On June 15, 2021, the United States and European Union (EU) issued a joint Summit Statement trumpeting a “renewed transatlantic partnership” at the conclusion of President Joseph Biden’s first trip abroad as president.  The statement establishes a Joint Transatlantic Agenda “for the post-pandemic era, and … regular dialogue to take stock of progress.”  The leaders committed to: (i) end the COVID-19 pandemic and “prepare for future global health challenges, and drive forward a sustainable global recovery”; (ii) protect the Earth and foster green growth; (iii) strengthen trade, investment and technological cooperation; and (iv) “build a more democratic, peaceful, and secure world.”  They also committed to uphold and advance “the rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core, reinvigorate and reform multilateral institutions where needed, and cooperate with all those who share these objectives”.

While broadly addressing trade, investment and technology cooperation, the U.S. and EU have committed to “drive 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.”  In doing so, a U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council will be established to focus on:

  • growing bilateral trade and investment relationships;
  • avoiding new unnecessary technical barriers to trade;
  • coordinating, seeking common ground, and strengthening global cooperation on technology, digital issues and supply chains;
  • supporting collaborative research and exchanges;
  • cooperating on compatible and international standards development;
  • facilitating regulatory policy and enforcement cooperation and, where possible, convergence;
  • promoting innovation and leadership by U.S. and EU firms; and
  • strengthening other areas of cooperation.

Regarding U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports implemented under former President Donald Trump and the resulting EU retaliatory tariffs, the statement notes that the United States and EU will engage in discussions to resolve existing differences “before the end of the year” and to “resolve tensions arising from the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU”.  The parties are committed to ensuring the long-term viability of U.S. and EU steel and aluminum industries and to addressing excess global capacity.

On other trade issues, the statement mentions (i) the recent Cooperative Framework addressing the longstanding U.S.-EU World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute involving large civil aircraft (see Update of June 15, 2021); (ii) plans to work cooperatively toward meaningful WTO reform; (iii) efforts to foster a fair and modern international tax system (see Update of June 2, 2021); (iv) coordination on shared concerns regarding China and ongoing human rights violations and respecting international law; (v) a “principled approach” toward Russia and its “repeating pattern of negative behavior and harmful activities”; (vi) opposition to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and (vii) the facilitation of the return of the United States to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as well as the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by Iran.