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France's Macron slams planned US subsidies as 'super aggressive' in visit to Washington

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a reception honoring the French community in the US, at the French Embassy in Washington, DC, on November 30, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized US industrial subsidies, saying the "super aggressive" measure could "split the West."

Macron used a state visit to Washington on Wednesday to press concerns about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law by President Joe Biden in August, saying that such help for US firms could "kill a lot of jobs."

European leaders have complained about the legislative package, which pours billions of dollars into climate-friendly technologies, with strong backing for American-made products.

Macron said the plan is "super aggressive" toward European companies.

"You will perhaps fix your issue, but you will increase my problem," Macron told US lawmakers at a working lunch in the Library of Congress. "I think this regulation cannot fly for the US alone," the French president said.

He also complained that "nobody called me when the IRA was in discussion" earlier this year.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, however, said the legislation "presents significant opportunities for European firms as well as benefits to EU energy security" when asked about European concerns.

Macron raised the concerns ahead of what are expected to be tense trade talks with Biden on Thursday.

The French leader arrived in Washington on Tuesday on his second state visit to the US since taking office in 2017.

French officials said earlier that Macron would confront Biden over the subsidies planned in the IRA.

The Europeans fear an unfair US advantage in sectors where they are already reeling in part due to the war in Ukraine. They want a solution quickly, possibly with an arrangement agreed at an EU-US Trade and Technology Council meeting on December 5.

The main issue for Europe is to ensure it doesn't enter into a trade war with Washington, which could divide the continent in the face of the war in Ukraine.

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