U.S. Inflation Reduction Act ‘super aggressive,’ Macron tells lawmakers
WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron addressed US lawmakers from both political parties on Wednesday, pushing back new American subsidies that are angering European leaders, according to an attendee at a closed-door meeting.
Macron arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since taking office in 2017, before which French officials said he would confront President Joe Biden over subsidies included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
At a meeting with US lawmakers at the Library of Congress, Macron said the law was “super aggressive” towards European companies, an attendee told Reuters. The participant requested anonymity to discuss a private portion of the meeting.
Macron’s office declined to confirm the comment, which was first reported by Agence France-Presse.
European leaders have complained about the legislative package signed by Biden in August that would provide massive subsidies for US-made products, which they say unfairly disadvantage non-US companies and would be a major blow to their economies, as Europe copes with the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the legislation “offers significant opportunities for European companies as well as benefits for the EU’s energy security” when asked about European concerns.
The IRA has provisions that will contribute to the growth of the clean energy sector worldwide, she added.
In opening remarks in the Library of Congress with reporters present, Macron said France and the United States should join forces to reform the International Monetary Fund and World Bank so their resources can flow to countries affected by climate change.
After Republicans won the House of Representatives in this month’s midterm elections, Macron’s efforts to reach both parties were a recognition that he must look beyond Biden, a Democrat, to advance cooperation with Washington, French officials say.
Macron is the first foreign leader to receive a state dinner at the Biden White House, a sign of his importance to Washington despite some differences with the Biden administration. Thursday’s formal dinner will feature music by Jon Batiste, Napa Valley chardonnay and cheddar cheese from a family-run dairy in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, according to First Lady Jill Biden’s office.
“Rogue States” in Outer Space
Earlier, Macron visited NASA headquarters with Vice President Kamala Harris and said US-French cooperation is important to counter the risk of conflict in space. The two announced a new US-French collaboration in space a year ago at a meeting in Paris.
Macron said that space represents “a new site of conflict” and that it is important for France and the United States to work together to set rules and norms because of their commitment to both science and democratic values.
“We also have mad players in space, and we have rogue states there, and we have new hybrid attacks,” Macron said in English.
France joined the United States and several other nations in ruling out destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile tests after Russia last year struck one of its own satellites in orbit, causing debris and scorning the United States and its allies.
The United States, which last demonstrated such a missile in 2008, first announced its ban on testing in April.
Macron’s visit came as NATO ministers met in Bucharest and pledged more aid to Ukraine to help against Russia’s winter attacks on energy infrastructure.
The alliance, of which the United States and France are founding members, is also discussing how to address challenges posed by China’s military buildup and its cooperation with Russia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Macron has said in the past that China should not be a focus of NATO.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing that China will be high on the agenda during Macron’s visit “because of the global influence that China is trying to project and demonstrate and because of the… Security challenges that China continues to pose, particularly in China’s Indo-Pacific region.”
Reporting by Michel Rose; Additional reporting by Joey Roulette and Michael Martina; writing by Simon Lewis; Edited by Will Dunham and Sandra Painter
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