The Biden administration is calling for the world’s biggest multinational companies to pay levies to national governments based on their sales in each country, as part of an ambitious proposal for a global minimum tax.

The plan would apply to the global profits of the very largest companies, including big US technology groups, regardless of their physical presence in a given country.

The US Treasury laid out its proposal in documents obtained by the Financial Times, which had been sent to the 135 countries negotiating international taxation at the OECD in Paris.

The plan faces an uphill battle through the US Congress. But an agreement at the OECD would allow Joe Biden, US president, to increase corporate taxes on US companies without being undercut by other countries because it would include a global minimum tax rate.

The FT’s Chris Giles breaks down the details of how the plan would work in practice.

Coronavirus digest

  • Singapore’s finance minister and deputy prime minister has stepped down on the premise that a younger successor should help to move the city state beyond Covid-19.

  • Australia is to avoid further use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for under-50s, and the Philippines’ drug regulator suspended the use of the jab for people aged under 60 over links with rare cases of blood clots.

  • Florida’s governor said his state will sue the federal government and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to allow cruise ships to resume.

  • Chile’s impressive vaccine programme has failed to spare it from a recent surge in coronavirus cases where more infectious variants, a relaxation of social distancing and increased mobility have contributed to an increase in cases. (FT)

Chart showing that Chile’s vaccination rollout has been fast, but it started late ,giving the outbreak time to take hold

Mixed messages from India’s prime minister and health authorities left the public playing down the risk of the virus, writes Amy Kazmin. Follow our live blog for the latest Covid-19 news.

In the news

US adds Chinese supercomputing companies to export blacklist Three companies and four branches of China’s National Supercomputing Center were added to the US commerce department’s “entity list”, which bars US businesses from exporting technology to the groups without a licence. It is the first such move by the Biden administration to make it harder for the Asian country to obtain US technology. (FT)

Amazon union vote counting begins The vote tally began on Thursday afternoon to determine whether ecommerce group’s warehouse workers in Alabama will unionise. Results will be announced at the conclusion of the public count, if the margin of victory for one side is greater than the number of contested ballots. (NYT)

South Korea by-elections cast doubt on outreach to Pyongyang Voters in the capital Seoul and the southern port of Busan handed comfortable victories on Wednesday to candidates from the opposition conservative People Power party, dealing a blow to Moon Jae-in’s progressive Democratic party ahead of presidential elections next year. (FT)

South Korean president Moon Jae-in enters a polling booth © AP
South Korean president Moon Jae-in enters a polling booth to cast his ballot for the Seoul mayoral by-election © AP

Biden tightens gun control measures President Joe Biden on Thursday announced six executive actions aimed at curbing US gun violence. The orders will tighten regulations on homemade guns and step up gun-violence prevention resources, but they fall short of the wider gun-control agenda he laid out during his campaign. (AP)

ShareChat valued at $2bn after India’s TikTok ban The Indian social media company has raised more than half a billion dollars to grow its popular short-video app Moj, just months after New Delhi banned the ByteDance-owned rival from the country. (FT)

US lawmakers query banks on Archegos The chair of the US Senate banking committee has written to four major banks, including Credit Suisse and Nomura, seeking answers about the implosion of Archegos Capital, in a sign that lawmakers in Washington are ramping up scrutiny of family offices and their lenders. (FT)

EU-Turkey in blame game over ‘sofagate’ Turkey and Europe are trading blame over who left Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission chief, on her feet, in a spat over protocol that has prompted charges of sexism and overshadowed a critical meeting. (FT)

Ursula von der Leyen stands as Charles Michel, centre, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan take seats © via REUTERS
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stands as European Council president Charles Michel, centre, and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan take seats in Ankara © via REUTERS

US seeks to restore aid to Palestinians The Biden administration plans to restart aid to the Palestinians, rolling back a 2018 Trump suspension in a move set to trigger new tensions with Israel, a close US ally. The state department on Wednesday said it was seeking to “restart US economic, development and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people”. (FT)

The days ahead

England travel ban list expands From Friday travellers from the Philippines, Pakistan, Kenya and Bangladesh will be added to England’s “red list” over concerns of new Covid-19 variants. (ABC News)

What else we’re reading

Blockchain is going to change equities trading for good The technology allows for faster and safer settlement than the current monopolistic clearing houses, writes Gillian Tett. You can think of it as a financial version of moving from the snail mail of post to zippy emails. (FT)

War in Tigray threatens to end Abiy’s dream of unity November’s invasion of Tigray by government forces has horrified an international community that in 2019 celebrated Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as a peacemaker worthy of the Nobel Prize. The Financial Times gained rare access to the region and spoke to civilians who witnessed the killing and maiming of civilians. (FT)

Map of Ethiopia

Invest now to repair ‘huge’ learning loss, educators urge Unesco estimates almost 1bn learners are still studying remotely, with a “digital divide” further discriminating between richer and poorer students within and between nations. This is the latest article in our Investing in Education special report. (FT)

FT business books: April edition From resetting ideas around how we work to productive disagreement — our journalists review this month’s top titles. And you can catch up on this year’s earlier editions here and here. (FT)

Pictures of the front covers of business books

On-set nurseries aim to transform film industry Actress Charlotte Riley, the Peaky Blinders star, has kickstarted a campaign to help parents in long-hours workplaces. Working on set, it was clear how colleagues struggled to balance family life. “Big burly cameramen,” she says, “getting all misty eyed about the idea of being able to bring their children to work.” (FT)

European summer is coming to America To many workaholic Americans, the fact that in France, up to half of the country’s salaried employees take at least a full week off from work in August, is wild. That stands to change this summer when majority of the US will be vaccinated and could be looking to cash in on those vacation days. (Atlantic)

Video of the day

Are the US and China entering a Cold War? Over the past few years Beijing’s growing economic and political clout on the world stage has fuelled its growing military ambitions. In the latest episode of the Rachman Review podcast, the FT’s US-China correspondent Demetri Sevastopulo talks to Michèle Flournoy from the Center for a New American Security think-tank about how the Biden administration might handle the Asian country. (FT)

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