EU-US Trade and Technology Council: strengthening our renewed partnership in turbulent times

(Source: European Commission)

The EU and the US have today reaffirmed their close cooperation to address global trade and technology challenges in line with their shared commitment to democracy, freedom and human rights. Meeting at the second Ministerial Meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Paris, both parties reiterated the central role of the TTC for the renewed transatlantic partnership, which has already served to coordinate joint measures being taken by the EU and the US in face of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Members of the College said:

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age and co-chair of the TTC, said: “Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has further underlined the key importance of our cooperation with the US on economic and technology issues. This cooperation goes beyond our reaction to the war. Together with our transatlantic partners, we can create a positive vision for our economies and for a democratic governance of the internet based on the dignity and integrity of the individual. When we act together, we can set the standards of tomorrow’s economy. We are joining forces and when two such determined partners take the lead, we can enable the tides to turn.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade and co-chair of the TTC, said: “I am delighted that at this second TTC meeting, we have agreed to expand our cooperation with the US to address new and emerging global trade challenges, working as trusted partners. We will work closely to secure our supply chains and boost global food security. We will build on our unprecedented transatlantic coordination on export controls against Russia to further align our approaches in this critical field, while also boosting trade with Ukraine. We will also cooperate on promoting green trade, for instance through green public procurement.”

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, added: “Transatlantic collaboration on supply chains and digital technologies is crucial to defend our common interests and values. Having successfully worked with the United States on supply chain bottlenecks for vaccine ingredients, I am pleased to see a joint ambition to strengthen supply chain resilience in other areas, from raw materials to semiconductors. The Paris summit is an important moment for the Trade and Technology Council to transform the transatlantic dialogue into concrete results.”

Key outcomes of the 2nd TTC Ministerial Meeting

Support to Ukraine

The TTC’s co-chairs expressed strong shared commitment to supporting Ukraine against Russian military aggression and agreed on concrete measures already delivered and to be further continued within the TTC. They also committed to work jointly with Ukraine to rebuild its economy and facilitate trade and investment.

Information integrity

They agreed to strengthen their cooperation to support information integrity in crisis situations, initially focusing on a common analytical framework for identifying Russia’s information manipulation and interference, which will lead to establishing a Cooperation Framework in all crisis situations.

Trade and Labour Dialogue

The co-chairs agreed to establish a tripartite Trade and Labour Dialogue in order to jointly promote internationally recognised labour rights, including the eradication of forced labour and child labour.

Export controls

Cooperation in the TTC has been instrumental for the swift and aligned deployment of export controls on advanced technologies such as aerospace and cyber surveillance to undermine Russia’s ability to further develop its industrial and military capabilities. Both parties committed to build on and enhance this strong collaboration.

Secure supply chains

With global supply chains further challenged by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, both parties agreed that close cooperation to advance the resilience of supply chains is more important than ever. For instance, the EU and US have agreed to develop a common early warning and monitoring mechanism on semiconductor value chains, to increase awareness of and preparedness for supply disruptions, and information exchange to avoid a subsidy race.

A dedicated taskforce on public financing for secure and resilient digital infrastructure in third countries shall also pave the way to joint US-EU public financing of digital projects in third-countries, based on a set of common overarching principles.

Technology standards

In the field of emerging technologies, the EU and the US have agreed to establish a Strategic Standardisation Information (SSI) mechanism to promote and defend common interests in international standardisation activities. Both sides will work to foster the development of aligned and interoperable technical standards in areas of shared strategic interest such as AI, additive manufacturing, recycling of materials, or Internet of Things

Artificial Intelligence

Both parties further discussed the implementation of common AI principles and agreed to develop a joint roadmap on evaluation and measurement tools for trustworthy AI and risk management.

Platform governance

The EU and the US also reaffirmed their support for an open, global, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet, in line with the Declaration for the Future of the Internet and the declaration on European digital rights and principles. Moreover, the EU and US agreed to strengthen cooperation on key aspects of platform governance.

SMEs access to technology

The EU and US published today a joint best practice guide with resources for how SMEs can become more cybersecure.

Environmental and climate aspects of trade and technology

Promoting sustainability is an overarching ambition for the TTC. In that spirit, Ministers agreed to work on trade and environment/climate issues, including on fostering a better understanding of the role that trade can play in facilitating the dissemination of environmental goods and services; a closer cooperation on green public procurement and work on common methodologies for carbon footprinting.

Trade barriers

Ministers agreed to work together on solutions that will help increase transatlantic trade and investment, including through increased cooperation on government procurement and conformity assessment, and exchanges on potential new trade barriers both bilaterally and in relation to third countries. They also agreed to coordinate their efforts to address non-market policies, while seeking to avoid collateral consequences on one another.

Background

The European Union and the United States announced the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (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. The inaugural meeting of the TTC took place on 29 September 2021. Following the meeting, 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 in before the end of 2022 in the United States.

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