The U.S. and European Union today agreed to form a Trade and Technology Council (TTC) that will aim to lower digital trade barriers and harmonize U.S. and EU efforts on technology standards-setting, cross-border data flows, and cybersecurity, among other things.
On the U.S. side, the TTC will be chaired by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
"The major goals of the TTC will be to grow the bilateral trade and investment relationship; to avoid new unnecessary technical barriers to trade; to coordinate, seek common ground, and strengthen global cooperation on technology, digital issues, and supply chains; to support collaborative research and exchanges; to cooperate on compatible and international standards development; to facilitate regulatory policy and enforcement cooperation and, where possible, convergence; to promote innovation and leadership by U.S. and European firms; and to strengthen other areas of cooperation," according to a joint U.S.-EU statement.
The TTC’s initial working groups will focus on technical standards for emerging technologies, the security of information and communications technology (ICT), data governance and technology platforms, the misuse of technology, and export controls.
"It will also include a working group on reviewing and strengthening our most critical supply chains. Notably, we commit to building a U.S.-EU partnership on the rebalancing of global supply chains in semiconductors with a view to enhancing U.S. and EU respective security of supply as well as capacity to design and produce the most powerful and resource-efficient semiconductors," the U.S.-EU statement said.
"In parallel with the TTC, we intend to establish a U.S.-EU Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue that would focus on approaches to competition policy and enforcement and increased cooperation in the tech sector," it said. "We also resolve to deepen cooperation on cybersecurity information-sharing and situational awareness, as well as cybersecurity certification of products and software."
The U.S. and EU pledged "to work together to ensure safe, secure, and trusted cross-border data flows that protect consumers and enhance privacy protections, while enabling transatlantic commerce. To this end, we plan to continue to work together to strengthen legal certainty in transatlantic flows of personal data."
"We also commit to work together to address the urgent and escalating threat from criminal ransomware networks that pose risks to our citizens and companies," they said.
A senior administration official said the establishment of the TTC was "one of the most significant outcomes" of today’s U.S.-EU summit.
"The notion here is that the United States and Europe laid the foundation for the world economy after World War Two and now have to work together to write the rules of the road for the next generation, particularly in the areas of economics and emerging technologies," the official said.
The TTC is also viewed as a way for the U.S. and Europe to join forces to counter China’s ambitions in the technology sector.
"The Trade and Technology Council is fundamentally about setting out an affirmative vision to the world rooted in our shared values and our shared economic interests," the administration official said. "China poses a significant challenge in both of these areas. And dealing with China’s nonmarket practices, its economic abuses, and, of course, its efforts to shape the rules of the road on technology for the 21st century will be an important part of the work of this council."
The Information Technology Industry Council expressed support for the TTC and its mission and noted that it had advocated for the establishment of such a body.
"We are pleased the leaders heeded our call to establish an EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council. As this council begins its work, we encourage it to pursue compatible, non-discriminatory approaches to digital policy across issues like competition, data governance, and new technology," said Jason Oxman, ITI’s president and chief executive officer.
"It’s important that the U.S. and EU build on today’s commitments to ensure the stability and reliability of transatlantic data flows and protect data privacy, which are essential to competitiveness and innovation," he said.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association also welcomed the formation of the TTC. "Partnership with key allies is necessary for the future of rules-based trade and cooperation on economic recovery. We welcome the creation of the Trade and Technology Council to facilitate coordination on items including supply chain security and technology standards cooperation on AI and emerging technologies," CCIA President Matthew Schruers said.
"That said, the work is not complete without frank discussions on domestic policies that target foreign firms. Continued dialogue is important to ensure regulatory frameworks on both sides of the Atlantic are forward-thinking and non-discriminatory," Mr. Schruers added.
"The internet industry welcomes the creation of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council to address many of the most important issues facing the modern global digital economy, including facilitating the free flow of data, eliminating existing and emerging digital market access barriers, and addressing future approaches to digital policy," said the Internet Association. "The EU remains one of the top markets for U.S. digital exports and the largest provider of digital services to the U.S. economy. The TTC is an important step towards ensuring that digital policy on both sides of the Atlantic facilitates the continued growth of our shared economies by jointly addressing our most challenging issues." —Tom Leithauser, [email protected]
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