Emmanuel Macron calls for a “Buy European Act” to protect regional manufacturers – POLITICO


PARIS — Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called for a “Buy European Act” to protect automakers on the continent from competition from China and in response to the United States’ own controversial program to encourage domestic production.

Speaking on TV channel France 2, the French president criticized the European Union for being ‘too open’ on the subject of state subsidies for electric cars as it seeks to speed up its transition to sources greener energy.

“We need a Buy European Act like the Americans, we have to reserve [our subsidies] for our European manufacturers,” Macron said. “You have China protecting its industry, the United States protecting its industry, and Europe being an open house.”

France led the charge against Washington’s recent Cut Inflation Act, which includes tax incentives for American consumers to “buy American” when it comes to choosing an electric car. The European Union, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia have all complained to the World Trade Organization that the measure violates international trade rules by unfairly discriminating against foreign manufacturers.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also recently criticized the US program as “jeopardizing equal opportunities” and increasing the risk of a “new trade war”.

Macron said in the TV interview that he discussed an EU response to US trade barriers during a lunch with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Elysee Palace earlier on Wednesday. However, it was unclear whether the two leaders shared the same view on the exact steps to take.

“[Scholz and I] have a real convergence to move forward on the subject, we had a very good conversation, ”said Macron.

Relations between the French president and his German counterpart have been strained amid disagreements over energy, defense and the economy. But dissatisfaction with US legislation appears to be an area where they converge, given that both of their countries are home to major automakers like Renault and Mercedes-Benz.

According to an adviser to the French presidency, the two leaders have agreed to push the European Commission to prepare a response to the American Inflation Reduction Act.

Giorgio Leali contributed reporting.

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