WORLD Macron set to visit US amid strained ties


Macron set to visit US amid strained ties

China Daily

22:20, November 28, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron [Photo/Agencies]

France's President Emmanuel Macron will fan the embers of strained ties with the United States this week, during a state visit.

The diplomatic house-call comes against the backdrop of a growing economic war between the nations that began with a controversial pact and continued thanks to new US legislation.

The AUKUS pact between the United Kingdom, the US, and Australia resulted in Canberra cancelling a contract to buy French submarines. With France furious with the US over the collapse of the deal, and with retaliatory trade sanctions escalating between the nations, Reuters said Macron and US President Joe Biden will now want to send a message that the strained ties have been repaired.

But France is also concerned about the US Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, that Biden signed in August, which calls for subsidies for US manufacturers and which the European Union has said amounts to unfair competition.

An unnamed Macron advisor told Reuters France wants exemptions from the IRA for EU companies, similar to those the US has already granted Mexico and Canada.

The Associated Press news agency said the visit could ensure the nations avoid a major trans-Atlantic row, now EU trade ministers have vowed to respond if Washington implements the IRA in full.

Ireland's Trade Minister Leo Varadkar said: "Nobody wants to get into a tit-for-tat or subsidy race, but what the US has done really isn't consistent with the principles of free trade and fair competition."

EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis added: "What we are asking for is fairness. We want and expect European companies and exports to be treated in the same way in the US as American companies and exports are treated in Europe."

The EU is also reportedly considering taking its complaints to the World Trade Organization.

Agence France-Presse said energy will also be on the agenda during Macron's visit, with France looking to ramp up nuclear power cooperation. And he will also try to persuade the US to lower its selling price for gas and oil, after saying earlier this month the US "produces cheap gas but sells it to us at a high price".

Describing the situation as "unfriendly", he said: "I will go to Washington in a spirit of friendship … to simply plead for a level playing field."

The BBC said cooperation on space exploration will also be on the table.

Macron is expected to arrive in the US on Tuesday, visit the White House on Thursday, and the largely French-speaking state of Louisiana on Friday.

He will be the first president of France to participate in two state visits, and will be accompanied by a large delegation of ministers and business leaders.

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