US, EU establish trade and technology council to compete with China

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The United States and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday formally established a Trade and Technology Council (TTC) to coordinate on critical technology issues such as developing semiconductors, researching emerging fields and securing supply chains. 

The TTC was established as part of the U.S.-EU summit held Tuesday in Brussels and is intended to serve as a vehicle to compete with China on emerging technology issues.

The nations committed in the official summit statement to driving “digital transformation that spurs trade and investment, strengthens our technological and industrial leadership, boosts innovation, and protects and promotes critical and emerging technologies and infrastructure.”

“We plan to cooperate on the development and deployment of new technologies based on our shared democratic values, including respect for human rights, and that encourages compatible standards and regulations,” the statement read. 

The coalition noted that the TTC was meant to “kick-start” its agenda on trade and technology issues, with goals such as increasing international cooperation on technology supply chains, strengthening research partnerships and coordinating on standards development.

“The notion here is that the United States and Europe laid the foundation for the world economy after World War II 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,” a senior administration official told reporters Monday ahead of the summit. 

One issue the TTC will address is the semiconductor shortage, which has had a major negative impact on industries such as the automobile sector, with semiconductors used in everything from cars to mobile devices.  

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 statement read. 

The TTC will also address issues such as setting standards for artificial intelligence and internet-connected technologies, on promoting green technologies, on securing critical telecommunications systems, and on what the U.S. and the EU described as a “misuse of technology threatening security and human rights.”

According to the senior administration official, the TTC will be co-chaired by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.  

In addition to the TTC, the U.S.-EU summit also formally established a Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue to zero in on more cooperation in the tech sector on issues such as biotechnology and genomics. The group will also work to boost cybersecurity threat information sharing between the U.S. and the EU following a wave of cyberattacks.

“I think we have a lot to deal with, from COVID-19 to whether or not we’re in a position that we can generate the kind of strengthening in transatlantic trade and technological cooperation,” President Biden said at the summit’s plenary session on Tuesday. 

The senior administration official stressed to reporters the importance of the new groups in competing with China, noting that the country poses a “significant challenge” in the realms of trade and technology.

“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 official said. 

The U.S.-EU summit came on the heels of a meeting of the Group of Seven nations and of NATO, during which concerns about competition with China were discussed. China on Tuesday rebuked NATO for its critique, accusing it of having a “Cold War mentality.”

Tags Antony Blinken Biden China G-7 Gina Raimondo Joe Biden Katherine Tai NATO US-EU trade
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