On September 29, 2021, the inaugural meeting of the United States–European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) met to discuss and establish “common principles to update the rules for the 21st century economy.” Attending were U.S. Co-Chairs, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and EU Co-Chairs European Commission Executive Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis. The TTC was established during the U.S.-EU summit in June 2021 under the new Biden administration as one commitment to renew their transatlantic partnership and initially discuss a Joint Transatlantic Agenda for “regular dialogue to take stock of progress.” See Update of June 17, 2021. Ambassador Tai emphasized during the meeting that the TTC is an important platform for assuring that the United States and the EU “remain global leaders in technology and innovation, projecting our shared democratic values internationally, and protecting fundamental labor rights.”
At the conclusion of the TTC meeting, the U.S. and EU issued a Joint Statement reaffirming TTC’s objectives: to coordinate approaches to key global technology, economic, and trade issues; and deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations, basing policies on shared democratic values. As a result of this first meeting, the U.S. and EU announced close coordination on a set of critical economic and technology issues, including:
- Global trade challenges and addressing non-market, trade distortive practices: Seek to strengthen U.S.-EU competitiveness and technological leadership by developing common strategies to mitigate the impact of non-market practices at home and in third countries and by working to avoid new and unnecessary barriers to trade, especially in products and services derived from emerging technologies. The U.S. and EU also intend to use various tools to protect workers and labor rights, combat forced and child labor, and consult on relevant trade, climate, and environmental issues.
- Semiconductor supply chains: Intend to enhance cooperation on measures to advance transparency and communication in the semiconductor supply chain and identify gaps, shared vulnerabilities, and opportunities to strengthen our domestic semiconductor R&D and manufacturing ecosystems with a view to improving resilience in the semiconductor supply chain.
- Investment screening: Intend to exchange information on investment trends affecting security, including industry specific trends, origin of investments, and types of transactions, and on best practices with respect to analyzing and addressing risk, with a focus on sensitive technologies and related sensitive data.
- Export Controls: Determine shared principles and areas for export control cooperation, including capacity building assistance to third countries to support multilateral export control regimes, prior consultations on current and upcoming legislative and regulatory developments, and developing convergent control approaches on sensitive dual-use technologies.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): Develop and implement AI systems that are innovative and trustworthy and that respect universal human rights and shared democratic values, explore cooperation on AI technologies designed to enhance privacy protections, and undertake an economic study examining the impact of AI on the future of our workforces.
In a post-meeting news conference, Secretary Blinken noted the United States and EU represent two of the world’s largest economies and, thus, “have a unique ability to help shape the norms, the standards, the rules that will govern the way technology is used, the technology that affects the lives of virtually all of our citizens. We have an ability to set the pace, to set the standard.” While the next meeting of the TTC has not been announced, the Joint Statement does provide details for the future focus and scope of work for each of the 10 TTC Working Groups.