Biden’s Meeting With Macron Comes Amid Rising Trans-Atlantic Tensions


Officials “think there is space here for Europe and others, frankly, to take similar steps,” a senior administration official told reporters this week in a background briefing previewing Mr. Macron’s visit. The task force, the official said, allowed for conversations with Europe “to make sure that their approach and our approach ends up complementing one another, being harmonized with one another.”

In its discussions with the Europeans, the Biden administration has focused on the other benefits of the new climate legislation for global businesses, and on emphasizing the need for cooperation to combat climate change, people familiar with the discussions said.

Privately, American officials have also pointed to recent situations in which the Europeans took protectionist trade stances that rankled the other countries — such as the E.U.’s carbon border adjustment mechanism, or a proposed digital tax.

The Europeans are “much more protectionist and restrictive than the U.S.,” said Clyde Prestowitz, a labor economist and former trade negotiator for the United States. “There is just no comparison.”

The split over the automotive industry comes as the United States is also seeking Europe’s help on limiting the kinds of advanced technology that China can access globally, especially the machinery for producing advanced semiconductors that is marketed globally by Dutch firm ASML.

Senior U.S. officials have flown to Europe in recent weeks to press E.U. officials and corporate leaders to join the United States in tightly restricting exports of semiconductor technology to China, arguing that China’s access to such technology poses a national security threat.

At her meeting with Mr. Le Maire at the Group of 20 summit in Bali last month, Ms. Yellen noted that America’s relationship with France is critical at such a pivotal time for the global economy. She said that she was open to hearing the concerns that Europeans have about the Inflation Reduction Act and trying to address them, if possible, within the limits of the law that Congress passed.

“France is America’s oldest friend and ally, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on our very strong relationship,” Ms. Yellen said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.



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