Shropshire Star

Rishi Sunak to flag Inflation Reduction Act concerns in talks with Joe Biden

He will also push for action on artificial intelligence (AI) regulation and seek greater economic co-operation with the US.

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Rishi Sunak will raise concerns about Joe Biden’s flagship package of green technology subsidies when the pair meet in Washington on Thursday.

The Prime Minister arrived late on Tuesday night for two days of meetings with business leaders and senior figures in Congress, culminating in discussions with the US President at the White House.

He will push for action on artificial intelligence (AI) regulation and seek greater economic co-operation with the US.

Rishi Sunak visit to US
Joe Biden will host discussions with Rishi Sunak at the White House (Paul Faith/PA)

But senior members of Mr Sunak’s Government have criticised Mr Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act – a massive package of tax breaks and subsidies aimed at boosting green industries in the US – as protectionist and distorting.

Despite promises from Energy Secretary Grant Shapps that the Government was working with the US to smooth over “rough edges” which could hit British firms seeking to trade across the Atlantic, difficulties still remain.

Mr Sunak told reporters travelling with him to the US: “It’s something that he (Mr Biden) and I have discussed in the past and you’d expect us to continue discussing it.”

But he said it was “good for the world” that other countries were seeking to emulate the UK’s success in cutting emissions.

The Prime Minister hopes to establish a world of “economic interoperabilty” allowing Western allies to work together in the same way their militaries do as part of Nato.

Mr Sunak said that meant the G7 group of leading democracies “don’t believe in protectionism as the answer” to the challenge.

“All countries are going to invest in making sure they can make the transition to net zero. We’ve got a head start over everybody because we decarbonised faster than any other G7 economy,” he said.

“We’re investing billions and have been consistently investing billions to create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK and the fact that others are helping their urgency and pace at which they do the same thing is very welcome.”

Setting out his vision for an economic alliance, Mr Sunak said: “Just as interoperability between our militaries has given us a battlefield advantage over our adversaries, greater economic interoperability will give us a crucial edge in the decades ahead.

“By combining our vast economic resources and expertise, we will grow our economies, create jobs and keep our people safe long into the future.”

On Wednesday Mr Sunak will hold talks with senior figures in the House of Representatives and Senate before attending a Washington Nationals baseball match – although he will not throw the ceremonial first pitch.

Mr Sunak arrived at Andrews Air Force Base where he was welcomed by US chief of protocol Rufus Gifford and UK ambassador to the US Dame Karen Pierce.

One of the key issues on the agenda for the US visit will be AI, with countries around the world grappling with the emerging technology and the risks it could pose.

With the US and European Union considering measures to regulate AI, Mr Sunak wants to make sure the UK’s voice is also heard.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Clearly, this is not something that can be achieved unilaterally. And we think there is scope to have further discussions with our partners and like-minded allies on what can be done.”

Despite the danger of being shut out from conversations between the two main Western economic powers – the US and EU – the UK Government believes that the post-Brexit break from Brussels gives it greater freedom to act quickly.

Mr Sunak, who is staying at the president’s guest house Blair House during the trip, will also push for greater business links with the US, although hopes of a full free-trade agreement have been shelved.

The UK pointed to £14 billion of US investment in the UK since October 2022, including £9 billion from financial firm Blackrock plus projects including World Fuel Services and Meld’s green hydrogen facility in Hull, a new Mars facility in the London Gateway Freeport, expansions of BNY Mellon and Vanguard’s Manchester offices and a new HCA Healthcare facility in Birmingham which, between them, will create almost 2,500 jobs.

Mr Sunak’s trip will see him address the Business Roundtable forum of leading CEOs on Thursday.

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