Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron

Biden and Macron show progress in the dispute over electric vehicle subsidies

On Thursday, Joe Biden, the US President, and Emmanuel Macron, the French President signaled that they were moving forward in a lingering impasse about the billions in subsidies for electric vehicles included in the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act (which was passed this summer), which covers health care and tax.

Macron repeatedly criticized the fact that the measure applies only to electric vehicles made in North America and called it protectionist. Although the administration of Biden has set up a working committee with the European Union to address this issue, the text of the IRA restricts the administration’s ability.

After Thursday’s Oval Office meeting, both leaders felt a renewed energy to resolve the remaining issues.

In a news conference, Macron and Biden praised the work group and stated that they agreed to “resynchronize their approaches”.

The French leader stated that they had also discussed the IRA and recent American legislation. “Like President Biden, we just agreed to resynchronize and resynchronize both our approaches and our agendas to invest in critical emerging sectors,” he said.

He said, “We share the same vision and the same willingness. President Biden wants to create more jobs in the industrial sector overtime for his country. He also wants to ensure that you have enough supplies. This is exactly our approach. We have given our teams the task of continuing this work in close collaboration (and) coordination to seek solutions.

Biden said that the leaders discussed the Inflation Reduction Act in detail. He also stated that they had agreed to discuss practical steps to align and coordinate their approaches to strengthen supply chain manufacturing and innovation across the Atlantic.

The US president said that the US made “no apologies for” the Inflation Reduction Act, but that there were “some glitches” that could have to be fixed and that some changes may be required to the law.

Macron’s position on the issue highlights a key dynamic in the Biden-Macron relationship: Despite the closeness and overarching agreement regarding top global issues, Macron has not been shy to carve out his own space on the global stage. This includes backchannel communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin and sometimes publicly disagreeing with Biden.

While they showed unity on Thursday when it came to addressing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the two offered differing answers about their willingness and ability to talk with Putin.

Nevertheless, Biden still called France and the US the “strongest partners” and “our most capable allies” at the beginning of the news conference. He also noted that “Emmanuel has become a friend as well as the president of this great country.”

Macron opened his remarks by praising Biden for meeting campaign promises to address international challenges. He said, “We’re being able to re-engage you.”

“I cannot tell you enough how happy we were with the choices you made that closely matched your history as well as your campaign promises. It is a New Deal that you are focusing on international issues such as climate and health, the French leader stated.

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