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Biden says he never intended to exclude France in climate policies

President Biden on Thursday said he never intended to exclude France and other European allies from the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, following France’s grievances that subsidies could hurt European companies.

“There’s tweaks that we can make that fundamentally make it easier for European countries to participate,” Biden said in a press conference alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at the White House. “Never intended to exclude folks who were cooperating with us.”

Biden said the intention of the climate provisions in the sweeping climate and tax bill was to avoid a situation where the U.S. is relying on countries like China, but not to exclude allies. He said that the bill includes an exception for countries that the U.S. has a free trade agreement with, which he clarified means all allies.

France and other European Union countries have argued that the electric vehicle credits in the bill could deal a blow to Europe because they protect and support only U.S. manufacturing, especially at a time of high energy prices from the war in Ukraine. The subsidies aim to incentivize American-made tech and products.

“There’s obviously going to be glitches in it and needs to reconcile changes,” Biden said on the bill, which is one of the president’s top legislative accomplishments. 

Biden added that “the United States makes no apologies, and I make no apologies,” about the legislation.

Macron said he heard from Biden, in their meeting before the press conference, and from lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday that the intention of the bill was not to leave out parts of Europe.

“We’ve had some very frank discussions. And I believe accordingly that in the coming days the discussions we’ll be having with the European Commission, our German partners and others, will enable us to very much clarify all of this without any difficulty,” the French president said.

He added that the conversations he’s had in Washington clarified the goal of the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We’re not here simply to ask for proof of love. We came to agree on a strategy and agree on what was necessary to clarify, and we did,” he said.

On Wednesday, Macron told lawmakers the Inflation Reduction Act is “super aggressive” in its protectionist climate policies. He also reportedly said he just wanted “to be respected as a good friend,” and said the subsidies may “perhaps fix your issue but you will increase my problem,” warning it would eliminate jobs in Europe.

Source: The Hill

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