Macron meets Elon Musk

Macron meets Elon Musk

Emmanuel Macron and Elon Musk

French President Emmanuel Macron said he will meet with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk on Friday, the second time in just over a month, to promote France as a possible site for one of the electric vehicle (EV) maker’s factories as well as to discuss tech regulation.

France has been courting Chinese EV giant BYD and Tesla to build factories in the country, officials had previously told Reuters but is competing with other EU countries such as Spain, which is in talks with Tesla too, a source told Reuters.

I’m going (into that meeting) with an agenda,” Macron told reporters as he visited the VivaTech summit in Paris, France’s biggest tech fair, which Musk will visit on Friday.

“We’re going to talk about artificial intelligence, in which he is involved, social media, regulation framework… And then I’ll also talk to him about cars, batteries, to promote French and European attractiveness,” Macron said.

Asked specifically whether he was hoping to secure a Tesla gigafactory, Macron said: “It’s up to the company to look at these different issues in Europe. So we’ll be selling France” as an investment destination.

France has been catching up with other European nations in its goal to become a hub for the electric vehicle industry, thanks to generous subsidies and a more business-friendly environment and aggressive lobbying since Macron took power.

Its northern region has attracted four gigafactory projects, the first one inaugurated last month by a consortium including Peugeot-owner Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz and French oil major TotalEnergies.

Earlier today, the French minister for digital affairs Jean-Noel Barrot told CNBC: “It will be great to have a Tesla factory in France. There has been a lot of effort and energy to make sure this is possible and this can happen.”

Barrot added that France also has invested in an “entire sector of electric batteries” and will try to convince Musk “that France is the best possible place in Europe to establish the next Tesla factory.”

Musk, who met Macron and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on May 15, said then he was confident Tesla would make “significant investments” in France in the future, but did not provide a timeline.

France previously tried to convince Musk to build a gigafactory in the country, but he chose Germany for his only such plant in Europe so far.

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