The EU and U.S. have announced plans to establish a “Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue” that would focus on approaches to competition policy and enforcement, and increased cooperation in the technology sector.
Following the EU-U.S. Summit held in Brussels on June 15, a wide-reaching Joint Statement entitled “Towards a Renewed Transatlantic Partnership” was published, detailing the joint transatlantic agenda for the post-pandemic era, including the “Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue.” The Dialogue aims to strengthen collaborative research and innovation exchanges, promote a staff exchange programme between EU and U.S. research funding agencies, and explore new research initiatives to set common standards and foster innovation.
The Dialogue will also see cooperation on cybersecurity information sharing and certification of products and software, working together to ensure safe, secure and trusted cross-border data flows that protect consumers and enhance privacy protection, while enabling transatlantic commerce. Specifically, the partners have committed to strengthening legal certainty in transatlantic flows of personal data and cooperation on consumer protection.
In parallel with the Dialogue, the EU and U.S. also announced plans to establish a new EU-U.S. high-level Trade and Technology Council (TTC) to boost regulatory and enforcement cooperation on digital issues, technology and supply chains, and to seek closer ties on digital issues, such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology, and biotechnology. The TTC will be the designated forum for discussion on how to avoid unjustified technical barriers, and for cooperation in areas with high potential especially in digital technologies.
- The TTC comes with a set of “major goals” to grow the relationship between the EU and U.S. on bilateral trade and investment: to avoid new unnecessary technical barriers to trade;
- to coordinate, seek common ground and strengthen global cooperation on technology, digital issues and supply chains (to that end, the TTC will include specialized working groups with agendas focused on critical segments within the tech and digital sectors);
- to support collaborative research and exchanges;
- to cooperate on compatible and international standards development;
- to facilitate regulatory and tax policy as well as enforcement cooperation and, where possible, convergence, and
- to promote innovation and leadership by U.S. and European firms.
While the TTC envisages substantial cooperation and exchanges between the U.S. and EU, the two will still retain their regulatory autonomy.
The U.S.-EU Joint Statement came on the same day as the appointment of Lina Khan, a competition law expert and major critic of Big Tech, as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. The appointment signals a more critical and aggressive approach to digital markets under the Biden administration.
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