In the economic policy dispute between the USA and France, US President Joe Biden made a tough announcement to his French colleague Emmanuel Macron, but at the same time extended his hand.
"The United States does not apologize," Biden said at a joint press conference at the White House. He himself will not apologize for the anti-inflation law, which Macron has heavily criticized. But there are minor things in the legislation that could be discussed and resolved. Beyond this point of contention, the two presidents were very narrow.
Macron has been on a state visit to the United States since Wednesday. In contrast to regular work visits, the effort involved in logging is much higher. The Frenchman is the first foreign guest in Biden's tenure to receive this honor in almost two years. However, the visit comes at a time of tension in transatlantic trade relations. Macron has sharply criticized US economic decisions - especially the anti-inflation law, which Biden sees as one of the greatest successes of his term so far.
Anti-inflation bill worries Macron
The legislative package is intended to boost US industry and favor it over foreign competitors. Subsidies and tax credits are linked to companies using US products or producing them themselves in the US. At the start of his visit, Macron warned that the differences would be so great that many companies would no longer invest in Europe. "The decisions made (...) are decisions that will fragment the West."
At the joint press conference, Biden defended the general line of the law. It's about the US not wanting to rely on supply chains elsewhere. Europe has the same goal and can do the same. There are details that could be optimized. There is no intention to exclude other countries. "The intention was to make sure we didn't end up in a situation where a pandemic breaks out in Asia and China decides to stop selling us computer chips."
Macron: "We want success together, not against each other"
Macron expressed hope for a common solution. "Basically, we share the same vision and the same will. We want to be successful together, not against each other." It is about a common strategy to create more industrial jobs - both in the US and in Europe - and to ensure the strength and resilience of supply chains.
On other issues, the two presidents emphasized their unity, also with regard to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. "Today we, France and the United States, along with all our allies - our NATO allies and the G7 countries, the European Union - reaffirm that we stand as strongly as ever against Russia's brutal war against Ukraine," said Biden. The US and France would continue to work together to hold Russia accountable.
Biden generally emphasized that the USA and France are particularly close partners and share the same values. "We occasionally have minor differences of opinion, but never of a fundamental nature." The US President received Macron with military honors at the White House on Thursday. A festive state banquet was scheduled for the evening. Following the program in Washington, the French President wants to travel to New Orleans on Friday.