towards renewal of transatlantic cooperation in economic, digital and geostrategic issues

The context of the creation of the Council, the ambitious roadmaps of previous editions and the challenges to achieve these strategic goals during this 3rd edition.

On December 5, 2022, the 3rd edition of the Trade and Technology Council, “CTT”, is held. The perfect opportunity to return to this political institution for transatlantic cooperation between the European Union and the United States, as well as the challenges of this new edition.

Trade and Technology Council

The idea of ​​creating a Trade and Technology Council comes in the summer of 2020, when European Commissioner Phil Hogan told the Donald Trump administration that Europe wants to restore relations between the United States and Europe. a political body for transatlantic cooperation dedicated to coordinating the commercial, regulatory and regulatory agendas of emerging technologies.

A proposal ignored by the American administration until the victory of the Democrats in November 2020, and the American will renew diplomatic, political and commercial relations with Europe, especially on new technologies. A desire realized with the announcement of the “New Transatlantic Agenda for Global Change” on December 2, 2020, placing the Trade and Technology Council at the center of the implementation of the expanded cooperation program.

Overall, the purpose of the CTC, according to the European Commission, is to “improve trade and investment, strengthen technological and industrial leadership, stimulate innovation, promote emerging technologies and infrastructures, and promote appropriate standards and regulations based on common democratic values.” For this, the CCT has specifically identified a number of priority topics, such as artificial intelligence, promoting an open and secure internet, as well as combating disinformation.

An ambitious roadmap: The first two editions of CCT

The Trade and Technology Council has previously met twice: in Pittsburgh in September 2021 and again in Paris in May 2022.

  • During the first meeting of the CCT, the ten different working groups that made up it met for the first time to define their goals and organization. Each of these ten groups focuses on an important aspect of transatlantic cooperation:

> Technological standards.

> Climate and clean technologies.

> Secure supply chains.

> Security and competitiveness of information and communication technologies.

> Data and platform management.

> Misuse of technology that threatens human rights or security.

> Export control.

> Investment planning.

> Promotion of access to digital technologies for small and medium-sized enterprises.

> Issues related to international trade.

The first edition of the Trade and Technology Council thus resulted in a 17-page joint statement that laid out the TTC’s scope through the work of its ten constituent groups. The ambition demonstrated by this declaration exceeded the expectations of many observers for this new international political body. In addition to the ceremonial opening of the CCT, this first edition made it possible to identify agreements, especially on the regulation of dual-use technologies (civilian and military), resilience against attempts by foreign investors to take control of strategic assets, or ensuring the security of strategic assets. semiconductor supply chain.

  • The second edition of the Trade and Technology Council in May 2022 was strongly influenced by the geopolitical news of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Thus, the support of the European Union and the United States to Ukraine was reflected in many discussed topics, as well as in the press release related to the second meeting of the National Council of Ministers of Ukraine. Also, the first major measure adopted in this framework is called “Support to Ukraine”, which is formulated as follows:

“The TCC co-chairs expressed their strong commitment to support Ukraine against Russia’s military aggression and agreed on concrete steps that have already been taken and will be implemented within the framework of the TCC. They also pledged to work with Ukraine to restore its economy and facilitate trade and investment.”

The topic of support for Ukraine and the fight against Russian expansion also diluted all the ideas of the working groups. The joint statement resulting from this second edition is available here.

Challenges of the third edition: towards the realization of the objectives?

The third edition of the Trade and Technology Council begins on 05 December 2022. After the successful first two editions, thanks to the ambition shown by the MNT roadmap and the close cooperation on the Ukraine issue, this third edition aims to achieve the goals set by the various working groups and demonstrate the concrete and real impact of the measures proposed by the MNT carries

Several important themes have been identified for this third edition. Thus, Europe and the United States intend to make progress on the issue of digital infrastructure within third countries, starting with the signing of an initiative on this subject with Jamaica and Kenya (two countries facing Russian and Chinese influence).

The transatlantic collaboration also aims to strengthen AI by defining a joint roadmap aimed at outlining tools and methodologies for AI-related risk management, a first step towards achieving a “trusted” AI standard.

Among other points of interest at the third edition of the Trade and Technology Council, the issue of submarine cables (providing intercontinental Internet connectivity) was discussed by the relevant working group. Thus, it is reported that discussions are being held regarding the implementation of alternative routes that will connect Europe, North America and Asia. This phrase is particularly relevant to the project that Europe has put forward since December 2021, which aims to connect Europe to Japan (and therefore more to Asia) through submarine cables passing through Alaska. . In addition to lower latency due to the shorter distance of this route compared to existing cables, the link from Alaska will represent a major geostrategic asset for Europe. Indeed, such an alternative route would be the first to connect Europe to Asia without going through the Suez Canal, which currently represents a particularly dangerous point of failure given Russia’s influence in the area.

If Europe is pushing for the financing of this project for the reasons we have just explained, American support has not yet been clearly obtained, given the significant resources needed to implement it (estimated at a total cost of 1.15 billion euros). Thus, for the third edition of the CCT, there is still a rather vague statement on this question, which proves the hesitation of America, which the European representatives will have to overcome in terms of the concretization of this project of strategic importance for Europe.

to conclude

The Trade and Technology Council today demonstrates the dynamic strengthening of cooperation between Europe and the United States in the economic, digital and geostrategic fields. The ambition demonstrated by the first edition of the CCT, the coordinated actions in favor of Ukraine proposed in the second, and the will to concretely implement the road map demonstrated by the third show political and European-US renewal. Distant relations with the Donald Trump administration have been maintained. Although certain differences of opinion regarding the strategic priorities of the two Western powers, such as the debate over submarine cables, are bound to remain, the general direction remains towards rapprochement and enhanced cooperation between Europe and the United States. A welcome orientation at a time when, more than ever, digital challenges require global responses that cannot be just national or regional.

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