Background

The U.S. and the European Union announced June 15 the establishment of a high-level Trade and Technology Council as part of a broader effort to renew their partnership and “set a joint transatlantic agenda for the post-pandemic era.” On the U.S. side the TTC will be co-chaired by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. A White House official said the TTC will engage in “intensive work … leading to regular leader-level engagement to ratify outcomes and develop a common strategy and way forward.”

According to a joint statement, the major goals of the TTC will include (1) expanding bilateral trade and investment, (2) avoiding new unnecessary technical barriers to trade, (3) strengthening global cooperation on technology, digital issues, and supply chains, (4) cooperating on compatible and international standards development, and (5) facilitating regulatory policy and enforcement cooperation and, where possible, convergence.

The TTC will initially include working groups focused on export controls, investment screening, technology standards cooperation (including on artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other emerging technologies), climate and green technology, information and communication technology security and competitiveness, data governance and technology platforms, the misuse of technology threatening security and human rights, global trade challenges, and strengthening critical supply chains (including for semiconductors).

Outside the scope of the TTC, the U.S. and EU said they plan to work together toward “meaningful World Trade Organization reform.” This will include advancing the proper functioning of the WTO’s negotiating function and dispute settlement system as well as updating the WTO rulebook with more effective disciplines on industrial subsidies, unfair behavior of state-owned enterprises, and other trade- and market-distorting practices.

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