US stands behind controversial law to create industry, high-paying jobs

Davos, Switzerland, Jan 17 (EFE).- The passage last year of a US bill to boost green technology and reduce emissions will help stimulate the economy and create “good paying jobs,” US Labor secretary Martin Walsh said Tuesday.

“I think the Inflation Reduction Act is looking to not just create an industry for us to be a leader on the global stage when it comes to climate change, but also create good opportunities for good paying jobs. And I don’t think it’s just the United States, I think it could be a worldwide opportunity for all,” Walsh told reporters in Davos during the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings.

Since president Joe Biden signed the bill in August, relations between the European Union and the US have been strained, as the law offers significant financial incentives to facilitate the green transition in the US, while critics view it as a protectionist policy that could potentially provoke a trade war.

Specifically, the law provides for subsidies worth about $400 billion, mainly focused on boosting the green energy sector in the US and reducing emissions. The EU says this amounts to unfair competition and discrimination against European companies, which could move their investments to other markets.

“I think we are learning from each other on how to deal with what we’re going through right now. I think that that’s something that every country has uniqueness in its economy and how they respond,” Walsh said.

In this regard, he considers Washington’s big challenge to be supply chain problems, while the war in Ukraine is having a bigger impact in Europe.

“I think we just need to continue to have the dialogue. And I know that Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen is talking to her counterparts and the president (Joe Biden) is talking to his counterparts,” he said.

Despite the fiscal measures, the Labor secretary made clear that his priority was defending the working conditions of workers in the US.

“I am a person who always advocates for higher wages for people. When I think about higher wages, I’m not necessarily thinking about inflation, I’m thinking about creating opportunities. Under normal circumstances we would want to see higher wages, lower inflation, because you want to see more money in people’s pockets,” he said. EFE


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