[Editorial] Not even US press is buying into Biden’s “Buy American” plan

Posted on : 2022-09-13 17:34 KST Modified on : 2022-09-13 17:34 KST
What happened to “We go together,” Biden?
President Joe Biden of the US speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for an Intel microchip factory on Sept. 9 in New Albany, OH. (AP/Yonhap)
President Joe Biden of the US speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for an Intel microchip factory on Sept. 9 in New Albany, OH. (AP/Yonhap)

While President Joe Biden of the US continues to pat himself on the back for the success of his “Buy American” policy, even the media is pointing out its adverse effects. The Biden administration should come up with real solutions to the Inflation Reduction Act, which constitutes the cornerstone of the “Buy American” policy, and the CHIPS and Science Act, both of which take “America First” to a new level, leading to discrimination against US allies.

On Friday, Biden attended a groundbreaking ceremony at an Intel chip factory site in Ohio, where he said, “The future of the chip industry is going to be made in America.”

Biden has been focusing on promoting the CHIPS and Science Act, which will provide massive funding for the construction of semiconductor manufacturing facilities within the US, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which only specified electric vehicles assembled in North America as eligible for tax credits, as measures that will revitalize the US manufacturing industry and expand jobs ahead of the midterm elections in November.

But even US media are reporting the adverse effects of the Buy American policy one after another.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published a column titled “The myth of the manufacturing comeback,” which mentioned the issue of discrimination against allies, as only electric vehicles manufactured in North America outside of not just China’s supply chain but also the supply chains of friendly nations such as Japan and the EU would be eligible for tax credits.

Bloomberg, which described the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax credit snub against Korean-made electric vehicles as a “betrayal,” reported on Saturday that the EU is looking into whether the act goes against regulations of the World Trade Organization. EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis told Bloomberg, “We have concerns about a number of discriminatory elements in this Inflation Reduction Act which puts requirement for local content, for local production.”

When, on May 21, during a dinner banquet following the South Korea-US summit, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said that the alliance between South Korea and the US will “develop into a cutting-edge technology alliance and a global comprehensive strategic alliance,” Biden answered, “We go together.” But the US’ recent discriminatory measure against Korean-made electric vehicles has symbolically demonstrated the hypocrisy of the Biden administration’s simultaneous emphasis on “economic security alliance” as well as protectionist policies that aim to strengthen the US’ industrial capacity. The Biden administration should keep in mind that it will earn cooperation from its allies only when it can put forth a clear principle and solution regarding the issue.

Yoon announced that he will be leaving for a trip to the UK, the US and Canada on Sunday, during which he will attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II as well as the UN General Assembly. A South Korea-US summit is also in the works. If Yoon doesn’t come to an agreement with the US concerning a practical solution to the electric vehicle tax credit snub, he will have to face stern criticism from the public for returning home empty-handed.

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