Biden and Macron are trying to heal the trade rift and present a united front in Ukraine

US president promises 'tweaks' for Inflation Reduction Act that has caused French and European concerns over state subsidies

Joe Biden has sought to heal the rift with French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders over trade, acknowledging there are "loopholes" in the $739 billion law that he says could be repaired.

The US president spoke on Thursday while hosting Macron for his first presidential state visit. The leaders declared unity to support Ukraine's war against Russia but faced questions about their differences on trade.

The American Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, is set to funnel billions of dollars into the green industry, with strong support for American-based manufacturers. The White House hailed the IRA as a groundbreaking effort to restart domestic manufacturing and promote renewable technologies while challenging Chinese dominance.

But EU governments have decried their “Made in America” emphasis and threatened to launch a trade war by subsidizing their own green sector of the economy.

In a joint press conference, Biden said of the bill: "Obviously there's going to be disruption in it and it needs to reconcile changes in it." He promised that "adjustments" would be made, adding that the US had "never intended to exclude anyone we work with".

The president added: "My point is we are back in business and we will continue to create manufacturing jobs but not at the expense of Europe."

Speaking through an interpreter, Macron said he had explained to Biden that the subsidy in the law could kill some green energy projects, but he accepted that this was an unintended consequence.

He added: “We have no choice but to work together. We need to resynchronize together.” Macron said France, like America, wanted to rebuild its manufacturing base after 50 years of industrial decline. "We want to succeed together, not one at the expense of the other."

Some dismissed Macron's lavish visit as an over-the-top apology from Washington after last year's bitter row over how Australia withdrew from the French submarine deal in favor of acquiring US nuclear submarines, leaving Paris in the dark.

Speaking in the East Room amidst gold curtains, crystal chandeliers and a Christmas tree decked out in fairy lights, fake ice and snow, Biden said: “Emmanuel has become a friend too. Sometimes we have some small differences, but never fundamentally."

The president and his wife Jill had greeted Macron and his wife Brigitte with hugs, kisses and big smiles at the South Lawn ceremony where Macron, 44, repeatedly placed his hand on the 80-year-old Biden's back as the men walked together and vowed to uphold the alliance The US-France are "unwavering" ahead of talks on Ukraine, China and the looming trade dispute.

Service members from the marines, soldiers, air force, and even a detachment of soldiers in 18th-century revolutionary battle dress paraded in front of the White House. The artillery fired 21 shots, sending a plume of white smoke into the clear but chilly December sky.

Biden praised Macron as "not just a French leader" and for being "very outspoken and very, very commanding in Europe"

The state visit is a diplomatic boost for Macron that he could capitalize on again in Europe. It could polish his image as the EU's most visible and outspoken leader, at a time when Europe is increasingly concerned that its economy will be hurt by the Ukraine war and result in an energy crisis and inflation.

At an East Room news conference, Biden said he was appalled by Russian brutality in Ukraine but insisted that Vladimir Putin "is not going anywhere", adding: "President Macron and I have decided that we will continue to work together to hold Russia accountable for their actions and to mitigate the global impact of Putin's war around the world.”

Responding to questions from reporters, Biden added: “There is one way to end this war – the rational way. Putin to withdraw from Ukraine… it is sickening, what is he doing… I am prepared to speak to Mr. Putin if there is any interest in him deciding he is looking for a way to end the war.”

Macron said they discussed initiatives "to continue to support and strengthen our support to Ukrainian troops and enable them to fight back".

Much of the visit revolved around rejuvenating the long, if often a bit thorny, US-France diplomatic relationship.

Macron and his wife came to the US bearing gifts including vinyl and a CD of the original soundtrack from the 1966 film Un Homme et une Femme, which the Bidens saw on their first date. The Bidens gave Macron a special mirror made of fallen logs from the White House lawn and a special collection of vinyl records of America's great musicians.

The state dinner at the White House will return large-scale entertainment to Washington in a way not seen since the Covid-19 pandemic shut it down.

Grammy award-winning American musician Jon Batiste will perform at the banquet, which the White House says will start with butter-poached Maine lobster, paired with caviar, delicata squash raviolo and tarragon sauce.

Main courses feature triple-cooked buttered beef and potatoes, before moving on to an award-winning US brand cheese dish, and finally orange chiffon cake, baked pears in orange sauce and creme fraiche ice cream. There will also be three grapes from American vineyards.

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