30 Sep 2021

Nine key takeaways from the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council inaugural joint statement

The Pittsburgh statement is a good basis for the future work of the Trade and Technology Council, particularly in its commitment to foster a more inclusive and sustainable digital transformation and to engage all stakeholders. Nine key points stand out from the text.

 

DIGITALEUROPE Director-General Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl intervening at the Trade and Technology Council meeting on 29 September 2021. Credits: U.S. Department of State.

 

  1. A common approach to artificial intelligence (AI). The commitment to increased cooperation on trustworthy AI (including a risk-based approach) and other emerging technologies is positive. Its successful outcome will rely on both solid principles and clear technical guidance fine-tuned through a dedicated expert group.
  1. Cybersecurity. While the statement commits to strengthen cybersecurity, no mention is made of working towards interoperability of frameworks or coordinating investment in cybersecurity R&I through a dialogue with NATO.
  1. Green technologies. The statement recognises the enabling potential of digital technologies in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and pledges to promote their deployment. This is a step in the right direction and we encourage the European Commission to incorporate this approach in its own Green Deal work plan.
  1. Semiconductor shortage, supply chain resilience and R&D. The US CHIPS Act and the planned EU Chips Act clearly show the urgent need to address global semiconductor supply chains and the Pittsburgh statement somewhat acknowledges this. The TTC must now set itself the target of increasing the capacity in the semiconductor sector, including through greater public funding.
  1. Compliance and conformity. The TTC wants to foster the adoption of internationally compatible standards. It must now lay out a plan for EU-US collaboration on product certification, compliance, testing, documentation and reporting duties.
  1. A safer internet. In addressing misuse of technology, the TTC should build upon efforts already made in Europe, such as the Digital Services Act (DSA), towards enhanced collaboration leading to a safer online environment.
  1. Export controls. We welcome the commitment to promote convergent export control approaches to dual-use technologies, drawing on the strength of existing multilateral solutions and regimes such as the Wassenaar agreement.
  1. Digital skills and inclusion. We welcome the commitment to accelerating the uptake of digital tools particularly among SMEs for their digital inclusion, which is vital to their scalability and competitiveness. This also depends on the establishment of a reliable framework for transatlantic data transfers, the lack of which disproportionately affects SMEs.
  1. Bringing all stakeholders to the table. Businesses have invaluable experience in dealing with diverging regulations on digital technologies. The Pittsburgh statement clearly recognizes the value of the industry’s input. DIGITALEUROPE welcomes the opportunity to provide our expertise at high-level and calls for formalized civil society representation in Working Groups (WGs).
For more information, please contact:
Chris Ruff
Director for Political Outreach & Communications
Tsai-wei Chao-Muller
Director for Digital Technology, Innovation & Trade Policy
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