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Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced on Monday that it is considering tariffs as high as 100% on up to $2.4 billion worth of French products, following an investigation that concluded France's digital tax "discriminates against U.S. digital companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon."

Why it matters: The proposal underscores the administration's willingness to expand the scope of President Trump's trade war beyond just China and use tariffs as a weapon to retaliate against other countries. It was announced around the same time that Trump landed in London for a NATO summit, where he will come face to face with French President Emmanuel Macron.

  • The list of products that could be targeted includes sparkling wine, French cheese, handbags and more.

The big picture: The announcement also comes the same day that Trump tweeted he will restore steel and aluminum tariffs against Brazil and Argentina due to their currency devaluations. On Fox Business, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that time is running out for the U.S. and China to agree on a trade deal before Dec. 15, when the U.S. is set to impose an additional 15% tariff on around $156 billion worth of Chinese goods.

What they're saying:

“USTR’s decision today sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on U.S. companies. Indeed, USTR is exploring whether to open Section 301 investigations into the digital services taxes of Austria, Italy, and Turkey. The USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets U.S. companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading U.S. digital services companies.”
— U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

Go deeper:

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.