The President of France, Emmanuel Macronarrived this Tuesday at Washington for one state visit which will run until Friday, amid trade disagreements between USA and the European Union (EU).
The pandemic by coronavirus made this the first state visit of the presidency of Biden and US officials say he was chosen France not only because of the deep historical ties but also because of its commitment to confront Russia over its war in Ukraine.
Macron landed on the Joint Base Andrewsthe Air Force facility used by Biden just outside Washington.
The US president will honor Macron with a military ceremony welcome, a visit to the Arlington National Cemeterya meeting in the oval officea private dinner with their spouses on Wednesday and a state banquet on Thursday, where the American musician will perform Jon BatisteGrammy winner and also an advocate of the African American rights.
Compared to Macron’s first experience of a state visit to Washington as a guest of donald trump in 2018, this trip, which concludes with a stopover on Friday in the former French city of New Orleanswill be a carefully choreographed display of transatlantic friendship.
Certainly the diplomatic furor was left behind last year, when Australia canceled an agreement to buy french submarines and opted for US nuclear submarines.
“At the moment, we are in a listening phase to understand the concerns of our European partners,” said the spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirbyto French journalists.
The main claim is about the ambitious biden plan to support the energy transition and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by its acronym in English), which grants generous subsidies to the electric vehiclesbatteries or renewable energy as long as they are “Made in America”.
Europeans, grappling with the economic consequences of Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine and seeking to end reliance on Russian energy supplies, fear unfair competition Y United States protectionism.
The EU is increasingly talking about whether the bloc should respond with its own subsidies to self-made productseffectively starting a trade war.
“China favors its own products, the United States favors its own products. It might be time for Europe to favor its own products,” said the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maireto the radio French 3.
This Tuesday, Biden said in a speech at a microchip factory in Michigan that the push for a revitalized industrial base in the United States is “a game changer.”
“Companies started moving jobs abroad instead of moving product abroad,” he said. “We are not going to be hostages anymore.”
Martin Quencezdeputy director of the Paris office of the GMF think tank, said Macron will tell Biden that “there is a contradiction between an administration that constantly talks about alliances (…) and at the same time makes a decision like that of the GONNAwhich will impact the economies of the allies”.
Another claim in Europe is the high cost of natural gas exports US liquid, which they increased to try to replace the canceled Russian deliveries.
Faced with accusations that the United States is benefiting from the war in Ukrainea senior US official said it was a “false statement”.
The official also downplayed the friction over the GONNA and said there is a “very constructive set of talks” on how to prevent European companies from being left out.
Underscoring the importance of the issue for Paris, Macron met dozens of business executives before leaving for Washington, urging them to continue investing in France. Among these were representatives of the American giants Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s.
Before leaving, Macron said, according to the presidency, that the IRA was going “in the right direction, for the benefit of the ecological transition”, but included “protectionist measures that pose strong challenges to European manufacturers”.
Macron’s entourage, which includes foreign, defense and finance ministersas well as business leaders and even astronauts, illustrates the importance that Paris has placed on the visit.
However, in the White House, a senior official said that the main objective is to foster the “personal relationship”, “the alliance” with France and between Biden and Macron.
That objective will include improving coordination to help Ukraine repel Russia and on the other hand, see how to handle the rise of the chinese superpower.
“We are not allies on the same page,” he told the AFP a Macron adviser, anticipating “challenging” talks with Biden.
Despite his strong support for kyiv, Macron’s insistence on continuing dialogue with the Russian president, Vladimir Putinhas irritated US diplomats.
The China issue, on which Washington has taken a more aggressive tone and EU powers have tried to find a middle ground, is unlikely to move forward.
(With information from AFP)
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