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Europe fears US climate act will tip ‘level playing field’

BERLIN (AP) — Senior French and German officials warned Wednesday that recent measures by the Biden administration to address climate change and boost the American economy could upend the “level playing field” on trade between the European Union and the United States.

The EU has criticized the legislation, approved by Congress in August, for including clauses that it says discriminate against European automakers.

“We need to work on adequate European responses to this American Inflation Reduction Act, which might jeopardize the developing field between our two continents,” French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after talks with his German counterparts.

Asked what such a response might entail, Le Maire said, “We are not talking about tit for tat.” But he told reporters that France wanted to explore “all the options with our European partners.”

“We should seize any opportunity that we have to talk to the U.S. administration and to explain very clearly that we do not want to be hit by these (latest) decisions of the Biden administration and by the consequences of the Inflation Reduction Act,” he said.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck also expressed concern about the effects the U.S. measures could have on Europe.

“We see that companies and firms are drawn away from Europe to the U.S. because of the strong subsidies paid there,” he said. “We can’t (enter into) a trade war in times like this.”

“We are in good talks with our American partners, but this needs definitely a strong answer, a strong, strong European reply,” Habeck added.

The Associated Press