FirstFT: Brussels set to delay digital levy plan


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Brussels is set to delay plans for its controversial digital levy until the autumn in an effort to boost the prospects of a global corporate tax reform deal.

The move followed the endorsement by G20 finance ministers in Venice over the weekend of a landmark global tax deal reached by G7 nations last month to set a worldwide minimum rate and to overhaul taxing rights.

The European Commission had come under intense pressure from US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen to shelve its digital tax proposal, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Brussels was due to put forward its proposals for the digital levy this week, but had pushed them back to July 20.

  • More G20 news: G20 finance ministers have collectively endorsed carbon pricing for the first time, describing the once contentious idea as one of “a wide set of tools” to tackle climate change.

Five more stories in the news

1. Brussels targets aviation fuel tax The European Commission will propose a revamp of its 15-year-old rule book on carbon taxes to provide an incentive for low-emissions fuel and impose levies on heavily polluting energy used in the airline and shipping industry to reduce carbon emissions. 

2. Richard Branson touches the edge of space The Virgin founder touched the edge of space on Sunday morning, fulfilling a life-long ambition and grabbing bragging rights from rival Jeff Bezos in the race to open suborbital space to commercial tourism. Here is a look at how Branson and Bezos’s rocket ships compare.

3. China to impose security checks on overseas listings Chinese companies that have the data of more than 1m users will need to pass a security review before issuing shares on overseas stock exchanges, the country’s internet regulator said on Saturday.

4. SoftBank’s second Vision Fund speeds up pace of investment The fund poured about $13bn into more than 50 companies during the second quarter, according to two people briefed on the numbers, marking a sharp increase in the pace of its investments. During the first three months of the year, the second Vision Fund invested less than $2bn in fewer than two dozen companies.

5. Haiti president’s widow says domestic opponents plotted assassination President Jovenel Moïse’s widow has accused the Haitian leader’s domestic opponents of organising his assassination, as prosecutors summoned leading business and political figures to face questioning. Haiti police said they had identified the men who assassinated Moïse and that most of them were Colombian mercenaries.

  • Read more: Haiti’s “descent into hell” looms closer after death of president. “Whether you loved Moïse or hated him, it’s the same reaction: a deep state of shock,” said one resident of Port-au-Prince.

Coronavirus digest

  • Governments across the Asia-Pacific region are imposing tougher lockdown measures to combat the spread of the highly infectious Covid-19 Delta variant.

  • Indian authorities fear a rush of tourists to Himalayan mountain towns risks fuelling new Covid-19 outbreaks.

  • A top Federal Reserve official has warned the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and low vaccination rates in some parts of the world pose a threat to the global recovery.

  • Scientists are racing to answer the question: how well do jabs protect against the variant?

Chart showing how vaccine efficacy compares against the Alpha and Delta variants

Follow the latest with our coronavirus live blog and sign up for our Coronavirus Business Update newsletter for more Covid-19 news.

The days ahead

India economic figures Consumer price index figures and monthly industrial production figures will be released today.

Janet Yellen meets eurozone finance ministers Brussels’ digital levy will be the main topic of discussion when the US Treasury secretary meets with commission president Ursula von der Leyen and her European colleagues today.

Musk to testify over Tesla’s SolarCity acquisition Elon Musk has embodied Tesla for more than a decade, making himself the company’s flamboyant ambassador for the electric car revolution. On Monday, the showman chief executive will try to demonstrate to a Delaware judge that, whatever his prominence, he does not control the company.

Join “Building new pathways to success for African football”, a conversation with sports leaders on the opportunities for developing African football talent on July 15.

What else we’re reading

China threat tempers Taiwan’s welcome of Hong Kong exiles Last year, Taiwan’s president offered refuge to a wave of fleeing Hong Kongers after Beijing moved to crush dissent in the former British colony. But those seeking refuge have become entangled in a web of restrictions designed to protect Taiwan from an increasingly assertive China.

Melinda French Gates’s political awakening French Gates has progressed from an intensely private, behind-the-scenes figure to a leader comfortable in the spotlight and increasingly possessed by a singular cause. She also joins an unusual club: tech billionaires’ former spouses who are suddenly unbound and free to chart their own philanthropic course.

Florida’s condo politics in the spotlight Debates over how to pay for essential repairs often lead to infighting among residents. There are parallels to the crippling bills that some apartment owners are being forced to pay as landlords upgrade the cladding on their buildings in response to the deadly Grenfell fire in London four years ago.

Xi Jinping and US China hawks unite The Didi debacle signals the end of the steady stream of New York listings for Chinese companies, writes FT’s Tom Mitchell. It’s also made President Xi Jinping and Washington’s leading China hawks like Senator Marco Rubio into strange bedfellows.

Isabella Tree: ‘One day we won’t need nature reserves’ The conservationist and her husband Charlie Burrell developed Knepp Castle Estate, one of the world’s most daring and controversial rewilding projects. Over Lunch with the FT, Tree weighed in on bringing back biodiversity, the problem with veganism — and why cloning mammoths is a bad idea.

Work and careers

The uneven state of vaccinations, plus wildly divergent views about what safe behaviour looks like, has divided us into an awkward mix of shakers, bumpers and fist knockers, writes Pilita Clark.

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