On Friday, President Joe Biden and top EU official Ursula von der Leyen made an announcement about making headway in defusing a transatlantic trade dispute and reiterating their support for Ukraine in the face of Russia.
After meeting in the Oval Office, the two leaders announced a small but tangible step toward promoting climate-friendly industries: negotiations will begin to grant EU producers of critical minerals access to the US market.
As the economies of the United States and the European Union shift toward the growth of the electric vehicle and other environmentally friendly industries, the two groups have committed to working together more broadly.
To counter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European Union Commission President von der Leyen has collaborated closely with Vice President Joe Biden over the past year.
According to what Vice President Biden told Ambassador von der Leyen, the alliance in support of Ukraine is the beginning of “a new era.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin “thought that he would divide us, and yet we are more united than ever,” they said in a joint statement later. There will be no wavering in our solidarity and support for Ukraine for as long as it takes.
However, tensions are rising in Europe as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a government spending spree championing US manufacturing in climate-friendly technologies that was passed by the Biden administration.
In response to European Union (EU) concerns that the “made in America” requirement of the subsidies will harm European-based energy and auto sectors, the EU is developing its own sets of incentives, such as the Green Deal Industrial Plan, to promote the emerging sector.
According to their joint statement, Biden and von der Leyen made progress on a deal to begin discussions on an exemption for European producers seeking to export critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries.
Crucial raw materials sourced or processed in the European Union will soon have the same access to the American market as if they had been sourced in the United States, per today’s agreement. Once I meet with Vice President Biden, we will begin working on an agreement,” von der Leyen told reporters.
In a broader statement, they promised to take measures to ensure that their respective incentives do not cause disruptions to transatlantic trade and investment flows. Our goal is to ensure that our incentives encourage the widespread adoption of clean energy technologies and the creation of the most associated jobs, while working to mitigate the negative effects of competitive
The best way to counter China’s increasingly assertive international and commercial policies is another tricky issue.
According to the White House, “challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China” were a major focus of the discussions.
The United States has been pressuring European capitals to take a more robust stance against China’s capital, Beijing, both diplomatically and economically. The transatlantic allies are somewhat divided on how to proceed, but the EU is eager to avoid a rupture with China.
An analyst at the Parisian think tank Institut Jacques Delors, Elvire Fabry, told AFP that von der Leyen used the meeting to demonstrate the EU’s desire to work with the United States government, “but not in the position of follower, especially when it comes to China.”
The European position stems from the continent’s desire to keep its distance from China’s capital.
The US official did emphasize, however, the consensus between Brussels and Washington on how to approach the China threat.
He predicted that US and European leaders would “focus on the need to strengthen our economic security, to respond to concrete threats to economic security” from China and remarked on the “unprecedented alignment” between the two regions.
China received only a cursory mention in Biden and von der Leyen’s joint statement.