The confrontation with Russia will be at the center of the upcoming high-level meeting of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TCC), according to draft conclusions obtained by EURACTIV.
European Commission Executive Vice-Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis will meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Paris-Saclay on Monday (May 16) for the second meeting of the transatlantic platform.
The CCT was launched last September to establish a permanent platform for Brussels and Washington to converge on key policy topics related to global trade and emerging technologies. However, according to the draft conclusions, the next meeting will mainly focus on condemning Russia.
“The world has changed dramatically since the first meeting of the Trade and Technology Council in Pittsburgh on September 29, 2021. The European Union and the United States strongly condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine”reads the second point of the joint statement.
According to two sources knowledgeable on this subject, the focus on Russia is intended to focus on what brings the EU and the United States together. Discussions on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), recently passed by the EU, as well as on the cloud have been removed from the program.
The document also includes the conclusions of the working groups, which have progressed to varying degrees.
The document refers to the recently signed Declaration for the Future of the Internet, which commits the EU, the United States and thirty other countries to adopt a common vision of digital technologies, in particular to counter the growing influence of China in standardization bodies.
However, cooperation on technical standards has been slow in the context of the CTC. The exchange of information in this area has only just begun with the establishment of a Strategic Standardization Information Mechanism (SSI) between the EU and the United States.
“We are committed to exchanging information and exploring opportunities for collaboration in our research and development programs, particularly in relation to artificial intelligence (AI), telecommunications technologies beyond 5G and 6G, and quantum computing. Given that 6G will be critical global infrastructure, common approaches to international 6G standards are particularly relevant.”can we read in the text.
Misuse of technology
One of the areas that has progressed the most since the inception of the CCT is the misuse of technology for coercion, surveillance and cyber-malicious purposes. In this area, the focus has been on Russia’s manipulation of information, with reference to government-mandated internet shutdowns.
Online platforms are also singled out as vectors for spreading and amplifying illegal and dangerous practices, echoing similar wording in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet.
The conclusions provide for the establishment of an information integrity cooperation protocol in the event of a crisis, intended to coordinate the management of risks related to the governance of data and platforms in times of crisis, starting with the Russian aggression against Ukraine.
The document also underlines the will to develop analytical tools to identify the manipulation of information by foreign powers and to fight against Russian disinformation campaigns in third countries.
“We are acutely aware that traded technologies can play a central role in the ability of autocratic countries to implement authoritarian policies, perpetrate human rights violations and abuses, engaging in other forms of repression and undermining the security of other nations”indicates the document.
To deal with this problem, the transatlantic partners have made good progress in terms of export controls. Initially, these discussions were blocked by the resistance of the countries of central and eastern Europe, open to Chinese investments, but the war in Ukraine has made this subject a priority.
The TCC has formed a platform for a “unprecedented co-ordination” in export control by supporting the exchange of information on dual-use technologies for both partners.
Control of high-risk investments and suppliers
The Russian aggression against Ukraine has also highlighted the importance of having trusted technology providers for each of the two transatlantic partners. A notorious case is that of Kaspersky, the Russian antivirus software company that was added to a “watch list” in several Western countries.
Although the conclusions include a joint statement on the importance of addressing the security risks of high-risk suppliers and encouraging supplier diversity, progress on cooperation in controlling investments in sensitive technologies remains limited. .
To remedy this, the conclusions announce the creation of a working group dedicated to public funding, including by international financial institutions, of secure connectivity in third countries, aimed at promoting the use of trusted providers.
Supply chain resilience is another topic that has accelerated Ukraine’s crisis, including neodymium, a rare earth magnet, solar panel supply chains and semiconductors.
The EU and the United States have announced legal measures aimed at strengthening their autonomy in terms of chips. At the same time, the two partners reaffirmed their intention to cooperate on early warning of semiconductor shortages and to avoid a subsidy race.
The summit organized in France should also announce the creation of a sub-group dedicated to artificial intelligence, in particular to develop “a common roadmap on assessment and measurement tools for trustworthy AI and risk management, as well as a common project on privacy-enhancing technologies”.
A third TCC meeting is scheduled for December in the United States.