Representatives of the United States returned today to hear questions from their peers on the policy of subsidies from the European Union (EU) with which Washington encourages its ecological industry, although the meeting was called to discuss trade and technology .
Officials discussed the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and economic coercion, but the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which covers subsidies the EU considers anti-competitive, was on the table.
Formally, it was a meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, and it took place on the outskirts of Washington.
The IRA, designed to accelerate America’s transition to a low-carbon economy, includes nearly $370 billion in subsidies for green energy, as well as tax breaks for batteries and electric cars made in the United States.
EU countries see the initiative as a threat to European jobs, especially in the energy and automobile sectors.
Today’s talks, the third on the issue, are part of a push “to enhance bilateral trade and investment ties,” according to a statement from the US National Security Council.
The parties assessed the work of a dedicated IRA task force and noted “preliminary progress has been made,” according to a joint statement.
“We acknowledge the EU’s concerns and underline our commitment to constructively address them,” Washington said.
A European representative quoted by the AFP agency said that the US wanted to “highlight the concerns” of the European Union “in a non-confrontational way”, in an issue that had been “marked as a dispute, and which Europe is yet to deal with”. Also expects more concrete response”.
The US and the EU have already reached an agreement on a number of other issues, including a clearinghouse on public support for the semiconductor sector to increase transparency.
He also launched a “transatlantic initiative on sustainable trade” aimed at decarbonizing energy-intensive industries and helping with the transition to more circular economies, the statement said.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has decided not to attend the meetings, his office said, understanding that they no longer give enough space to issues that concern many European trade and industry ministers.
Last month, Breton threatened to appeal to the World Trade Organization and consider “retaliatory measures” if the United States did not roll back its subsidies.
The point was the subject of talks last week between President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
The Council on Trade and Technology is co-chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo; and the Commercial Representative, Catherine Tai, as well as the Executive Vice Presidents of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis. (Telam)