BRUSSELS: European Union ministers warned on Friday that it is time to resolve differences with Washington over US plans to give tax credits to consumers who buy electric vehicles and other green products as long as they are made in North America.
The EU argues that the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act, taking effect in January, will make the United States the world leader in the electric vehicle market at its expense.
Czech industry and trade minister Josef Sikela said all 27 EU members were concerned. He told reporters before the meeting of the national trade ministry that time is running out and expressed hope that a solution can be found by December 5 when high officials of the US and the EU will meet.
Ministers are set to be briefed on the progress made by a joint US-EU task force launched in early November to address the issue.
Dutch trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher, describing the move as “extremely worrying”, said the task force must “move forward” and produce results as soon as possible.
Swedish partner Johan Forssell said the time frame was tight.
“We can’t wait too long until we make a decision … So I think the need for action will come soon,” he said.
Ireland’s deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said the EU and the United States ideally come to an arrangement at the meeting of the Council of Trade and Technology in December, but that, failing that, the EU will have to respond.
French Minister Olivier Becht said that the US transition towards a greener economy should be done on the basis of fair competition, rather than with measures that violate the rules of the World Trade Organization.
He said the ministers would discuss how to persuade the United States to change its actions. Otherwise, the EU should consider “other measures”.
“There are a number of measures that can be put on the table. The goal is not to launch into a subsidy race, which would be counter-productive,” he said.