US Democratic Senator Chris Coons speaks on French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington – Copyright AFP ISAAC LAWRENCE
French leader Emmanuel Macron hopes his state visit to the US could produce significant concessions for European industry as it benefits from massive US green subsidies, but the chances of a big win appear scarce, according to a Joe Biden ally, Chris Coons.
Coons, a Democratic senator from Delaware and leader of the French Congressional Caucus, spoke to AFP about the visit and the goals of the French president.
Q: President Biden’s Cut Inflation Act provides generous support to US industry, such as subsidies for American-made electric vehicles, batteries and renewable energy projects, as part of a push to address climate change. Can Macron get exemptions for European industries to participate in the huge US market, including EU-made electric cars?
A: “I think this is an important but difficult conversation. We passed the largest single investment in a clean energy transition in American history in the Cut Inflation Act, and some would say the largest investment by any country.”
However, Coons explained, the bill barely passed Congress, and the provision on electric vehicle manufacturing in North America was “very important” to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, whose vote was crucial to passing it.
Q: “Still, can France make any headway on this?”
A: “It will be a delicate negotiation; my state benefits immensely from French investments.” Both aircraft maker Dassault Falcon and industrial gas producer Air Liquide are in Delaware.
“We hope to find a way forward where we increase technology transfer and foreign direct investment from the United States and American companies in France and from French companies in the United States.”
“I hope this conversation about IRAs and electric vehicle subsidies is on the agenda of 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 indicated recently that, of course, he is open to negotiations. He laid out the terms, which were the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty and security guarantees, which seem reasonable to me. ”
“If we were to pressure Zelensky to surrender territory, I don’t see how that would deter (President Vladimir) Putin, make Ukraine more secure, or produce a stable result.”