EU-China: Commission and China hold first High-level Digital Dialogue

Credit: Unsplash

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission held its first High-level Digital Dialogue with China, in preparation of the videoconference between EU and Chinese Leaders on 14 September. Chaired by Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, and the Vice Premier of China, Liu He, this online dialogue covered key issues such as Information and Communication Technologies standard setting, Artificial Intelligence, Product Safety of articles sold online, Digital Taxation, and Research and Innovation.

The Commissioners for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, for Internal Market Thierry Breton, and for Justice Didier Reynders also participated in the discussions, alongside their Chinese counterparts Vice Ministers Wang Zhijun, Wang Lingjun, Huang Wei and Liao Min.

Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager, said: “This first High-level Digital Dialogue was held today in a constructive atmosphere. It shows the central role that digitisation plays in our economies and societies. Something we also have seen during the coronavirus pandemic. The EU and China will both play a role in defining how global technological developments will go forward. The dialogue is therefore necessary to foster cooperation, but also to address divergences we have, like on reciprocity, data protection and fundamental rights.”

Today’s High-level Digital Dialogue served to identify priorities in the digital transformation of both the EU’s and China’s economies, including areas where concrete progress is possible. During the talks, both sides updated each other on their ongoing approaches in the digital area, including by presenting views on topics where their approaches differ, in an open and frank manner. The Commission presented its digital strategy and stressed its priorities to promote reciprocity, fair competition and fundamental rights. The EU underlined the need to uphold a global, open, stable, peaceful and secure digital environment. Both sides agreed to continue their exchanges.

Background

At the 2020 EU-China summit in 22 June, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel stressed that the development of new digital technologies must go hand in hand with the respect of fundamental rights and data protection. The EU had also raised outstanding issues on cybersecurity and disinformation. The EU stands ready to cooperate with China based on principles of sustainability, reciprocity and level playing field.

The European Commission maintains an annual Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Dialogue with China at technical level, covering ICT and digital policies as well as regulatory issues, since 2009. ICT and digital economy are also closely linked with various EU-China trade and research related dialogues and cooperation activities, including   Horizon 2020. In addition, the European External Action Service and the Commission co-chair an EU-China Cyber Taskforce founded in 2012 with the objective of enhancing exchanges on cyber issues.

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