towards renewed transatlantic cooperation in economic, digital and geostrategic matters

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

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

The Commerce and Technology Council

The idea of ​​creating the Trade and Technology Council began in the summer of 2020, when the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, communicated with the government of Donald Trump the European will to renew relations between United States and Europe by establishing a political body for transatlantic cooperation focused on 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 presented by the American to renew its diplomatic, political and commercial relations with Europe, particularly on the subject of new technologies. A desire fulfilled by the announcement on December 2, 2020, “A New Transatlantic Agenda for Global Change”, which places the Trade and Technology Council at the center of the implementation of its enhanced cooperation program.

Overall, the purpose of the CTC is, according to the European Commission, “to improve trade and investment, strengthen technological and industrial leadership, stimulate innovation, promote emerging technologies and infrastructure and encourage compatible standards and regulation based on shared democratic values”. To do this, the CCT notably identified several priority topics, such as artificial intelligence, the promotion of an open and secure Internet, as well as the fight against disinformation.

An ambitious roadmap: the first two editions of the CCT

The Commerce and Technology Council previously met twice: in September 2021 in Pittsburgh, then in May 2022 in Paris.

  • At the first meeting of the CCT, the ten distinct working groups that make it up met for the first time to define their goals as well as their organization. These ten groups focus on an important area of ​​transatlantic cooperation:

> Technological standards.

> Climate and clean technology.

> 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.

> Promoting access to digital technologies by small and medium-sized enterprises.

> Issues related to international trade.

The first edition of the Trade and Technology Council resulted in a joint statement of 17 pages laying the foundations of the TTC’s scope of action through the work of its ten constituent groups. The ambition shown by this declaration was seen by many observers as exceeding the expectations associated with this new international political body. Beyond the inauguration of the CCT, this first edition also made it possible to identify agreements specifically related to the regulation of dual-use technologies (civilian and military), stability in foreign investors’ attempts to control strategic assets, or securing the semiconductor supply chain.

  • The second edition of the Trade and Technology Council, in May 2022, was heavily affected by the geopolitical news of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Thus, the support shown by the European Union and the United States for Ukraine can be seen in many of the topics discussed, as well as in the press release at the second meeting of the CCT. Also, the first major measure adopted in this framework is entitled “Support for Ukraine”, it is formulated as follows:

“The TCC Co-Chairs expressed their strong commitment to support Ukraine against Russian military aggression and agreed on concrete measures that have already been implemented and should be pursued within the framework of the TCC. They also pledged to cooperate in Ukraine to rebuild its economy and facilitate trade and investment”.

The theme of support for Ukraine and the resistance to Russian expansion also watered all the reflections of the working groups. The joint statement resulting from this second edition is available here.

The challenges of the third edition: towards the realization of stated goals?

The third edition of the Trade and Technology Council will begin on December 05, 2022. After the first two editions, which were widely considered successes, due to the ambition shown by the CCT roadmap as well as the close cooperation on the Ukraine issue, this third edition aims to pursue the implementation of the objectives defined by the various working groups, and to demonstrate the concrete and real impact of the proposals proposed by the CCT.

Several key themes have been identified for this third edition. Thus, Europe and the United States intend to make progress on the issue of digital infrastructures within third countries, starting with the signing of an initiative on this subject with Jamaica and Kenya (two countries that maintain a position pro-Western international movement in the face of Russian and Chinese influences).

The transatlantic cooperation also aims to strengthen the issue of artificial intelligence, by defining a joint roadmap that aims to describe the tools and methods for managing AI-related risks, the first step in reaching the standard of a “trustworthy” artificial intelligence.

Among other points of attention highlighted by the third edition of the Trade and Technology Council, the issue of submarine cables (allowing intercontinental Internet connection) is also addressed by the relevant working group. Thus, discussions are said to be underway regarding projects for the implementation of alternative routes to connect Europe, North America and Asia. This formulation specifically refers to a project presented by Europe since December 2021, which aims to connect Europe to Japan (and therefore more generally to Asia) through submarine cables passing through Alaska. . Beyond the lower latency time due to the shorter distance of this route compared to existing cables, going through Alaska represents a major geostrategic asset for Europe. In fact, 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 due to Russia’s influence in this area.

If Europe is currently pushing for the financing of this project for the reasons we have just explained, it is not yet clear that American support is being obtained due to the significant resources required for its implementation (with a total cost of approximately 1.15 billion euros). So the formulation of this question for the third edition of the CCT is still a bit vague, which testifies to the skepticism of the Americans, which European representatives have to try to overcome due to the concretization of this project of strategic importance for in Europe.

All in all

The Trade and Technology Council today describes the dynamic strengthening of cooperation between Europe and the United States in the economic, digital and geostrategic spheres. The ambition shown by the first edition of the CCT, the joint actions in favor of Ukraine proposed in the second, and the will to implement the concrete roadmap shown by the third edition of the political renewal and between Europe and the United States , then more. maintained distant relations with the administration of Donald Trump. Although some differences necessarily remain on the strategic priorities of the two Western powers, such as discussions surrounding submarine cables, the general direction remains a rapprochement and strengthened cooperation between Europe and the United States united states A welcome orientation at a time when digital issues call more than ever for global responses that cannot be just national or regional.

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