autocratic states, including North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Zimbabwe.

CO2 emissions may have peaked, but that's not enough

Reproduced from DNV GL; Chart: Axios Visuals

More analysts are making the case that COVID-19 could be an inflection point for oil use and carbon emissions, but it's hardly one that puts the world on a sustainable ecological path.

Driving the news: The risk advisory firm DNV GL, citing the pandemic's long-term effects on energy consumption, projects in a new analysis that global CO2 emissions "most likely" peaked in 2019.

U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, according to government data released Thursday.

The state of play: While the labor market showed more signs of recovery when the government’s survey period ended in early June, the lag means that more recent developments, like the surge in coronavirus cases and resultant closures in some states, aren't captured in this data.