Macron blasts Biden subsidies at start of US state visit
WASHINGTON, Dec 1: France's President Emmanuel Macron fired a volley at his American hosts on the first day of a rare state visit to Washington, telling lawmakers Wednesday that US industrial subsidies are "super aggressive" against French competitors.
"This is super aggressive for our business people," an AFP reporter heard Macron tell members of Congress and business leaders, who had invited him to lunch ahead of the main part of the state visit on Thursday, when the French leader will spend most of the day with President Joe Biden.
Macron was referring to Biden's signature policy called the Inflation Reduction Act, which is set to pour billions of dollars into environmentally friendly industries -- with strong backing for US-based manufacturers.
The White House touts the IRA legislation as a groundbreaking effort to reignite US manufacturing and promote renewable technologies, but European Union governments are crying foul, threatening to launch a trade war by subsidizing their own green economy sector.
Macron's blunt assessment, saying he just wanted "to be respected as a good friend," tore some of the veneer off a carefully choreographed state visit intended to celebrate historic US-French ties -- and also tackle the trickier parts of the US-EU transatlantic alliance. -AFP