[Meanwhile] Just do as President Macron did

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[Meanwhile] Just do as President Macron did

The author is the Washington correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

“President Biden wants to create more industrial jobs, build strong industries, and secure supplies for his country in the long run. But that is also our approach,” said French President Emmanuel Macron about the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) at a joint press conference after his summit with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on December 1.

Macron’s statement impressed me for two reasons. The White House stressed that the IRA was a policy addressing climate change, but Macron claimed that it was aimed at creating manufacturing jobs in the U.S. In short, he was saying, “Just as you need to make jobs for Americans, I need jobs for my people.” Rather than the Korean government’s reasoning that the IRA means a loss to its ally’s companies,” Macron’s approach would work better with Biden, a political veteran in the U.S.

Appearing in Congress a day earlier, Macron said that the IRA was “excessively offensive” to French companies. He said that middle class jobs in France would collapse. The IRA “may solve your problems but will aggravate mine,” he said. The means of delivery is just as important as the message. The comment he made at a closed luncheon with Biden was reported by AFP through an anonymous attendee. His anger was effectively delivered while making the delivery look more considerate than making official remarks in a speech or at a news conference.

Europe has begun to move in earnest. Unlike Korea, which rushed to Washington DC shortly after the passage of the IRA in August, France and the European Union (EU) made the first “achievement” of having President Biden acknowledge “flaws” with the IRA for the first time, though they reacted slowly. As Europe negotiates with the U.S., Macron mentioned that a “Buy European Law” could be legislated, an “eye for an eye” strategy.

Macron also warned that America First trade policy could “divide the West into two.” He pointed out that the Biden administration’s protectionist policy was not right. He is getting a more universal consensus than the response of the Korean government focusing on only minimizing Korean electric vehicles’ sales loss in the U.S. until Hyundai Motors begins production of electric vehicles in America in 2025.

Macron was determined to make bitter remarks, but Biden treated him with all his heart. A glass tent was set up in the White House lawn, and a state dinner was held with more than 400 celebrity guests. Having established himself as the leader of Europe, Macron is a partner the U.S. must cooperate with as the U.S. pursues a foreign policy to get through the Ukrainian war and confront Russia and China. That makes Macron expensive. A country’s negotiating power will grow when a country expands its outlook for trade diplomacy and raises its prices higher.
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