Yellen optimistic EU tax deal holdouts will sign up

The US Treasury secretary expressed optimism that EU holdouts from the global tax agreement will get on board, after she held meetings with European finance ministers in Brussels.

Janet Yellen said that her sense was that the EU countries that have refused thus far to sign up to the deal struck this month “want to find a way to get to yes”. Ireland, Hungary and Estonia are among the eight countries around the world that declined to sign up when the OECD hammered out the accord.

“My message is that this is an agreement that is historic and very much in the interests of all countries, and it is important that everyone try to get on board,” she said in a roundtable with journalists, pointing out that there are now several months to address countries’ individual concerns.

“There remain details to be worked out,” she added.

Yellen welcomed the EU’s decision to delay its proposed digital levy until the autumn, rather than proposing it next week as was previously planned. The delay, she said, will allow extra time to determine the measures permitted under the agreement and those that are not.

“This is a delicate time in the US negotiations and it avoids throwing something into the negotiations that would be unclear and could complicate our progress,” the Treasury secretary said.

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