US-EU Trade and Technology Council meets for the first time

The United States and European Union met at the inaugural US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) meeting in Pittsburg in order to ‘coordinate their approaches to key global technology, economic, and trade issues; and to deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations, basing policies on shared democratic values.’ The TTC creates a diplomatic platform for the USA and the EU to work together on industrial and tech standards to counter China's rise in tech sectors and related global trade.

The outcome document, Pittsburgh Statement, is setting the stage for transatlantic cooperation addressing global issues related to technology for the years to come. The USA and the EU have agreed to sync their policy approaches in priority areas, coordinate their actions in international bodies, and partner with third countries to propel their shared policy goals. 

The EU and the USA declared their intent to promote shared economic growth, expand on the transatlantic trade and investment relationship, fight the climate crisis, protect the environment, promote workers’ rights, combat child and forced labour, expand resilient and sustainable supply chains, and expand cooperation on critical and emerging technologies. 

The USA and the EU also vowed to protect their respective economies from unfair trade practices, in particular those posed by non-market economies, that are undermining the world trading system.

With respect to the new and emerging technologies, the EU and the USA intend to cooperate on the development and deployment of new technologies that respect and strengthen democratic values, human rights, address the climate change crisis, and encourage compatible standards and regulations. 

Specifically, the USA and the EU ‘intend to cooperate to effectively address the misuse of technology, to protect our societies from information manipulation and interference, promote secure and sustainable international digital connectivity, and support human rights defenders.’

In order to achieve these aims, the EU and the USA will:

  • Maintain investment screening, e.i. exclude investments from portfolios based on social, environmental and governance criteria for the purposes of national security (US) and public order (EU). Both parties agreed on the principles of such screening, such as non-discrimination, transparency, accountability and the need for enforcement mechanisms and partnerships with other countries and stakeholders.
  • Implement export controls on dual-use items noting that ‘the potential applications of emerging technologies in the defense and security field raise important concerns, and recognize the need to address these risks.’ Agreeing on shared principles and areas of such export controls, parties committed to prior consultations to ensure that the application of export controls is transparent and equitable for the U.S. and EU exporters.
  • Develop and implement artificial intelligence technologies that are ‘innovative and trustworthy and that respect universal human rights and shared democratic values.’
  • Rebalancing of global semiconductor supply chains and strengthening their respective domestic semiconductor ecosystems. Both parties will aim to enhance their security of supply and capacity to design and produce semiconductors. The US and the EU acknowledged their ongoing, significant mutual dependencies, and common external dependencies.
  • Addressing global trade challenges, specifically non-market, trade-distortive policies and practices in a coordinated manner, including improvement of the domestic measures that address those policies and practices, and exploring ways to combat the negative effects of such policies and practices in third countries.
  • Involve diverse stakeholders in the work of the TTC.

The TTC has set up 10 working groups, each with their detailed agendas for the future: technology standards, climate and cleantech, secure supply chains, information and communication technology and services (ICTS) security and competitiveness, data governance and technology platforms, misuse of technology threatening security and human rights, export controls, investment screening, promoting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) access to and use of digital tools, and global trade challenges.

The TTC does not include talks on privacy and data transfers between the EU and the USA.  The document, however, addresses regulatory autonomy of the EU and the USA and proclaims respect for the different legal systems in both jurisdictions. It also anticipates regulatory alignment in the areas of cooperation.