Joint Statement on the upcoming Trade & Technology Council
The importance of the Transatlantic partnership
We, a coalition of trade associations from both sides of the Atlantic, representing businesses of all sizes and active in a variety of sectors, strongly support efforts to strengthen the transatlantic partnership.
We are experiencing a defining moment in international relations, with the changing geopolitical and geoeconomic landscape likely to create significant long-term ramifications for both the EU and the US.
In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that the transatlantic partnership remains the strongest, most trustworthy and durable partnership in the world. It is irreplaceable, and it has deployed a robust and credible reaction to recent events. The US and EU have jointly committed to Europe’s energy security and sustainability and to accelerating the global transition to clean energy. And the transatlantic tech sector and public authorities have responded quickly and effectively to disinformation and cybersecurity threats.
Today, it is clearer than ever that a resilient and strong transatlantic relationship is necessary to face the challenges to democracy and the rules-based international trading system.
The transatlantic economic partnership is growing in the face of these headwinds, with 2021 being a record-breaking year on many fronts, including trade in goods and services, US foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Europe and vice versa.
At the same time, mounting geopolitical tensions show that the EU and US should maintain and deepen the transatlantic bond at all levels and in all areas, so that our values, worldview and economic leadership, are maintained and solidified. In particular, the transatlantic alliance must stand against increased external security and information threats, while ensuring that our regulatory frameworks are fit for purpose.
Going forward, it is paramount that the US and EU continue to work together on a common agenda based on shared values and interests, which need to be upheld forcefully, with courage and strategic vision.
The EU-US Trade and Technology Council
In our view, the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is a vital opportunity for the US and EU to jointly secure their future trade, economic, and technological leadership, and act as a counterbalance to geopolitical challenges that risk undermining the transatlantic relationship.
It is very encouraging that the EU and US leadership recognize the strategic relevance and economic benefits of closer regulatory cooperation. While preserving their respective regulatory autonomy, and in light of increasing threats of global fragmentation, both US and EU policymakers should seek to ensure that regulatory frameworks reflect the transatlantic values of openness and non-discriminatory rules; promote greater transatlantic trade and investment; encourage and reward innovation and entrepreneurship; protect security, privacy, and intellectual property; and benefit and protect consumers.
In essence, the TTC’s fundamental role should be to develop common approaches to shared challenges, such as collaborating on research as well as new standards for emerging technologies; maintaining an open and interoperable internet; enhancing bilateral trade and investment, also revitalizing rules-based trade through modernization of WTO rules; tackling global challenges, including climate change and cybersecurity; ensuring robust regulatory dialogue around new digital policy approaches; bolstering transatlantic competitiveness, including investing in next generation digital infrastructure; and strengthening supply chain resilience and semiconductor ecosystems. The TTC should serve to address and resolve differences that may undermine a common approach. The recent agreement on a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework is a very welcome development in that regard.
Clearly, the TTC is only one of several international fora supporting EU-US cooperation. Progress in the TTC should complement collaboration in other existing bilateral and multilateral regulatory dialogues and fora, such as the WTO, G20, and OECD.
Importantly, the TTC work should be based on the key transatlantic values of non-discrimination, mutual consultation and dialogue, solid standards on due process and IP protection, and the open, rules-based market. Its modus operandi and outcomes should reflect this.
Stakeholders’ role and tangible outcomes
The transatlantic business community offers its full support to the TTC’s work. The TTC’s priorities and process must be informed by dialogue with stakeholders, and it is encouraging to see that both the EU with its Futurium platform, and US policymakers with their public consultation opportunities, have built a structure to facilitate stakeholders’ engagement.
Stakeholders’ expectations of the next TTC meeting in May 2022 are high. While the focus on “low hanging fruit” is acceptable as a first step, decision-makers should not lose sight of the bigger picture and strategic objectives. This is an incredibly important geopolitical moment for the EU and US to work together and pursue a common bilateral and global vision on technology, trade and security.
We encourage US and EU officials to seek outcomes across all TTC policy areas that would bolster our ability to outcompete non-market economies that do not share transatlantic core values.
We strongly believe that the TTC has the potential to strengthen transatlantic global leadership and deliver tangible results that ultimately benefit companies, workers and citizens. Today is not “business as usual” – the TTC vision and outcomes should reflect this.