EU-US Trade and Technology Council addresses common challenges and responds to global crises

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


Today, the EU and the US held the third Ministerial Meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in College Park, Maryland.

The TTC is a key forum to deepen transatlantic cooperation to facilitate trade and develop global standards on technology and security. Geostrategic challenges, including Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine, have reinforced the importance of close coordination under the TTC.

The meeting was co-chaired by Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, and European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, and on the US side by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Both sides took stock of the work of the EU-US Task Force on the Inflation Reduction Act, where the EU reiterated its strong concerns related to, inter alia, its discriminatory provisions and distortive subsidies. The TTC noted the preliminary progress made. The EU looks forward to the US addressing its concerns constructively.

Key outcomes of the third TTC Ministerial Meeting

Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity

In the current tense geopolitical environment, risks are increasing for critical Internet infrastructures. The EU and the US will seek to facilitate projects that strengthen the resilience of infrastructures such as strategic overland and subsea cables. Both parties are also supporting secure and resilient digital connectivity in partner countries. As a first step, over one thousand public schools and children’s homes in Jamaica will be connected and a similar project will be developed in Kenya, in partnership with the government, to build fibre optic connections to schools in remote areas.

Cooperation on emerging technologies

Both sides of the Atlantic share the same approach on emerging technologies. They agreed on a joint roadmap to develop common tools and standards for trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI). Both parties will work on joint standards in critical areas such as post-quantum encryption and cybersecurity of the Internet of Things (IoT). The EU and the US also plan to work together on quantum research and development to promote trade and to address obstacles in the transatlantic exchanges.

To advance the uptake of electric vehicles, the US and the EU will prepare a common international standard on megawatt charging systems for heavy-duty vehicles to be adopted by 2024. The EU and the US also intend to develop in 2023 recommendations for public electro-mobility charging infrastructure.

Building resilient semiconductor supply chains

Russian aggression against Ukraine has put considerable pressure on global supply chains. Today, the EU and US signed two agreements: an early warning mechanism to address and mitigate semiconductor supply chain disruptions cooperatively, and a commitment to unprecedented levels of reciprocal transparency on semiconductor subsidies, in order to avoid a subsidy race.

Promoting our values worldwide and reaching out to our partners

The EU and the US promote their values worldwide via an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet, as reflected in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. of the EU and US have adopted a joint statement on protecting human rights defenders online and present the first report of the group of experts they have tasked to study the impact on citizens of government-imposed Internet shutdowns.

Both parties agreed to cooperate on pooling digital resources such as AI models and computing power to address key challenges in the fields of climate change and extreme weather forecasting, health, or smart agriculture, and make these public goods available to partner countries.

Stepping up transatlantic work toward sustainable trade

The EU and the US agreed to launch the Transatlantic initiative on Sustainable Trade. This initiative will enhance work across the TTC that strives to support the transition to a low-carbon economy and to increase trade and investment of “green” goods and services. Both sides intend to explore areas of cooperation where there is opportunity to decarbonise our energy intensive industries and facilitate the deployment of goods and services essential to the transition to more circular, and net-zero economies.

Enhancing security though export controls and investment screening

Cooperation in the TTC has been instrumental for the swift and aligned deployment of export controls on advanced technologies against Russia. The EU and the US agreed to further cooperate in this field, particularly with respect to information sharing. Discussions continue on investment screening, with a focus on security risks posed by certain investments in sensitive technologies. Parties also agreed to explore policy tools which could be used to address non-market economic policies and practices, as well as explore possibilities for joint efforts to address economic coercion.

Further growing transatlantic trade

Transatlantic trade is the biggest bilateral trade relationship in the world and massively benefits both economies with over a trillion euros worth of annual trade. Ministers agreed to help grow transatlantic trade further by giving new impetus to extend the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Marine Equipment and to expand the MRA on pharmaceuticals (vaccines). Furthermore, ministers supported the efforts on conformity assessment, starting with discussions on the machinery sector.

Both parties will also explore using digitalisation to ease transatlantic trade. Ministers supported the idea of digitalising existing MRAs, increasing their attractiveness. Finally, the two sides will engage in a pilot project on digital tools initiatives that help to decrease trade-related red tape.

Nurturing Talent for the Digital Transition

Fostering digital skills and talent is a key pillar of the digital transition. The EU and the US intend to launch a Talent for Growth Task Force such as the Digital skills and jobs coalition that will bring together government and private sector leaders from business, labour, and organisations providing training.

Background

The EU and the US launched the TTC at their summit in Brussels on 15 June 2021. The TTC serves as a forum for the EU and the US to coordinate approaches to address key trade and technology issues, and to deepen transatlantic cooperation in this realm based on shared democratic values. 10 working groups were set up covering issues such as standards, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, export controls and global trade challenges. The next meeting of the TTC is planned for mid-2023 and will be hosted by the EU.

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