On visit to Washington, French president says new US law causing trade tensions and ‘absence of a level playing field’.
Published On 1 Dec 2022
US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have pledged to continue working on shared commitments – namely supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion – as the two leaders hold talks in Washington.
“France and the United States are once again defending the democratic values and universal human rights, which are the heart of both our nations,” Biden said on Thursday during an official ceremony outside the White House.
Macron was equally emphatic in describing the strength of the US-France relationship, invoking the historic moments that brought the two nations together, including the US intervention in World War II to free France from Nazi Germany.
“Our two nations are sisters in the fight for freedom,” the French president said, before referencing the war in Ukraine.
“We bear a duty to this shared history as war returns to European soil following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. And in light of the multiple crises our nations and our societies face, we need to become brothers in arms once more,” Macron added.
Biden is set to honour Macron with the first state dinner of his presidency later on Thursday.
First, the two leaders will hold talks in the Oval Office that officials from both nations said were expected to largely centre on efforts to stay united in response to the war in Ukraine and to pursue a coordinated approach to China.
But before Thursday’s meeting, Macron said he and other European leaders remained deeply concerned about Biden’s signature climate law, which favours American-made technology, including electric vehicles.
The French president criticised the legislation, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, saying the US incentives were hurting European companies by providing an unfair advantage to their American competitors.
Macron said that while Washington and Paris were “working closely together” on geopolitics and opposing Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, provisions of the act and other US laws that affect international trade were not coordinated with Europe.
“They create just the absence of a level playing field,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America earlier on Thursday.
Macron had stressed a similar message in a speech at the French embassy on Wednesday, saying “the choices that have been made … are choices that will fragment the West”.
Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck also said on Wednesday that Europe opposes the US subsidies.
“I believe that this view is largely shared by those countries that are committed to a multilateral trading order,” Habeck told reporters in Berlin. “The Americans know that we see it that way and the European Commission will have told them this, too.”
Macron’s visit to Washington came a year after the US, the United Kingdom and Australia irked France by signing an agreement that will see Washington and London provide nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra.
The trilateral pact, known as AUKUS, saw Australia scrap a deal for conventional French submarines.
Al Jazeera and news agencies