EU's Vestager says any damage from U.S. subsidies is likely to be limited - WSJ

EU digital chief Vestager and EU Commissioner for Internal Market Breton news conference in Brussels

(Reuters) - EU anti-trust chief Margrethe Vestager said any damage to European competitiveness from U.S. subsidies was likely to be limited.

Some European companies might be interested in investing in the United States rather than Europe, but their decisions would be based on more than just the new U.S. subsidies, she told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Friday.

The U.S. subsidies are likely to draw in interest from industries like wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries, mining and refining of raw materials, Vestager said.

The EU official said that these subsidies could also pause the acceleration of green industries in Europe, which has prompted EU leaders to assess what they can do to prevent any loss of investment, including individual governments offering financial incentives.

EU was "caught off-guard" by the Biden administration's decision earlier this month to limit federal funding for electric-vehicle chargers to those that are made in the United States, Vestager said, adding that she planned to raise the issue with her U.S. counterparts.

Earlier this month, leaders of the European Union expressed concern that local content requirements of much of the $369 billion of subsidies in the IRA will encourage companies to abandon Europe for the United States.

(Reporting by Rahat Sandhu in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson and Jon Boyle)