Clete Willems Speaks with CNBC on G-7 Tax Reform Plan

Clete Willems, a partner in Akin Gump’s public law and policy practice, appeared on CNBC’s Street Signs program discussing an agreement on global tax reform by the G-7, which addressed a dispute between the United States and Europe over how to tax big technology companies.

Willems said he was impressed with “the allocation of taxing rights, which has been a really thorny issue for the United States.” The agreement, he said, calls for applying the same set of rules “to large companies regardless of whether they’re in the digital sector or other sectors. And they’re also going to look for ways to phase out digital services taxes as part of that.” Willems observed that this was something the United States “hadn’t been able to achieve in the past.”

For tech companies, Willems said certainty is an important part of the agreement. Equally so, he noted, is that “they don’t want to be singled out. We are living in a global economy, where a lot of different companies, whether they’re digital or in other sectors, are actually making a lot of profits outside their home jurisdiction. It just doesn’t seem to make sense and only say these new rules are only going to apply to digital and they’re not going to apply to everyone else.”

Willems added that tech companies “just want to be treated fairly” and he thinks “this does seem to be a step in that direction.”