Robert Habeck in front of the White House
Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP
The US government's plans for a comprehensive subsidy package are causing considerable concern among European companies.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck, however, expects the Americans to make concessions, at least in part, on the controversial project to promote climate-friendly technologies.
In certain sectors, agreements could in practice mean that Europeans are treated almost equally to their US neighbors Canada and Mexico, with whom the US has a free trade agreement.
The Greens politician told the Reuters news agency in Washington on Monday.
"Then I'd be satisfied, you don't have to be picky," says Habeck.
This could still apply to critical raw materials for solar panels, batteries or semiconductors, which currently come mainly from China.
The so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) favors companies that produce in North America - which has alarmed the EU.
Habeck wants to hold talks with the US government on Tuesday with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.
The IRA is primarily aimed at China, which could lead to new trade disputes around the world.
"Of course we are already observing that there is a risk that measures will build up," said Habeck in front of the White House.
The package will not be renegotiated
Europe and the USA should not be naïve and must protect their critical infrastructure.
In fact, prior to the probable spy balloon that the US just launched, US relations with China were on the way to normalization.
"I think you can reconnect there."
However, a fundamental renegotiation of the $370 billion US subsidy package is no longer possible, said Habeck in a statement in the US capital.
"This Inflation Reduction Act will not be reopened." The legislative process has been completed, but the regulations can still be influenced, for example on raw materials and hydrogen.
The latter is considered an important piece of the puzzle for climate-neutral industrial processes.
For the car industry and batteries, however, regulation is well advanced.
In the case of tax incentives for electric cars in the USA, however, at least leasing cars from European manufacturers should not be disadvantaged.
Habeck called this a good step.
“The American leasing market is very, very large, well over half.” This solves half of the problem, especially for cheaper models.
Some of the IRA is problematic.
"We'll talk about that."