US, EU commit to “transparent dialogue” on clean energy subsidies

Washington, Mar 10 (EFE).- The United States and the European Union agreed here Friday to discuss the use of European minerals to produce batteries for electric vehicles eligible for US tax credits as part of a “transparent dialogue” on subsidies for clean energy.

The accord was announced by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen after what she described as “constructive” talks with President Joe Biden at the White House, which issued a statement including details of the pact.

European leaders, notably French President Emmanuel Macron, have been critical of the structure of the EV tax credits – of up to $7,500 – in the Inflation Reduction Act, signed by Biden last August.

To be eligible for the tax credit, at least 50 percent of the minerals in the battery must come from the US or from a nation linked to Washington by a free-trade treaty, such as Canada or Mexico.

Voices in Europe have sounded the alarm about the possibility that European firms will relocate to the US to take advantage of the subsidies.

But according to Von der Leyen, if the coming negotiations between Washington and Brussels are successful, minerals from EU nations will be treated on a par with US-sourced materials.

“It is important on both sides of the Atlantic to know what kind of incentives are being given to the clean tech industry, to make sure that we join forces to boost the clean tech industry,” she told reporters.

“I think it’s great that there is such a massive investment in new and clean technologies now,” Von der Leyen said, praising the Inflation Reduction Act. “Indeed, we want to match it with the Green Deal Industrial Plan.”

Another aspect of Friday’s accord is intended to promote the “shared goals of boosting our mineral production and processing and expanding access to sources of critical minerals that are sustainable, trusted, and free of labor abuses,” in the words of the statement released by the White House.

“We will deepen our cooperation on diversifying critical mineral and battery supply chains, recognizing the substantial opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic to build out these supply chains in a strong, secure, and resilient manner. To that end, we intend to immediately begin negotiations on a targeted critical minerals agreement,” the statement says.

Though most of the document addresses US-EU trade, the parties also vowed to crack down further on nations that refuse to go along with the sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

“We are deepening our joint work to aggressively enforce our sanctions and export control measures,” the statement says. “As part of this, we are taking new steps together to target additional third-country actors across the globe to disrupt support for Russia’s war from any corner of the world where it is identified.”

In a brief session with the media in the Oval Office before their meeting, Biden and Von der Leyen celebrated the success of US-EU coordination in supporting Ukraine and in facilitating Europe’s transition away from dependence on natural gas from Russia.

“Two years ago, we committed to a new era of understanding between the EU and the US. I told you then that times have changed from the previous administration and that we view the EU as a great addition to security and economic security. And I thought we could benefit all our peoples, and I think we have. I think we have,” Biden said.

“And we stood with the brave people of Ukraine, providing security assistance and implementing historic sanctions,” the US president said.

“We supported Europe’s energy security. I remember you and I talking about launching the joint task force and whether or not we’d be able to provide enough liquefied natural gas. We supplied twice as much as we thought,” Biden said.

“Indeed,” Von der Leyen said. EFE bpm/dr

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