Proposed Action in Section 301 Investigation of Spain's Digital Services Tax, 16813-16816 [2021-06617]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 31, 2021 / Notices Solicitation of Public Comments SBA is requesting comments on (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the agency to properly perform its functions; (b) whether the burden estimates are accurate; (c) whether there are ways to minimize the burden, including through the use of automated techniques or other forms of information technology; and (d) whether there are ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information. SBA proposes to revise the application form to collect information regarding race, ethnicity, and veteran status. Submission of this information is entirely voluntary and would not be a factor in processing the loan. The sole purpose for collecting this information is to help SBA determine the extent to which businesses owned and operated by veterans or members of racial and ethnic groups are benefitting from this disaster assistance program, and develop strategies and policies that could fill any perceived gaps and expand the program’s reach. Summary of Information Collection PRA 3245–0017 (1) Title: Disaster Business Loan Application. Description of Respondents: Disaster victims seeking disaster assistance. Form Number: SBA Form 5. Total Estimated Annual Responses: 2,970. Total Estimated Annual Hour Burden: 6,295. Curtis Rich, Management Analyst. [FR Doc. 2021–06587 Filed 3–30–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8026–03–P SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD [Docket No. FD 36497] jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES D&I Railroad Company—Acquisition and Operation Exemption—in Lincoln and Union Counties, S.D., and Lyon, Sioux, and Plymouth Counties, Iowa D&I Railroad Company (D&I), a Class III rail carrier, has filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.41 to acquire from the State of South Dakota, acting by and through its Department of Transportation (SDDOT), and operate approximately 68 miles of rail line, consisting of two interconnected lines: (1) From milepost 0.0 at East Wye Switch, S.D., to milepost 49.40 in Canton, S.D.; and (2) from milepost 0.00 VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 30, 2021 Jkt 253001 at Hawarden, Iowa, to milepost 18.60 in Beresford, S.D. (the Lines).1 The verified notice states that D&I and SDDOT have negotiated terms for the transfer of the Lines pursuant to a sale agreement the parties executed on February 2, 2021, with closing to occur following the effective date of the exemption. D&I certifies that its projected annual revenues as a result of this transaction will not result in D&I’s becoming a Class II or Class I rail carrier, but that its current annual revenues exceed $5 million. Pursuant to 49 CFR 1150.42(e), if a carrier’s projected annual revenues will exceed $5 million, it must, at least 60 days before this exemption is to become effective, post a notice of its intent to undertake the proposed transaction at the workplace of the employees on the affected lines, serve a copy of the notice on the national offices of the labor unions with employees on the affected lines, and certify to the Board that it has done so. However, D&I has filed a petition for waiver of the 60-day advance labor notice requirements. D&I’s waiver request will be addressed in a separate decision. The Board will establish the effective date of the exemption in its separate decision on the waiver request. D&I also certifies that the proposed acquisition and operation of the Line does not involve a provision or agreement that may limit future interchange with a third-party connecting carrier. If the notice contains false or misleading information, the exemption is void ab initio. Petitions to revoke the exemption under 49 U.S.C. 10502(d) may be filed at any time. The filing of a petition to revoke will not automatically stay the effectiveness of the exemption. Petitions for stay must be filed no later than April 7, 2021. All pleadings, referring to Docket No. FD 36497, should be filed with the Surface Transportation Board via efiling on the Board’s website. In addition, a copy of each pleading must be served on D&I’s representative, Robert A. Wimbish, Fletcher & Sippel LLC, 29 North Wacker Drive, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60606. According to D&I, this action is categorically excluded from 1 According to the verified notice, D&I has operated the first segment of the Lines since 1982 and the second since 1986, pursuant to modified certificates. See D&I R.R.—Operation—Between Sioux Falls, S.D. & Sioux City, Iowa—Modified Rail Certificate, FD 29910 (ICC served May 2, 1982); D&I R.R.—Operation—Between Hawarden, Iowa & Beresford, S.D., FD 30940 (ICC served Nov. 24, 1986). D&I states that it will give notice that it intends to terminate service under the modified certificates pursuant to 49 CFR 1150.24. PO 00000 Frm 00113 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16813 environmental review under 49 CFR 1105.6(c) and from historic preservation reporting requirements under 49 CFR 1105.8(b). Board decisions and notices are available at www.stb.gov. Decided: March 26, 2021. By the Board, Scott M. Zimmerman, Acting Director, Office of Proceedings. Aretha Laws-Byrum, Clearance Clerk. [FR Doc. 2021–06635 Filed 3–30–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE [Docket Number USTR–2021–0005] Proposed Action in Section 301 Investigation of Spain’s Digital Services Tax Office of the United States Trade Representative. ACTION: Request for comments and notice of public hearing. AGENCY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requests written comments regarding a potential trade action in connection with the Section 301 investigation of Spain’s Digital Services Tax (DST). USTR also will convene virtual public hearings and accept rebuttal comments in relation to the potential action. DATES: April 21, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit requests to appear at a hearing, along with a summary of the testimony, by this date. April 30, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit written comments by this date. May 3, 2021: Multi-jurisdictional virtual hearing on proposed actions. May 6, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.: Virtual hearing on Spain DST proposed action. May 10, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit multijurisdictional hearing rebuttal comments by this date. May 13, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit Spain DST hearing rebuttal comments by this date. ADDRESSES: Submit documents in response to this notice, including written comments and hearing appearance requests, through the online USTR portal: https:// comments.ustr.gov/s/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions concerning the investigation, please contact Ben Allen or Patrick Childress, Assistant General Counsels at (202) 395–9439 and (202) 395–9531, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 16814 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 31, 2021 / Notices and burdens or restricts U.S. commerce, and therefore is actionable under sections 301(b) and 304(a) of the Trade Act (19 U.S.C. 2411(b) and 2414(a)). See 86 FR 6407 (January 21, 2021). jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES respectively; Robert Tanner, Director, Services and Investment at (202) 395– 6125; or Michael Rogers, Director, Europe and the Middle East at (202) 395–2684. For issues with on-line submissions, please contact the USTR Section 301 line at (202) 395–5725. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Proceedings in the Investigation Spain has adopted a DST that applies a three percent tax on certain digital services revenues related to online advertising services, online intermediary services, and data transmission services. Companies with worldwide revenues of Ö750 million or more and Ö3 million in certain digital services revenues are subject to the DST. On June 2, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative initiated an investigation of Spain’s DST pursuant to section 302(b)(1)(A) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (Trade Act). See 85 FR 34709 (June 5, 2020) (notice of initiation). The notice of initiation solicited written comments on, inter alia, the following aspects of Spain’s DST: Discrimination against U.S. companies; retroactivity; and possibly unreasonable tax policy. With respect to tax policy, USTR solicited comments on, inter alia, whether the DST diverged from principles reflected in the U.S. and international tax systems including extraterritoriality; taxing revenue not income; and a purpose of penalizing particular technology companies for their commercial success. Interested persons filed over 380 written submissions in response. The public submissions are available on www.regulations.gov in docket number USTR–2020–0022. Under section 303 of the Trade Act, the U.S. Trade Representative requested consultations with the government of Spain regarding the issues involved in the investigation. Consultations were held on December 17, 2020. Based on information obtained during the investigation, USTR prepared a comprehensive report on Spain’s DST (Spain DST Report). The Spain DST Report is posted on the USTR website at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/ enforcement/section-301-investigations/ section-301-digital-services-taxes. The report includes a full description of Spain’s DST, and supports findings that Spain’s DST is unreasonable and discriminatory and burdens or restricts U.S commerce. On January 14, 2021, based on the information obtained during the investigation and the advice of the Section 301 Committee, the U.S. Trade Representative determined that Spain’s DST is unreasonable or discriminatory VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 30, 2021 Jkt 253001 II. Proposed Action Section 301(b) provides that upon determining that the acts, policies, and practices under investigation are actionable and that action is appropriate, the U.S. Trade Representative shall take all appropriate and feasible action authorized under section 301(c), subject to the specific direction, if any, of the President regarding such action, and all other appropriate and feasible action within the power of the President that the President may direct the U.S. Trade Representative to take under section 301(b), to obtain the elimination of that act, policy, or practice. Section 301(c)(1)(B) of the Trade Act authorizes the U.S. Trade Representative to impose duties on the goods of the foreign country subject to the investigation. Pursuant to sections 301(b) and (c), USTR proposes that the U.S. Trade Representative should determine that action is appropriate and that appropriate action would include the imposition of additional ad valorem tariffs on certain products of Spain. In particular, USTR proposes to impose additional tariffs of up to 25 percent ad valorem on an aggregate level of trade that would collect duties on goods of Spain in the range of the amount of the DST that Spain is expected to collect from U.S. companies. Initial estimates indicate that the value of the DST payable by U.S.-based company groups to Spain will be up to approximately $155 million per year. USTR further proposes that the goods of Spain subject to additional tariffs would be drawn from the preliminary list of products in the Annex to this notice, as specified by the listed eightdigit tariff subheadings. III. Request for Public Comments In accordance with section 304(b) of the Trade Act (19 U.S.C. 2414(b)), USTR invites comments from interested persons with respect to whether action is appropriate, and if so, the appropriate action to be taken. USTR requests comments with respect to any issue related to the action to be taken in this investigation. With respect to the proposed tariff action outline above, USTR specifically invites comments regarding: • The level of the burden or restriction on U.S. commerce resulting from Spain’s DST, including the amount PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 of DST payments owed by U.S. companies, the annual growth rate of such payments, and other effects, such as compliance costs. • The appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by additional duties. • The level of the increase, if any, in the rate of duty. • The specific products to be subject to increased duties, including whether the tariff subheadings listed in the Annex should be retained or removed, or whether tariff subheadings not currently on the list should be added. In commenting on the inclusion or removal of particular products on the preliminary list of products subject to the proposed additional duties, USTR requests that commenters address specifically whether imposing increased duties on a particular product would be practicable or effective to obtain the elimination of Spain’s acts, policies, and practices, and whether imposing additional duties on a particular product would cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, including small- or medium-size businesses and consumers. Simultaneously with this notice, USTR also is requesting public comments on proposed trade actions in five other DST investigations initiated at the same time as the Spain DST investigation. Certain interested persons may wish to provide written comments or oral testimony on multi-jurisdictional issues common to two or more investigations. To avoid duplication, the USTR portal will have a separate docket for multi-jurisdictional submissions, and USTR will hold a separate multijurisdictional hearing. To be assured of consideration, you must submit written comments on the proposed action by April 30, 2021, and post-hearing rebuttal comments by May 10, 2021 for the multi-jurisdictional hearing, and by May 13, 2021 for the Spain DST hearing. IV. Hearing Participation The Section 301 Committee will convene a virtual public hearing for comments pertaining to the Spain DST proposed action on May 6, 2021, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Those requesting to appear at this hearing should have comments applicable only to the Spain DST proposed action. The Section 301 Committee will convene a virtual public hearing for comments pertaining to multiple jurisdictions on May 3, 2021, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Those requesting to appear at the multi-jurisdictional hearing should have comments that are applicable to two or more DST investigations. E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 31, 2021 / Notices For either hearing, you must submit a request to appear at the specific hearing using the electronic portal at https:// comments.ustr.gov/s/. You will be able to view a docket entitled ‘Request to Appear at Hearing on Proposed Actions in Section 301 Investigation of Spain’s Digital Services Tax.’ Requests to appear must include a summary of testimony, and may be accompanied by a prehearing submission. Remarks at the hearing are limited to five minutes to allow for possible questions from the Section 301 Committee. All submissions must be in English. To be assured of consideration, USTR must receive your request to appear by April 21, 2021. V. Procedures for Written Submissions You must submit written comments, rebuttal comments, and requests to appear at the hearing using the electronic portal at https:// comments.ustr.gov/s. You will be able to view a docket entitled ‘Comments Concerning Proposed Action in Section 301 Investigation of Spain’s Digital Services Tax’ on the portal, docket number USTR–2021–0005. You do not need to establish an account to submit comments. Fields with a gray (BCI) notation are for Business Confidential Information and the information entered will not be publicly available. Required fields are marked ‘Required’ and will have a red asterisk (*). Fields with a green (Public) notation will be viewable by the public. The first screen of the portal requires you to enter identification and contact information. Third party organizations such as law firms, trade associations, or customs brokers, should identify the full legal name of the organization they represent, and identify the primary point of contact for the submission. The remaining fields of the form are optional. After entering the identification and contact information, you can complete the remainder of the questionnaire, or any portion of it by clicking ‘Next.’ You can comment on multiple products in a single entry, or submit multiple comments. You will be able to navigate through each screen of the form by clicking ‘Next,’ with or without entering a response to each field on an individual screen or page. Additionally, you will be able to upload documents at the end of the form and designate whether USTR should treat the documents as business confidential or public information. For uploads containing BCI, the file name of the business confidential version should begin with the characters ‘BCI’. Any page containing BCI must be clearly marked ‘BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL’ on the top of that page and the submission should clearly indicate, via brackets, highlighting, or other means, the specific information that is BCI. If you request business confidential treatment, you must certify in writing that disclosure of the information would endanger trade secrets or profitability, and that the information would not customarily be released to the public. Parties uploading attachments containing BCI also must submit a public version of their HTSUS subheading 0306.16.00 0306.17.00 0307.51.00 0307.52.00 0307.59.01 1605.21.05 1605.21.10 1605.55.05 1605.55.60 4202.21.90 ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. 4202.22.15 ............. 4203.30.00 ............. 6402.99.31 ............. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 6403.51.30 ............. 6403.51.60 ............. 6403.51.90 ............. 6403.59.15 6403.59.30 6403.59.60 6403.59.90 6403.91.90 ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. 6403.99.60 ............. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16815 comments. The file name of the public version, which must be uploaded on https://comments.ustr.gov/s/, should begin with the character ‘P’. The ‘BCI’ and ‘P’ should be followed by the name of the person or entity submitting the comments or rebuttal comments. If these procedures are not sufficient to protect BCI or otherwise protect business interests, please contact the USTR Section Hotline 301 line at (202) 395– 5725 to discuss whether alternative arrangements are possible. USTR will post attachments uploaded to the docket for public inspection, except for attachments marked as business confidential. You can view all public submissions on the USTR portal at https:// comments.ustr.gov/s. Greta Peisch, General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative. Annex Note: All products that are classified in the eight-digit subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) that are listed in this Annex are covered by the proposed action. The product descriptions that are contained in this Annex are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended to delimit in any way the scope of the proposed action. Any questions regarding the scope of a particular HTSUS subheading should be referred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the product descriptions, the abbreviation ‘‘nesoi’’ means ‘‘not elsewhere specified or included’’. Product description Cold-water shrimps and prawns, cooked in shell or uncooked, dried, salted or in brine, frozen. Other shrimps and prawns, cooked in shell or uncooked, dried, salted or in brine, frozen. Octopus, live, fresh or chilled. Octopus, frozen. Octopus, dried, salted or in brine. Shrimp & prawns not in airtight containers: Fish meat and prepared meals. Shrimp & prawns not in airtight containers: Other than fish meat and prepared meals. Octopus, as containing fish meat or prepared meals. Octopus, prepared or preserved. Handbags, with or without shoulder strap or without handle, with outer surface of leather, composition or patent leather, nesoi, over $20 ea. Handbags, with or without shoulder straps or without handle, with outer surface of sheeting of plastics. Belts and bandoliers with or without buckles, of leather or of composition leather. Footwear w/outer soles & uppers of rubber or plastics, nesoi, n/cov. ankle, w/ext. surf. of uppers o/90% rubber or plastics, nesoi. Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, nesoi, covering the ankle, welt. Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, nesoi, covering the ankle, n/welt, for men, youths and boys. Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, nesoi, covering the ankle, n/welt, for persons other than men, youths and boys. Turn or turned footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, not covering the ankle. Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, not covering the ankle, welt, nesoi. Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, not cov. ankle, n/welt, for men, youths and boys. Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of leather, not cov. ankle, n/welt, for persons other than men, youths and boys. Footwear w/outer soles of rubber/plastics/comp. leather & uppers of leather, cov. ankle, n/welt, for persons other than men/youths/boys. Footwear w/outer soles of rubber/plastics/comp. leather & uppers of leather, n/cov. ankle, n/welt, for men, youths and boys, nesoi. 18:54 Mar 30, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1 16816 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 60 / Wednesday, March 31, 2021 / Notices HTSUS subheading Product description 6403.99.90 ............. Footwear w/outer soles of rubber/plastics/comp. leather & uppers of leather, n/cov. ankle, for women/child./infants, val. over $2.50/pair. Footwear w/outer sole rub./plast. & upp. textile, nesoi, w/open toes/heels or slip-on, >10% by wt. rub./plast. not subj note 5 ch 64. Footwear w/outer soles of leather/comp. leath., n/o 50% by wt. rub./plast. or rub./plast./text. & 10%+ by wt. rub./plast., val. o/$2.50/pr. Footwear w/outer soles of leather/comp. leather & uppers of textile, nesoi. Footwear, nesoi, w/outer soles and uppers o/than leather or comp. leather, not disposable. Hats and headgear, plaited or assembled from strips of veg. fibers or unspun fibrous veg. materials and/or paper yarn, not sewed. Hats and headgear of fur felt made from hat forms and hat bodies of 6501. Hats and headgear made from hat forms and hat bodies of 6501, except of fur felt. Hats and headgear, of cotton and/or flax, knitted. Hats and headgear, of wool, knitted or crocheted or made up from knitted or crocheted fabric. Hats and headgear, of man-made fibers, knitted or crocheted or made up from knitted or crocheted fabrics, not in part of braid. Glassware for toilet/office/indoor decor. or similar purposes, nesoi, valued over $0.30 but n/over $3 each. Glassware for toilet/office/indoor decor. or similar purposes, nesoi, n/cut or engraved, valued over $3 but n/over $5 each. Glassware for toilet/office/indoor decor. or similar purposes, nesoi, n/cut or engraved, valued over $5 each. 6404.19.39 ............. 6404.20.40 ............. 6404.20.60 ............. 6405.90.90 ............. 6504.00.60 ............. 6505.00.04 6505.00.08 6505.00.15 6505.00.30 6505.00.60 ............. ............. ............. ............. ............. 7013.99.50 ............. 7013.99.80 ............. 7013.99.90 ............. BILLING CODE 3290–F1–P OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE [Docket Number USTR–2021–0002] Proposed Action in Section 301 Investigation of Austria’s Digital Services Tax Office of the United States Trade Representative. ACTION: Request for comments and notice of public hearing. AGENCY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) requests written comments regarding a potential trade action in connection with the Section 301 investigation of Austria’s Digital Services Tax (DST). USTR also will convene virtual public hearings and accept rebuttal comments in relation to the potential action. DATES: April 21, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit requests to appear at a hearing, along with a summary of the testimony, by this date. April 30, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit written comments by this date. May 3, 2021: Multi-jurisdictional virtual hearing on proposed actions. May 10, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit multijurisdictional hearing rebuttal comments by this date. May 11, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.: Virtual hearing on Austria DST proposed action. May 18, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit Austria DST hearing rebuttal comments by this date. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Mar 30, 2021 Jkt 253001 Submit documents in response to this notice, including written comments and hearing appearance requests, through the online USTR portal: https:// comments.ustr.gov/s/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions concerning the investigation, please contact Ben Allen or Patrick Childress, Assistant General Counsels at (202) 395–9439 and (202) 395–9531, respectively; Robert Tanner, Director, Services and Investment at (202) 395– 6125; or Michael Rogers, Director, Europe and the Middle East at (202) 395–2684. For issues with on-line submissions, please contact the USTR Section 301 line at (202) 395–5725. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: [FR Doc. 2021–06617 Filed 3–30–21; 8:45 am] I. Proceedings in the Investigation Austria has adopted a DST that imposes a 5% tax on gross revenues from digital advertising services provided in Austria. The DST applies only to companies with annual global revenues of Ö750 million or more, and annual revenues from digital advertising services in Austria of Ö25 million or more. On June 2, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative initiated an investigation of Austria’s DST pursuant to section 302(b)(1)(A) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (Trade Act). See 85 FR 34709 (June 5, 2020) (notice of initiation). The notice of initiation solicited written comments on, inter alia, the following aspects of Austria’s DST: Discrimination against U.S. companies; retroactivity; and possibly unreasonable tax policy. With respect to tax policy, USTR solicited comments on, inter alia, whether the DST diverged from principles reflected in the U.S. and international tax systems including extraterritoriality; taxing revenue not PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 income; and a purpose of penalizing particular technology companies for their commercial success. Interested persons filed over 380 written submissions in response. The public submissions are available on www.regulations.gov in docket number USTR–2020–0022. Under section 303 of the Trade Act, the U.S. Trade Representative requested consultations with the government of Austria regarding the issues involved in the investigation. Consultations were held on December 21, 2020. Based on information obtained during the investigation, USTR prepared a comprehensive report on Austria’s DST (Austria DST Report). The Austria DST Report is posted on the USTR website at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/ enforcement/section-301-investigations/ section-301-digital-services-taxes. The report includes a full description of Austria’s DST, and supports findings that Austria’s DST is unreasonable and discriminatory and burdens or restricts U.S. commerce. On January 14, 2021, based on the information obtained during the investigation and the advice of the Section 301 Committee, the U.S. Trade Representative determined that Austria’s DST is unreasonable or discriminatory and burdens or restricts U.S. commerce, and therefore is actionable under sections 301(b) and 304(a) of the Trade Act (19 U.S.C. 2411(b) and 2414(a)). See 86 FR 6406 (January 21, 2021). II. Proposed Action Section 301(b) provides that upon determining that the acts, policies, and practices under investigation are actionable and that action is appropriate, the U.S. Trade Representative shall take all appropriate E:\FR\FM\31MRN1.SGM 31MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 60 (Wednesday, March 31, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16813-16816]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-06617]


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OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE

[Docket Number USTR-2021-0005]


Proposed Action in Section 301 Investigation of Spain's Digital 
Services Tax

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION: Request for comments and notice of public hearing.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) 
requests written comments regarding a potential trade action in 
connection with the Section 301 investigation of Spain's Digital 
Services Tax (DST). USTR also will convene virtual public hearings and 
accept rebuttal comments in relation to the potential action.

DATES: 
    April 21, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit requests to 
appear at a hearing, along with a summary of the testimony, by this 
date.
    April 30, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit written 
comments by this date.
    May 3, 2021: Multi-jurisdictional virtual hearing on proposed 
actions.
    May 6, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.: Virtual hearing on Spain DST proposed 
action.
    May 10, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit multi-
jurisdictional hearing rebuttal comments by this date.
    May 13, 2021: To be assured of consideration, submit Spain DST 
hearing rebuttal comments by this date.

ADDRESSES: Submit documents in response to this notice, including 
written comments and hearing appearance requests, through the online 
USTR portal: https://comments.ustr.gov/s/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions concerning the 
investigation, please contact Ben Allen or Patrick Childress, Assistant 
General Counsels at (202) 395-9439 and (202) 395-9531,

[[Page 16814]]

respectively; Robert Tanner, Director, Services and Investment at (202) 
395-6125; or Michael Rogers, Director, Europe and the Middle East at 
(202) 395-2684. For issues with on-line submissions, please contact the 
USTR Section 301 line at (202) 395-5725.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Proceedings in the Investigation

    Spain has adopted a DST that applies a three percent tax on certain 
digital services revenues related to online advertising services, 
online intermediary services, and data transmission services. Companies 
with worldwide revenues of [euro]750 million or more and [euro]3 
million in certain digital services revenues are subject to the DST.
    On June 2, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative initiated an 
investigation of Spain's DST pursuant to section 302(b)(1)(A) of the 
Trade Act of 1974, as amended (Trade Act). See 85 FR 34709 (June 5, 
2020) (notice of initiation). The notice of initiation solicited 
written comments on, inter alia, the following aspects of Spain's DST: 
Discrimination against U.S. companies; retroactivity; and possibly 
unreasonable tax policy. With respect to tax policy, USTR solicited 
comments on, inter alia, whether the DST diverged from principles 
reflected in the U.S. and international tax systems including 
extraterritoriality; taxing revenue not income; and a purpose of 
penalizing particular technology companies for their commercial 
success. Interested persons filed over 380 written submissions in 
response. The public submissions are available on www.regulations.gov 
in docket number USTR-2020-0022.
    Under section 303 of the Trade Act, the U.S. Trade Representative 
requested consultations with the government of Spain regarding the 
issues involved in the investigation. Consultations were held on 
December 17, 2020.
    Based on information obtained during the investigation, USTR 
prepared a comprehensive report on Spain's DST (Spain DST Report). The 
Spain DST Report is posted on the USTR website at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/section-301-digital-services-taxes. The report includes a full description of Spain's DST, 
and supports findings that Spain's DST is unreasonable and 
discriminatory and burdens or restricts U.S commerce.
    On January 14, 2021, based on the information obtained during the 
investigation and the advice of the Section 301 Committee, the U.S. 
Trade Representative determined that Spain's DST is unreasonable or 
discriminatory and burdens or restricts U.S. commerce, and therefore is 
actionable under sections 301(b) and 304(a) of the Trade Act (19 U.S.C. 
2411(b) and 2414(a)). See 86 FR 6407 (January 21, 2021).

II. Proposed Action

    Section 301(b) provides that upon determining that the acts, 
policies, and practices under investigation are actionable and that 
action is appropriate, the U.S. Trade Representative shall take all 
appropriate and feasible action authorized under section 301(c), 
subject to the specific direction, if any, of the President regarding 
such action, and all other appropriate and feasible action within the 
power of the President that the President may direct the U.S. Trade 
Representative to take under section 301(b), to obtain the elimination 
of that act, policy, or practice.
    Section 301(c)(1)(B) of the Trade Act authorizes the U.S. Trade 
Representative to impose duties on the goods of the foreign country 
subject to the investigation. Pursuant to sections 301(b) and (c), USTR 
proposes that the U.S. Trade Representative should determine that 
action is appropriate and that appropriate action would include the 
imposition of additional ad valorem tariffs on certain products of 
Spain.
    In particular, USTR proposes to impose additional tariffs of up to 
25 percent ad valorem on an aggregate level of trade that would collect 
duties on goods of Spain in the range of the amount of the DST that 
Spain is expected to collect from U.S. companies. Initial estimates 
indicate that the value of the DST payable by U.S.-based company groups 
to Spain will be up to approximately $155 million per year.
    USTR further proposes that the goods of Spain subject to additional 
tariffs would be drawn from the preliminary list of products in the 
Annex to this notice, as specified by the listed eight-digit tariff 
subheadings.

III. Request for Public Comments

    In accordance with section 304(b) of the Trade Act (19 U.S.C. 
2414(b)), USTR invites comments from interested persons with respect to 
whether action is appropriate, and if so, the appropriate action to be 
taken.
    USTR requests comments with respect to any issue related to the 
action to be taken in this investigation. With respect to the proposed 
tariff action outline above, USTR specifically invites comments 
regarding:
     The level of the burden or restriction on U.S. commerce 
resulting from Spain's DST, including the amount of DST payments owed 
by U.S. companies, the annual growth rate of such payments, and other 
effects, such as compliance costs.
     The appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by 
additional duties.
     The level of the increase, if any, in the rate of duty.
     The specific products to be subject to increased duties, 
including whether the tariff subheadings listed in the Annex should be 
retained or removed, or whether tariff subheadings not currently on the 
list should be added.
    In commenting on the inclusion or removal of particular products on 
the preliminary list of products subject to the proposed additional 
duties, USTR requests that commenters address specifically whether 
imposing increased duties on a particular product would be practicable 
or effective to obtain the elimination of Spain's acts, policies, and 
practices, and whether imposing additional duties on a particular 
product would cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, 
including small- or medium-size businesses and consumers.
    Simultaneously with this notice, USTR also is requesting public 
comments on proposed trade actions in five other DST investigations 
initiated at the same time as the Spain DST investigation. Certain 
interested persons may wish to provide written comments or oral 
testimony on multi-jurisdictional issues common to two or more 
investigations. To avoid duplication, the USTR portal will have a 
separate docket for multi-jurisdictional submissions, and USTR will 
hold a separate multi-jurisdictional hearing.
    To be assured of consideration, you must submit written comments on 
the proposed action by April 30, 2021, and post-hearing rebuttal 
comments by May 10, 2021 for the multi-jurisdictional hearing, and by 
May 13, 2021 for the Spain DST hearing.

IV. Hearing Participation

    The Section 301 Committee will convene a virtual public hearing for 
comments pertaining to the Spain DST proposed action on May 6, 2021, 
beginning at 9:30 a.m. Those requesting to appear at this hearing 
should have comments applicable only to the Spain DST proposed action.
    The Section 301 Committee will convene a virtual public hearing for 
comments pertaining to multiple jurisdictions on May 3, 2021, beginning 
at 9:30 a.m. Those requesting to appear at the multi-jurisdictional 
hearing should have comments that are applicable to two or more DST 
investigations.

[[Page 16815]]

    For either hearing, you must submit a request to appear at the 
specific hearing using the electronic portal at https://comments.ustr.gov/s/. You will be able to view a docket entitled 
`Request to Appear at Hearing on Proposed Actions in Section 301 
Investigation of Spain's Digital Services Tax.' Requests to appear must 
include a summary of testimony, and may be accompanied by a pre-hearing 
submission. Remarks at the hearing are limited to five minutes to allow 
for possible questions from the Section 301 Committee. All submissions 
must be in English. To be assured of consideration, USTR must receive 
your request to appear by April 21, 2021.

V. Procedures for Written Submissions

    You must submit written comments, rebuttal comments, and requests 
to appear at the hearing using the electronic portal at https://comments.ustr.gov/s. You will be able to view a docket entitled 
`Comments Concerning Proposed Action in Section 301 Investigation of 
Spain's Digital Services Tax' on the portal, docket number USTR-2021-
0005.
    You do not need to establish an account to submit comments. Fields 
with a gray (BCI) notation are for Business Confidential Information 
and the information entered will not be publicly available. Required 
fields are marked `Required' and will have a red asterisk (*). Fields 
with a green (Public) notation will be viewable by the public.
    The first screen of the portal requires you to enter identification 
and contact information. Third party organizations such as law firms, 
trade associations, or customs brokers, should identify the full legal 
name of the organization they represent, and identify the primary point 
of contact for the submission. The remaining fields of the form are 
optional.
    After entering the identification and contact information, you can 
complete the remainder of the questionnaire, or any portion of it by 
clicking `Next.' You can comment on multiple products in a single 
entry, or submit multiple comments. You will be able to navigate 
through each screen of the form by clicking `Next,' with or without 
entering a response to each field on an individual screen or page. 
Additionally, you will be able to upload documents at the end of the 
form and designate whether USTR should treat the documents as business 
confidential or public information.
    For uploads containing BCI, the file name of the business 
confidential version should begin with the characters `BCI'. Any page 
containing BCI must be clearly marked `BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL' on the 
top of that page and the submission should clearly indicate, via 
brackets, highlighting, or other means, the specific information that 
is BCI. If you request business confidential treatment, you must 
certify in writing that disclosure of the information would endanger 
trade secrets or profitability, and that the information would not 
customarily be released to the public. Parties uploading attachments 
containing BCI also must submit a public version of their comments. The 
file name of the public version, which must be uploaded on https://comments.ustr.gov/s/, should begin with the character `P'. The `BCI' 
and `P' should be followed by the name of the person or entity 
submitting the comments or rebuttal comments. If these procedures are 
not sufficient to protect BCI or otherwise protect business interests, 
please contact the USTR Section Hotline 301 line at (202) 395-5725 to 
discuss whether alternative arrangements are possible. USTR will post 
attachments uploaded to the docket for public inspection, except for 
attachments marked as business confidential.
    You can view all public submissions on the USTR portal at https://comments.ustr.gov/s.

Greta Peisch,
General Counsel, Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Annex

    Note: All products that are classified in the eight-digit 
subheadings of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States 
(HTSUS) that are listed in this Annex are covered by the proposed 
action. The product descriptions that are contained in this Annex 
are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended 
to delimit in any way the scope of the proposed action. Any 
questions regarding the scope of a particular HTSUS subheading 
should be referred to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the 
product descriptions, the abbreviation ``nesoi'' means ``not 
elsewhere specified or included''.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
      HTSUS subheading                   Product description
------------------------------------------------------------------------
0306.16.00.................  Cold-water shrimps and prawns, cooked in
                              shell or uncooked, dried, salted or in
                              brine, frozen.
0306.17.00.................  Other shrimps and prawns, cooked in shell
                              or uncooked, dried, salted or in brine,
                              frozen.
0307.51.00.................  Octopus, live, fresh or chilled.
0307.52.00.................  Octopus, frozen.
0307.59.01.................  Octopus, dried, salted or in brine.
1605.21.05.................  Shrimp & prawns not in airtight containers:
                              Fish meat and prepared meals.
1605.21.10.................  Shrimp & prawns not in airtight containers:
                              Other than fish meat and prepared meals.
1605.55.05.................  Octopus, as containing fish meat or
                              prepared meals.
1605.55.60.................  Octopus, prepared or preserved.
4202.21.90.................  Handbags, with or without shoulder strap or
                              without handle, with outer surface of
                              leather, composition or patent leather,
                              nesoi, over $20 ea.
4202.22.15.................  Handbags, with or without shoulder straps
                              or without handle, with outer surface of
                              sheeting of plastics.
4203.30.00.................  Belts and bandoliers with or without
                              buckles, of leather or of composition
                              leather.
6402.99.31.................  Footwear w/outer soles & uppers of rubber
                              or plastics, nesoi, n/cov. ankle, w/ext.
                              surf. of uppers o/90% rubber or plastics,
                              nesoi.
6403.51.30.................  Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of
                              leather, nesoi, covering the ankle, welt.
6403.51.60.................  Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of
                              leather, nesoi, covering the ankle, n/
                              welt, for men, youths and boys.
6403.51.90.................  Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of
                              leather, nesoi, covering the ankle, n/
                              welt, for persons other than men, youths
                              and boys.
6403.59.15.................  Turn or turned footwear w/outer soles and
                              uppers of leather, not covering the ankle.
6403.59.30.................  Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of
                              leather, not covering the ankle, welt,
                              nesoi.
6403.59.60.................  Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of
                              leather, not cov. ankle, n/welt, for men,
                              youths and boys.
6403.59.90.................  Footwear w/outer soles and uppers of
                              leather, not cov. ankle, n/welt, for
                              persons other than men, youths and boys.
6403.91.90.................  Footwear w/outer soles of rubber/plastics/
                              comp. leather & uppers of leather, cov.
                              ankle, n/welt, for persons other than men/
                              youths/boys.
6403.99.60.................  Footwear w/outer soles of rubber/plastics/
                              comp. leather & uppers of leather, n/cov.
                              ankle, n/welt, for men, youths and boys,
                              nesoi.

[[Page 16816]]

 
6403.99.90.................  Footwear w/outer soles of rubber/plastics/
                              comp. leather & uppers of leather, n/cov.
                              ankle, for women/child./infants, val. over
                              $2.50/pair.
6404.19.39.................  Footwear w/outer sole rub./plast. & upp.
                              textile, nesoi, w/open toes/heels or slip-
                              on, >10% by wt. rub./plast. not subj note
                              5 ch 64.
6404.20.40.................  Footwear w/outer soles of leather/comp.
                              leath., n/o 50% by wt. rub./plast. or rub./
                              plast./text. & 10%+ by wt. rub./plast.,
                              val. o/$2.50/pr.
6404.20.60.................  Footwear w/outer soles of leather/comp.
                              leather & uppers of textile, nesoi.
6405.90.90.................  Footwear, nesoi, w/outer soles and uppers o/
                              than leather or comp. leather, not
                              disposable.
6504.00.60.................  Hats and headgear, plaited or assembled
                              from strips of veg. fibers or unspun
                              fibrous veg. materials and/or paper yarn,
                              not sewed.
6505.00.04.................  Hats and headgear of fur felt made from hat
                              forms and hat bodies of 6501.
6505.00.08.................  Hats and headgear made from hat forms and
                              hat bodies of 6501, except of fur felt.
6505.00.15.................  Hats and headgear, of cotton and/or flax,
                              knitted.
6505.00.30.................  Hats and headgear, of wool, knitted or
                              crocheted or made up from knitted or
                              crocheted fabric.
6505.00.60.................  Hats and headgear, of man-made fibers,
                              knitted or crocheted or made up from
                              knitted or crocheted fabrics, not in part
                              of braid.
7013.99.50.................  Glassware for toilet/office/indoor decor.
                              or similar purposes, nesoi, valued over
                              $0.30 but n/over $3 each.
7013.99.80.................  Glassware for toilet/office/indoor decor.
                              or similar purposes, nesoi, n/cut or
                              engraved, valued over $3 but n/over $5
                              each.
7013.99.90.................  Glassware for toilet/office/indoor decor.
                              or similar purposes, nesoi, n/cut or
                              engraved, valued over $5 each.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 2021-06617 Filed 3-30-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3290-F1-P