German minister Habeck calls for green tech cooperation with United States

FILE PHOTO: German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck and Sweden’s Minister for Energy Ebba Busch (not pictured) attend a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden February 2, 2023. Claudio Bresciani /TT News Agency/via REUTERS.

BERLIN (Reuters) — Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck has called for cooperation in green investments between Europe and the United States ahead of meetings in Washington next week with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other officials.

«We can build a green bridge across the Atlantic and build joint green … markets,» the German economy ministry on Sunday quoted Habeck saying, in an itinerary of the planned meetings also involving his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.

Reuters on Saturday quoted French officials as saying Habeck and Le Maire would use the meetings to press senior U.S. officials not to try to actively poach green investments from Europe amid European concerns about U.S. green tech subsidies.

Under the multi-billion dollar Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Washington will subsidise products ranging from electric cars to solar panels as long as they meet requirements on being locally produced.

«The USA is now gearing its economy towards green markets and driving forward cost reductions in the development of climate-friendly technologies,» Habeck said.

«That’s good, but it’s important that this happens in friendly, fair competition and thus leads to progress in climate-neutral technologies.»

EU governments are worried the IRA could not only put European producers at an unfair disadvantage but lure investment away from Europe to the United States. They are likely to want to explore exceptions when the United States implements the plans.

In addition to Yellen, the two will also meet U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the German ministry statement said.

The talks will be focused on the U.S. subsidy package in the context of future trade relations between the EU and the United States.


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