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FirstFT: ‘No apologies’ for putting US jobs first, Biden official tells EU

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The US will make “no apologies” for prioritising American jobs in its bid to lead the global clean energy contest, the White House official responsible for the $369bn green funding drive has said.

John Podesta, Joe Biden’s senior clean energy adviser, pushed back at criticism that the US Inflation Reduction Act would divert investment and undermine the EU economy. He argued that allies who have hit out at the IRA should “welcome US leadership”.

“We make no apologies for the fact that American taxpayer dollars ought to go to American investments and American jobs,” Podesta told the Financial Times, calling on Europe to take responsibility for developing its own clean energy sector.

“We hope that the European industrial base will succeed, but it’s up to Europe to do some of the work,” he added. “We’re not going to do that all for them.”

EU politicians fear that the scale of US subsidies could undermine the bloc’s own efforts to secure green investment. The IRA, which seeks to reduce emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2030, provides tax credits for groups that source parts and materials from countries with which the US has a free trade agreement.

That excludes the EU and Japan, which lack such deals with the US.

1. US taps ex-Mastercard chief to lead World Bank US president Joe Biden has tapped former Mastercard chief executive Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank, a week after sitting president David Malpass abruptly resigned. The nomination of Banga, who once described himself as a “totally made in India guy”, may help win over developing nations that are uneasy about the bank’s shift in focus from poverty to climate change.

2. UK consumer confidence highest since last April UK consumer confidence rebounded this month to its highest level in almost a year, in a sign of households’ resilience despite the cost of living crisis. Research group GfK said its index of consumer confidence, a closely watched measure of how people view their personal finances and wider economic prospects, rose by seven points to -38, beating forecasts of -43.

Line chart of Consumer confidence index showing UK consumer confidence grew in February

3. Next Bank of Japan head calls for ‘creative’ policy The Bank of Japan should be “creative” with its policy in the face of mounting market pressure to pivot from decades of an ultra-loose monetary stance, its expected next governor Kazuo Ueda told parliament today. The 71-year-old economist added that the central bank would embark on interest rate normalisation if it looked able to achieve and sustain its 2 per cent inflation target.

4. China calls for ceasefire in Ukraine China has called for a ceasefire in Ukraine and a return to negotiations on the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion. The Chinese foreign ministry today released a 12-point plan for a “political settlement” to the war, though many of the measures reiterated Beijing’s standard talking points on the conflict.

5. Jamie Dimon’s files sought in Epstein lawsuits JPMorgan is under renewed pressure to release communications from chief executive Jamie Dimon in litigation accusing the bank of keeping the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as a customer despite numerous red flags. JPMorgan has claimed that producing the documents would be “unduly burdensome”, lawyers for the unnamed victim wrote yesterday.

How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

The day ahead

Ukraine war Today marks a year since Russia launched its invasion. Follow our special live blog for updates throughout the day, and join FT correspondents on Twitter Spaces at 1pm GMT to discuss how long Moscow can keep waging war on Kyiv.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Vladimir Putin

Economic data France, Germany and Mexico release gross domestic product figures for the fourth quarter of last year, while the US has its personal consumption expenditures index for the same period.

Housing data The US has data on new home sales, and the UK publishes housebuilding data for the second quarter of last year.

Results Jupiter Asset Management, International Consolidated Airlines Group, Endesa, Holcim, Amadeus and PKN Orlen report.

What else we’re reading

A historic telegram’s lessons on recalcitrant Russia On February 22 1946, George Kennan, a US diplomat in Moscow, sent a 5,000-word telegram to secretary of state James Byrnes. It became known as the “long telegram” and would form the basis of America’s policy towards the Soviet Union for nearly half a century. Seventy-seven years on, it now offers lessons on living with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

An excerpt of George Kennan’s telegram to James Byrnes
An excerpt of George Kennan’s telegram to James Byrnes

Consultants start cutting jobs as boom ends McKinsey will cut up to 2,000 and KPMG nearly 700 jobs in the first concrete sign that a pandemic boom in spending on consultants might be over. Soaring costs, the end of near-free borrowing for clients and a slump in deal activity have led to a more difficult outlook for parts of the big consultancies’ businesses.

Anime and ‘The Last of Us’ are transforming Sony For long-term Sony watchers, television series The Last of Us symbolises the culmination of a decade-long metamorphosis at the company. The transformation, which one analyst described as “remarkable”, has steadily converted Japan’s best-known consumer electronics brand into a less well-understood blend of specialist-hardware maker and international media giant.

US obsession with big cars has fatal consequences In 2021, 43,000 people died on US roads, the highest mortality rate in the developed world. A fifth of these deaths could be averted if rates of speeding and seatbelt-wearing matched peer countries, writes John Burn-Murdoch.

Chart showing that the US has much higher road death rates than other developed countries, regardless of how you slice the data

Opinion: The case against rewriting Roald Dahl Should you edit the work of dead authors, even if you have the legal right over their books, when it is impossible to gain the author’s consent to these changes? Nilanjana Roy explores the consequences of a more censorial culture as several of Roald Dahl’s books are set to be released in new editions.

Take a break from the news

David Bowie’s vast collection of personal items — including flamboyant Ziggy Stardust costumes, handwritten lyrics and the Stylophone used in “Space Oddity” — has been donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

David Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust Tour in 1972-73
David Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust Tour in 1972-73 © Jeffrey Mayer/Alamy

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