15 May 2023

Enhancing Transatlantic Cooperation in the Digital Age: concrete recommendations for the EU-US Trade & Tech Council

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council ministerial meeting in Luleå is taking place at a critical time, with rising tensions around the world and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. There is pressure on the TTC to deliver concrete actions to deepen the collaboration and strengthening ties in trade and technology.

Both EU and U.S. economies are suffering from unnecessary barriers to trade and discriminatory policies that limit the positive impacts for consumers and global competitiveness. TTC leaders must steer away from barriers towards growth in transatlantic investments and business opportunities to create lasting benefits for citizens and economies.

 

Recommendations

Transatlantic AI alignment

As a concrete TTC deliverable, the Joint Roadmap for Trustworthy AI and Risk Management has set the path for progress and a strong commitment to the risk-based approach to AI regulation. As the EU is making progress on the EU AI Act and discussions in the U.S. evolve, we urge TTC principals to strengthen their commitment to risk-based regulation and the development of shared terminologies and taxonomies and to assess uses of AI and the risk associated with them in an evidence-based way.

 

AI standards cooperation

Standards will form a critical element of AI regulation and governance. Development of, and alignment to international standards in relation to AI governance, evaluation and risk management will be an important part of advancing alignment across regulatory regimes in a manner that also allows countries to develop regimes tailored to their own domestic environments.

  • Key standards such as ISO/IEC 22989 on AI Terminology, ISO/IEC 38507 on AI Governance Implications, ISO/IEC 23894 on AI Risk Management have been published, and other foundational standards are forthcoming: ISO/IEC 42001 on AI Management Systems (expected publication Fall 2023), ISO/IEC 42005 on AI System Impact Assessments (expected 2024).

We recommend that countries commit to using these standards to inform regulatory development, including recognizing alignment to these standards as providing presumption of conformity with relevant regulatory requirements. We also call on countries to collaborate in advancing international standards in other important areas of AI, including the evaluation and measurement of AI systems.

 

AI sandboxing

As industry, we can add our know-how and make concrete contributions to this process: Through sandboxing the EU AI Act with European SMEs, DIGITALEUROPE is road-testing the proposal. We believe this initiative holds great promise as a future TTC deliverable, encouraging evidence-based policymaking by testing scalable, science-based methods to advance trustworthy approaches to AI.

Shared terminologies and taxonomies are key enablers towards creating a high trust and high innovation transatlantic space for AI innovation. We urge the TTC to study the use and uptake of AI in the EU and U.S. economy, with a focus on the role of general purpose AI systems.

 

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become ever more central since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. All the more, EU-US collaboration, in the EU-US Cyber Dialogue, is crucial to coordinate action to prevent, detect, and respond to malicious cyber activities. We call on the TTC to create a conducive environment that rewards stakeholders for their efforts in combating cybersecurity threats and disinformation.

We observe an increase in local content, ‘sovereignty’ or ‘immunity’ requirements negatively impacting market access, data flows and trust among transatlantic partners. It is imperative that sovereignty policy motivations are addressed in ways that avoids creating trade-offs with the security and economic objectives of nation states, and do not conflict with international commitments, such as WTO GATS and GPA. We urge the TTC to maintain an inclusive and non-discriminatory approach allowing highest security standards to prevail while strengthening mutual trust and resilient trade in services.

 

 

Green transatlantic marketplace and clean tech standards

Green transatlantic marketplace

The TTC should promote a green transatlantic marketplace and clean tech standards by facilitating access to incentive schemes and preventing discrimination. Investing in digital products and services that help accelerate decarbonisation is crucial for reducing global CO2 emissions.

The Clean Energy Incentives Dialogue should coordinate incentive programs and explore synergies. The TTC needs to deliver a transatlantic framework how digital technologies can decarbonize economies at large. This framework should include joint R&D programs, enhanced data-sharing initiatives for sustainability, and green digital skills.

Clean tech standards

The TTC should promote transatlantic collaboration on setting international standards for carbon footprint measurement and digital enablement, such as the Digital Product Passport (DPP).

The High-Level Forum and the Multi-Stakeholder Platform for ICT through which DIGITALEUROPE promotes international standardisation cooperation should encourage EU participation in international standard setting bodies, especially for digital products and services. Leveraging existing agreements between the European Committee for Standardization and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization and their international counterparts is essential.

The TTC can support better collaboration between European and international standardisation bodies based on scientific principles and encourage international cooperation. The TTC can also assist the High-Level Forum by providing guidance and funding to increase awareness and support for Europe’s participation in international standardisation activities. As a member of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform, DIGITALEUROPE seeks to increase EU funding and support for accommodating participation in international standardisation bodies.

 

Raw materials

The demand for Critical Raw Materials will increase 15 times in a fast-rollout scenario of digital technologies. The TTC should advance shared EU-US objectives to enhance supply chain resilience through a Critical Raw Materials Agreement.

We welcome the Critical Raw Materials Club as a concrete deliverable and structured way of collaborating with like-minded partners.

 

6G

The EU and the US both have the potential to develop crucial 6G technologies and align their research and development efforts through a joint transatlantic 6G research vision. An open and interoperable architecture should be the foundation of 6G, prioritizing functionality, performance, energy efficiency and security.

  • To facilitate the realization of a joint 6G vision, a shared roadmap including joint research activities, a joint support for industry-lead, WTO/TBT compliant open global standards and a joint support for spectrum in extended mid band (7-15GHz) as key prerequisite for 6G should be agreed in TTC4, with a set time plan and a follow-up on progress in subsequent TTC summits.

 

Human Rights Due Diligence

Upholding human rights and worker rights in supply chains are part of our transatlantic values. Building upon the first meeting of the EU-US Trade and Labor Dialogue (TALD), the TTC should continue to promote a global alignment of regulatory approaches looking at due diligence and eradicating forced labour in global trade and supply chains, grounded in international standards such as the UNGP, the OECD Guidelines for MNEs and ILO Conventions.

 

Connectivity cooperation in third countries

Secure and energy-efficient digital connectivity is crucial for achieving sustainability targets and advancing economies in third countries. Efforts are needed to modernize legacy networks, to extend advanced trusted connectivity to those without access and to work on international connectivity. Trusted connectivity collaboration between the EU and the US is welcomed and should be based on technology-neutral, and non-discriminatory terms promoting technology competition for the benefit of the end-users. To this end, TTC4 should identify additional joined connectivity projects in third countries.

 

Export Controls Cooperation

EU-US cooperation and alignment of their export controls systems and policies is necessary to address their economic security concerns in an efficient manner. For these reasons, the EU and the US should use TTC forum to align and promote multilateral export controls. They should also seek to facilitate lawful exports by reducing double applicable jurisdiction and administrative burden associated with re-exports.

In the spirit of the OECD Ministerial Declaration on Responsible Business Conduct and the recommendations of the WG10 due diligence roundtable, both sides should create a specific working group to take stock of existing and forthcoming minerals supply chain due diligence legislation with the goal of achieving global policy coherence.

 

Talent for Growth

The need for digital skills is growing at a rapid pace, and jobs cannot be filled fast enough. By 2025, we expect 3,5 million open cybersecurity jobs globally. As the EU has set 2023 as the European Year of Skills, both partners have a unique opportunity through the newly created EU-US Talent for Growth Task force to boost activities to upskill and reskill the workforce on both sides of the Atlantic, including in EU neighbourhood countries, with critical digital and cyber skills.

 

Conclusion

The EU-US TTC can play a vital role in not only delivering for a prosperous and strong transatlantic relationship but also a mutually beneficial transatlantic economy. To do so it is crucial to identify and address non-tariff barriers to transatlantic trade, informed by businesses. DIGITALEUROPE reiterates its call to address the most challenging topics such as the risk of digital protectionism, emerging fragmentation and trade barriers. We also urge leaders to promote a level playing field in the green transatlantic marketplace by promoting common growth strategies. We support the enhancement of supply chain resilience. The same is true for enhancing our shared cyber resilience jointly with the EU-US Cyber Dialogue.

With this paper, we renew our call for concrete deliverables at the next TTC Ministerial. Stakeholder engagement remains mission-critical for the TTC and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the TTC. We remain committed to driving EU-US cooperation forward and making the transatlantic relationship a partnership of ‘Tech Allies’.

For more information, please contact
Joël Guschker
Senior Manager for International Affairs & Trade Policy
Back to Digital trade
View the complete Policy Paper
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