Expedia CEO: Digital services taxes in Europe would end up costing our customers

Key Points
  • Expedia's chief executive officer warns against European countries taxing tech services.
  • France passes a 3% tax on big tech companies' digital revenues in July, defying the Trump administration. The UK is planning a similar tax.
  • CEO Mark Okerstrom says the taxes could hurt the company's third-quarter reports.
Visitors browse at the display of Expedia during the International Tourism Trade Fair in Berlin.
Fabrizio Bensch | Retuers

Expedia's chief executive officer warned against European countries taxing big tech companies' digital services, telling CNBC that it would just end up costing consumers.

"These digital services taxes are something that should be a concern," CEO Mark Okerstrom said Friday in a "Squawk on the Street" interview. "The second that you start taxing these platforms and start putting friction in the system, ultimately the concern is that it ends up landing right in the hands of consumers."

Earlier in the month, France passed a 3% tax on Big Tech's digital revenues, and the U.K. is proposing its own 2% digital services tax.

It's a move that targets roughly 30 major online platforms, such as Alphabet's Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. In France, the tax affects companies bringing in at least $844 million annually.

The White House has come out against the tax, with President Donald Trump announcing July 10 that he ordered an investigation into the planned tax. U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer later said in a statement the tax "unfairly targets American companies."

Okerstrom said Friday the tax could impact its third-quarter earnings report.

He said digital platforms have benefited consumers by lowering costs and increasing price transparency.

"At the end of the day, the big digital platforms, the Amazons, the Googles of the world ... these have really put a lot of economic power in the hands of consumers," Okerstrom said.

Expedia operates a portfolio hosting online travel sites and services, including, Orbitz, Travelocity, and trivago.