France to study how U.S. Extra-territorial legislation impacts the sovereignty of France

This is interesting and very welcome news. France is taking the lead to study and consider the effects of U.S. extra-territorial legislation on France, French businesses, and French citizens. The Commission is being led by Pierre Lellouche (Republicans, Paris) and Karine Berger rapporteur (Socialist, Republican and citizen, Hautes-Alpes). This appears to be a very broad study which includes, but is not limited to: FATCA, the U.S. taxation of French citizens and the “accidental Americans“.

For commentary see the post at Keith Redmond’s American Expatriates Facebook group. The post includes:

BIG NEWS!!!!! FRANCE ESTABLISHES A COMMISSION TO EXAMINE THE US EXTRATERRITORIAL OVERREACH BY THE US GOVERNMENT ON ITS CITIZENS IN FRANCE

“(Inaugural meeting dated Wednesday 2 March 2016)

The commissions for foreign affairs and finances of the French Parliament (Assemblee Nationale) decided to form a joint fact finding mission regarding the extraterritoriality of certain US laws, which held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday 2 March 2016. The president of the mission is Mr Pierre Lelouche (Republican Party, Paris) and his rapporteur is Ms Karine Berger (Socialist Party, Hautes-Alpes).

Several recent events have highlighted the propensity of the US courts and the US administration to purport to impose sanctions against foreign corporations and foreign individuals in respect of events occurring outside of US territory: these range from the record penalty one of France’s largest banks agreed to pay to the US administration (for a failure to comply with a US imposed embargo) to the acquisition of Alstom by General Electric against a backdrop of anti-corruption claims brought by the US authorities against senior managers of Alstom and including the US IRS pursuing French citizens living in France but born on US soil and therefore “Accidental Americans” for US income taxes.

Based on the feedback of a wide array of experts, the fact finding mission will attempt to define the contours of US extraterritoriality, exhaustively identify all cases of extraterritorial application of US laws, assess their impact and in particular their impact on fair competition and the economic losses suffered by French companies as a result, and to study ways in which to counter such practices both at a national and European level.

The mission hopes that its findings will lead to concrete implementation measures. The longstanding and deep ties that exist between France and the US in no way justify that the US should seek to assert legal imperium outside of its borders.rger rapporteur (Socialist, Republican and citizen, Hautes-Alpes).”

That said the announcement from the French legislature reads:

Réunion constitutive du mercredi 2 mars 2016
Contenu de l’article

Les commissions des affaires étrangères et des finances de l’Assemblée nationale ont décidé de constituer une mission d’information commune sur l’extraterritorialité de certaines lois des États-Unis, qui a tenu sa réunion constitutive mercredi 2 mars 2016. Le président de la mission est M. Pierre Lellouche (Les Républicains, Paris) et sa rapporteure Mme Karine Berger (Socialiste, républicain et citoyen, Hautes-Alpes).

Plusieurs événements récents ont mis en lumière la tendance des juridictions et administrations américaines à prétendre sanctionner des personnes physiques ou morales étrangères pour des faits survenus hors du territoire américain : cela va de l’amende record payée volontairement par une de nos grandes banques à l’administration américaine (pour ne pas avoir respecté l’un de ses embargos) aux conditions du rachat d’Alstom par General Electric sur fond de poursuites américaines pour corruption internationale contre des cadres d’Alstom, en passant par les réclamations du fisc américain contre des Français vivant en France mais nés aux États-Unis et donc « Américains accidentels », susceptibles à ce titre d’être assujettis à l’impôt américain.

En s’appuyant sur l’audition de personnalités issues des horizons les plus divers, la mission d’information compte préciser la notion d’« extraterritorialité », s’efforcer de recenser exhaustivement les cas d’application extraterritoriale de lois américaines, en analyser les conséquences, notamment les distorsions de concurrence et les dommages économiques à nos entreprises qui en résultent, mais aussi étudier les moyens de contrer ce type de pratiques au niveau national et européen.

Elle espère que ces travaux permettront de déboucher sur des recommandations concrètes d’action. L’ancienneté et la profondeur de l’amitié franco-américaine ne sauraient justifier que les États-Unis prétendent exercer un imperium juridique bien au-delà de leurs frontières.

Commission des affaires étrangères
Commission des finances

Contact presse :
François‑Xavier Carabelli – 01 40 63 64 57

The Google Translate version reads:

Constitutive meeting of Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Article Content

The Foreign Affairs and Finance of the National Assembly decided to establish a joint information mission extraterritoriality of certain US laws, which held its constituent meeting Wednesday, March 2, 2016. The President of the mission is Pierre Lellouche (Republicans, Paris) and Karine Berger rapporteur (Socialist, Republican and citizen, Hautes-Alpes).

Several recent events have highlighted the tendency of US courts and administrations to pretend punish foreign individuals or legal persons for acts outside the US: it will record the fine paid voluntarily by one of our big banks to US administration (for not having complied with one of its embargoes) the conditions of the Alstom acquisition by General Electric amid US prosecution for international corruption against executives of Alstom, through the IRS claims against the french living in France but born in the United States and therefore “accidental Americans,” as such likely to be subject to US tax.

Based on the hearing of personalities from all walks of life, the mission account information clarifying the concept of “extraterritoriality”, endeavor to identify exhaustively cases of extraterritorial application of US laws, analyze the consequences, including the distortion of competition and the economic damage to our businesses that result, but also study ways of countering such practices at national and European level.

She hoped that this work will lead to concrete recommendations for action. The length and depth of Franco-American friendship can not justify the United States claim to exercise a legal imperium well beyond their borders.

Foreign Affairs Committee
Finance Committee

Press contact:
François-Xavier Carabelli – 01 40 63 64 57