US and EU agree to work on chip supplies, technology rules and trade with China
PITTSBURGH / WASHINGTON, Sept.29 (Reuters) – The United States and the European Union on Wednesday agreed to deepen transatlantic cooperation to strengthen semiconductor supply chains, curb China’s non-market business practices and take a more unified approach to regulate large global technology companies.
At the launch of a new forum, the US-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC), senior officials from both continents also pledged to cooperate on screening investments over controls export for sensitive dual-use technologies and the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
The statement did not mention China but said, “We stand in solidarity to continue to protect our businesses, consumers and workers from unfair trade practices, especially those posed by non-market economies, which undermine the world trading system.”
The Biden administration has maintained the tariffs imposed by former US President Donald Trump, but has sought to differentiate itself by working more with its allies in its approach to China.
The meetings were chaired by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, EU Trade Manager Valdis Dombrovskis and EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
They met at a robotics and AI technology development center built inside the rusty skeleton of an old steel rolling mill topped with solar panels, a symbol of Pittsburgh’s post-industrial renaissance as a technology hub. .
The meeting was nearly derailed by French anger over a US decision this month to supply Australia with nuclear submarines, prompting Canberra to cancel a $ 40 billion submarine contract with France.
But the governments of the United States and the EU backed a joint statement to strengthen semiconductor supply chains, focusing initially on reducing bottlenecks in the short term and later on l ‘identifying long-term vulnerabilities and “strengthening our national semiconductor ecosystems, from research to design to manufacturing, with a view to improving resilience.” Read more
They said they would work to avoid a subsidy race to attract investment in chips and seek “the right incentives.”
The statement did not specify a timeline for a second TTC meeting, but EU officials said it would likely take place in spring 2022 in Europe.
GREAT TECHNICAL POWER
Reuters was the first to report a draft statement revealing a more unified approach to limiting the growing market power of Big Techs. This was echoed in the final statement which identified common areas of concern such as illegal and harmful content amplified by algorithms.
“We pledge to cooperate at the transatlantic level on platform policies that focus on disinformation, product safety, counterfeit products and other harmful content,” the statement said.
As the United States and Europe attempt to restrain the growing power of American tech giants such as Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon ( AMZN.O), such cooperation will make it more difficult for the US tech industry to fight against the new rules.
Vestager, who has taken a strong stance on the U.S. tech industry for years, said the AI discussions were among the most important to take away from the meeting.
“Minds are coming together to make artificial intelligence trustworthy, human-centered and have a risk-based approach,” Vestager told reporters after the meeting.
The new technical and business council has formed 10 working groups to deepen cooperation in these and other areas that include climate and clean technology, communication technology security and the misuse of technology to suppress rights. of man.
Several tech trade groups in Washington have said the industry does not want the United States to adopt the European approach to digital regulation.
EU officials said meeting attendees did not discuss one of the biggest transatlantic trade irritants – US tariffs on steel and aluminum that have led to retaliation from the EU on bourbon whiskey and American motorcycles.
On Tuesday, Dombrovskis said time was running out for the parties to reach an agreement before the end-November deadline, but added that the EU was ready to consider similar agreements reached by Canada and Mexico that would lift the US tariffs on their steel and aluminum exports to the United States in 2019.
Reporting by David Lawder in Pittsburgh, Nandita Bose in Washington; Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Editing by David Gregorio and Christopher Cushing
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