Russia’s war in Ukraine dominates EU-US trade and tech talks

The two sides also reaffirmed their support for an open, global, interoperable, reliable and secure internet - which is in line with the declaration on the future of the internet initiated by Washington and signed by Brussels at the end of April. [Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock]

Russia’s war in Ukraine has been at the centre of the ongoing Trade and Technology Council (TTC) in Paris, on which the EU and the US gave a second update on Monday (16 May). EURACTIV France reports.

The TTC was launched last September in Pittsburgh with the aim of becoming a permanent transatlantic exchange platform for Brussels and Washington to align themselves on international trade and emerging technologies.

So far, European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager has reported on work that is both “intangible” and “very concrete”.

However, this time, the discussions would centre around Russia’s war in Ukraine – something that was anticipated by EURACTIV last week after it had obtained the draft conclusions of the CTC held on Sunday and Monday (15-16 May) in Paris.

According to the meeting’s final conclusions, “the world has changed dramatically since the first TTC meeting in Pittsburgh on 29 September 2021.”

The EU and the US “remain committed to defending Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”, the document writes, noting that the TTC had “fostered the unprecedented level of cooperation on export controls and sanctions in response to the renewed Russian invasion of Ukraine”.

The two blocs agreed to ban the export of advanced technology equipment which is “not multilaterally controlled and could have potential military application” to Russia and Belarus.

They also recalled “the importance of an open and fair multilateral rules-based system and the need to reform the WTO.”

The environmental transition was not absent from the discussions as both blocs agreed to work more closely to align their green public procurement policies.

“If green public procurement is done properly, it can facilitate the green transition. If it is done in the wrong way, it can be a tool for protectionism,” stressed EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

LEAK: Russia main focus of upcoming transatlantic TTC summit

The confrontation with Russia will be at the centre of the next high-level meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC), according to the draft conclusions obtained by EURACTIV.

Many initiatives

The conclusions also include the findings of each of the TTC’s 10 working groups, which outline a range of new and upcoming initiatives.

In particular, the issue of supply chains, disrupted by the situation in Eastern Europe, has renewed the resolve of both parties to strengthen their cooperation. The EU and the US thus intend to set up an alert and monitoring system for semiconductor production to anticipate supply disruptions.

The two also agreed to a similar approach regarding platform regulation. It should be done via a “structured policy dialogue on key emerging platform governance issues, including competition in digital markets,” according to the agreement.

The two sides also reaffirmed their support for an open, global, interoperable, reliable and secure internet – which is in line with the declaration on the future of the internet initiated by Washington and signed by Brussels at the end of April.

US, EU and Western allies to subscribe to democratic principles of the internet

This article was updated with a correction on Hungary’s position.

Washington is promoting a declaration on the future of the internet, outlining a series of democratic principles in an initiative set to receive the support of the EU and other Western …

However, the final conclusions do not mention the EU’s flagship Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA).

The Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework, the follow-up to the invalidated EU-US Privacy Shield, was not also not featured in the conclusions despite it having been announced at the start of April.

Brussels told journalists last week that this agreement was being finalised outside the TTC.

The conclusions instead point to the creation of the Strategic Standardisation Information, which aims to encourage cooperation in the field.

On artificial intelligence, the final document reaffirms the common desire for “a risk-based approach” and mentions the European Commission’s proposal, which is set to become a reference in the market. The conclusions pointed to the working group currently working to “develop a joint roadmap on evaluation and measurement tools for trustworthy AI and risk management.”

The US will host the TTC’s third meeting in December.

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[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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