U.S. Inflation Reduction Act ‘super aggressive,’ Macron tells lawmakers

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron addressed U.S. lawmakers from both political parties on Wednesday and rejected new U.S. subsidies that are troubling European leaders, according to a participant in 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 the subsidies included in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Biden and Macron, joined by their wives Jill and Brigitte, took an early opportunity to meet ahead of their official talks on Thursday. They rode in the US presidential motorcade a short distance from the White House to the Georgetown Historic District and dined at Fiola Mare, an Italian restaurant.

In a meeting with US lawmakers at the Library of Congress, Macron said the anti-inflation law was “super aggressive” towards European companies, one attendee told Reuters. The participant requested anonymity to discuss a private part of the session.

Macron’s office declined to confirm the response, which was first reported by Agence France-Presse.

European leaders have complained about the package of legislation, signed by Biden in August, that offers massive subsidies for U.S.-made products that they say unfairly hurts non-U.S. companies and will hit their economies hard as Europe deals with the fallout from Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.

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White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said the legislation “presents significant opportunities for European companies, as well as benefits for EU energy security,” when asked about Europe’s concerns.

The IRA has provisions that will contribute to the growth of the world’s clean energy sector, she added.

In introductory remarks at the Library of Congress with reporters present, Macron said France and the United States should join forces to reform the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank so that their money can be directed to countries affected by climate change.

After Republicans won the House of Representatives in this month’s midterm elections, Macron’s efforts to reach out to both parties were an acknowledgment that he must look beyond Biden, a Democrat, to advance cooperation with Washington, a French official said.

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 disagreements with the Biden administration. Thursday’s formal dinner will include music from John Baptiste, Napa Valley chardonnay and cheddar cheese from a family-run creamery in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, according to details provided by first lady Jill Biden’s office.

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‘Rogue states’ in space

Earlier, Macron visited NASA headquarters with Vice President Kamala Harris, and said cooperation between the US and France was important to counter the risk of conflict in space. The two announced a new collaboration between the US and France in space during a meeting in Paris a year ago.

Macron said that space represents a “new place of conflict” and that it was important for France and the US to work together on setting rules and norms because they share a commitment to science as well as democratic values.

“We have crazy actors in space as well, and we have rogue states there and we have new hybrid attacks,” Macron said, speaking in English.

France joined the United States and several other countries in ruling out destructive direct-launch tests of anti-satellite missiles after Russia shot down one of its own satellites in orbit last year, creating debris and drawing scorn from the United States and its allies.

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The United States, which last demonstrated such a missile in 2008, first announced its test ban in April.

Macron’s visit came as NATO ministers met in Bucharest and pledged more aid to Ukraine to help counter Russian attacks on energy infrastructure during the winter.

The alliance, of which the US and France are founding members, is also discussing how to deal with the challenges posed by China’s military build-up and its cooperation with Russia, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said. Macron has previously said China should not be a focal point for NATO.

The White House’s national security spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters in a briefing that China will be at the top of the agenda during Macron’s visit “because of the global influence that China is trying to transmit and demonstrate and because of the security challenges that China continues to pose, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Reporting by Michelle Rose; Additional reporting by Joey Rowlett and Michael Martina; Writing by Simon Lewis; Editing by Will Dunham and Sandra Mahler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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