US Democratic Senator Chris Coons talks about the state visit to Washington of French President Emmanuel Macron – Copyright AFP ISAAC LAWRENCE
French leader Emmanuel Macron is hoping his US state visit can produce meaningful concessions for European industry as it smarts from massive US green subsidies — but the chances of a major win look slim, according to a Joe Biden ally Chris Coons.
Coons, a Democratic senator for Delaware and leader of the Congressional French Caucus, talked to AFP about the French president’s visit and goals.
Q: President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act offers generous support to US industry, such as subsidies for US-made electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy projects, as part of a push to address climate change. Can Macron obtain exemptions for European industries to share in the huge US market, including EU-made electric cars?
A: “I think this is an important but difficult conversation. We passed in the Inflation Reduction Act the single largest investment in a clean energy transition in the history of the United States, and some would argue the largest investment by any country.”
However, Coons explained, the bill was only barely approved by Congress, and the provision on the manufacturing of electric vehicles in North America was “very important” to Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote was crucial in passing it.
Q: “Still, can France make any inroads on this?”
A: “It will be a delicate negotiation; my state benefits immensely from French investments.” Both aircraft manufacturer Dassault Falcon and industrial gas producer Air Liquide are in Delaware.
“It is our hope that we will find a path forward where we will increase technology transfer and foreign direct investment by the United States and American companies in France and by French companies in the United States.”
“I’m expecting that this conversation about IRA and subsidies for electric vehicles will be on the agenda for the conversation between our two presidents.”
Q: “The war in Ukraine will also be discussed by Macron and Biden. Is the United States pushing for a negotiated end?”
A: “No. I think it was important that President Zelensky recently indicated of course he is open to negotiating. He laid out the terms, which were the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and security guarantees, that strike me as reasonable. ”
“If we were to pressure Zelensky into surrendering territory, I don’t see how that would either deter (President Vladimir) Putin, make Ukraine more safe or produce a stable outcome.”