Biden says climate law has ‘glitches’ after Macron criticism

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday acknowledged “flaws” in America’s clean energy law that have raised concerns in Europe, but said “there are changes we can make” to satisfy allies.

Biden, who was honoring French President Emmanuel Macron with the first state dinner of his presidency on Thursday night, said at a joint press conference that he had talked “a good deal” with the French president about European concerns over his signature climate change law. Oval Office meeting.

“The U.S. is not going to apologize. I’m not going to apologize because I wrote it for the law that we’re talking about,” Biden said, but acknowledged that changes may need to be made to the massive legislative package he signed into law in August.

Macron has made clear that he and other European leaders are concerned about incentives in the new law, the so-called Deflationary Act, that support American-made climate technologies, including electric cars.

Macron said the Biden administration’s efforts to curb climate change were to be applauded, but subsidies would be a major obstacle for European companies.

“We want to succeed together, not against each other,” Macron added

He said the US and France would “re-synchronize” their efforts on clean energy to avoid a “domino effect” that would derail clean energy projects in Europe.

The comments came after Biden and Macron sat down for talks during the main part of their French state visit on Thursday.

The two leaders also spent much of their time discussing the war in Ukraine and concerns about Chinese activity in the Indo-Pacific region.

In the nine-month-old war in Ukraine, Biden and Macron are facing off as they try to keep the US and Europe united to keep economic and military aid flowing to Kiev, while trying to fend off Russian forces.

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“Today and the years ahead will determine the direction of our world,” Biden said at the ceremony.

Leaders met to talk to aides, and hundreds of people gathered on the South Lawn on a sunny, chilly morning for a ceremony that included a 21-gun salute and a troop review. Ushers distributed small French and American flags to guests gathered to watch the start of Biden and Macron’s state visit.

At the ceremony, both leaders paid tribute to their countries’ long-standing alliance. But they acknowledged that tough times lie ahead as Western unity marks nine months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Republicans are set to take control of the House of Representatives in Washington, where GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said his party’s lawmakers will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine. Across the Atlantic, Macron’s efforts to hold Europe together will be tested by the rising costs of supporting Ukraine in the war, and Europe will grapple with rising energy prices that threaten its post-pandemic economic recovery.

At the arrival ceremony, Macron emphasized the need for the United States and France to maintain unity in the war-torn West.

“Our two nations are brothers in the fight for freedom,” Macron said. He later added: “The danger in Ukraine is not too far from here, in a small country somewhere in Europe. But it’s about our values. And about our principles.”

Despite all the talk of maintaining unity, disagreements over trade overshadowed the trip.

He criticized the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act”. during a lunch with US lawmakers on Wednesday and again in a speech at the French embassy. Macron said the Biden administration’s efforts to curb climate change were to be applauded, but subsidies would be a major obstacle for European companies.

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“The choices that have been made…choices that will tear the West apart,” Macron said. According to him, the law “makes such a difference between the United States and Europe that everyone who works in many companies (in the United States) thinks: ‘We are not going to invest in the other side anymore.’ The Atlantic.’”

He also said that major industrialized countries should do more to combat climate change and promote biodiversity.

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​on Thursday, Macron said the US and France were working well on the war in Ukraine and general geopolitics, but not on “some economic issues”. He said the US climate bill and semiconductor legislation were not properly coordinated with Europe and created a “lack of level playing field”.

The outspoken comments were echoed last year after Biden announced a deal to sell nuclear submarines to Australia, scrapping a deal with France to sell diesel-powered submarines. The relationship has been on the mend since Biden acknowledged the botched implementation of the submarine deal and Macron has emerged as one of Biden’s strongest European allies in the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As for the Inflation Reduction Act, the European Union also expressed concern that tax credits, including those aimed at encouraging Americans to buy electric cars, would discriminate against European manufacturers and violate World Trade Organization rules.

Biden administration officials have argued that the legislation would go a long way toward helping the U.S. meet global goals to curb climate change.

Macron also referred to the US and China as “two big elephants” posing “a big problem for the rest of the jungle” in a speech at a summit in Bangkok earlier this month. His visit to Washington also comes at a time when the US and France are keeping an eye on China after the protests began In several mainland cities and Hong Kong last weekend, Beijing’s “zero COVID” strategy.

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The honor of this state visit will provide diplomatic support for Macron so he can return to Europe. His outspoken comments help him show that despite his close relationship with Biden, he is protecting French workers. The move will help Macron boost his image as the EU’s most visible and vocal leader, at a time when European economies are worried about being weakened by the war in Ukraine and the resulting energy and inflation crises.

To that end, Biden praised Macron as “more than just the leader of France” and “very outspoken and very commanding in Europe.”

Macron and his wife, Brigitte, arrived in the US with carefully prepared gifts for their American hosts, including a vinyl and CD containing the original soundtrack to the film “Un Homme et une Femme,” which the Bidens first went to see in 1966. date, according to the palace.

Among the gifts Biden and first lady Jill Biden gave the Macrons was a mirror framed by fallen wood from the White House grounds and made by an American furniture maker.

Harris will host Macron at a glitzy gala at the State Department in a large canopied pavilion on the South Lawn of the White House, before an evening state dinner for about 350 guests.

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Corbett reported from Paris. Associated Press writers Frank Jordans and Chris Megerian in Berlin, Matthew Daly and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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