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Mr Javid said the digital services tax will only be a temporary measure until an worldwide agreement is in place on how to deal with online giants such as Google and Facebook.

France, Australia, Austria and Poland have already introduced their own equivalent to the proposed digital services tax on a unilateral basis. "It is a proportionate tax, and it is a tax that is deliberately designed as a temporary tax".

Javid's comments drew the ire of Mnuchin, who hit out at the proposals, branding them "discriminatory" against U.S. companies.

U.S. treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Donald Trump will personally heap pressure on Boris Johnson to drop the proposed levy as Sajid Javid insisted it will go ahead.

The timing of the spat with the U.S. is hard, however, as talks are set to begin between London and Washington next week over a post-Brexit trade deal.

France, which considered a similar tax, agreed this week to suspend payments for this year's digital tax after Washington threatened retaliation with tariffs on French wine.

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'If people want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we will consider arbitrarily putting taxes on auto companies, ' he warned. "I'm sure the President and Boris will talk about it too".

Euro traders are also becoming increasingly jittery over US-China trade relations, which are under strain following the "phase one" trade agreement. "And it can be done for both goods where we want to see zero tariffs and zero quotas, and also services". Those talks are expected to begin soon.

The comments from Mr Javid and Mr Mnuchin came during a panel discussion at the annual gathering of business and government representatives in Switzerland.

UK Chancellor Sajid Javid has told the Davos meeting he will not back down over the introduction of a new sales tax on large U.S. tech firms.

The US has a trade deficit of well over $100 billion with the EU, and the Trump administration has repeatedly threatened to put heavy taxes on European imports unless measures were taken to redress this imbalance.

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Seemingly trying to ease the tension, Mnuchin added that talks over the issue would be done in private, not on live television, and the key discussion is likely to be between U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"They're a big incentive for China to continue to negotiate", he said.

The proposals will see digital firms hit with a 2% levy on revenues made from United Kingdom consumers, but the Chancellor said the plans had been created to "fall away" once an worldwide agreement had been brokered.

"Trade truce is not the same as trade peace", said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. "To me it's about free, fair and balanced trade".

Industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) called for the United Kingdom and USA "to explore all options that avoid restrictive measures" in order to avoid a tit-for-tat trade war developing.

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