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Ebay CEO Confronts Australian Government Over Digital GST


Reports say eBay’s global CEO Devin Wenig has met with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and a number of key cabinet ministers in order to make a case against the government’s efforts to apply the goods and services tax on online retailers.

Mr Wenig said he met Mr Turnbull last week to argue against trade restrictions that could affect the 30,000 small Australian businesses who using eBay’s e-commerce platform.

“We expressed some concerns about proposals in Australia that might inhibit innovation … I think we got a very constructive audience on those issues, so we are going to work together on those going forward,” Mr Wenig told The Australian Financial Review.

He cited the importance of free trade, “There is a rising nationalistic protectionism around the world, but our values are about free trade and we will fight that.”

Plans to extend the GST to online goods were confirmed in the 2015 budget, with draft legislation expected to be introduced into Parliament in early 2017.

If enacted, it will extend the 10% levy to all online imports from July 2017 onwards alongside the “Netflix tax”, which imposes the GST on digital goods sold by online distributors.

In its current form, the GST doesn’t apply to imports less than $1000.