How the Trade and Technology Council has laid the groundwork for EU-US cooperation on all things digital

The Trade and Technology Council has laid the foundation from which the EU and US can continue to deepen cooperation and address challenges in the digital sphere
Miapetra Kumpula-Natri speaks about the TTC in Strasbourg in November 2021 | European Union 2021

By Miapetra Kumpula-Natri

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri (FI, S&D) is Vice-Chair of the delegation for relations with the United States

12 Aug 2022

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) established last year is a valuable platform for the exchange of views and dialogue on matters of high importance for today and tomorrow.

The United States is an important partner for the European Union in addressing common challenges in the digital sphere. While not being a legislative body, the TTC further strengthens transatlantic cooperation thanks to its 10 working groups, which deal with a wide variety of matters related to trade and technology including standardisation, artificial intelligence, supply chains, climate change and green technology, and workers’ rights.

What is of significance is that technology is now, next to trade, high on the agenda between the EU and the US. This can be seen as a reflection of the course of development in which technology and digitalisation have gained an even more important role in shaping societies, economies and businesses.

Neither technology nor artificial intelligence is an endpoint in itself; rather, they are the means to achieve certain goals. The key question in today’s world is how these tools can be used in a responsible way so as to respect democracy and privacy, for example. 

For questions like these, the dialogue within the TTC is valuable. Furthermore, this transatlantic cooperation may have a wider impact, as the EU and the US together can play a leading role in the global digital realm by setting an example and a path for others to follow.

It is important that the EU and the US find common ground on questions about standards and frontier technologies. It is a question of protecting our democratic values and way of living. As for clean technology, we cannot afford any new trade restrictions. We should instead boost trade for cleaner solutions.

We must also not forget the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic regarding supply chains. For this, the TTC enables a discussion of how both sides can enhance the resilience of supply chains, which is of critical importance in the interconnected world we live in today.

The TTC has shown its importance in relation to the current crisis in Ukraine by facilitating the coordination of a response from both sides of the Atlantic

So far, two high-level TTC meetings have been held: the first in Pittsburgh at the end of September last year, and the second meeting more recently, in the middle of May, in Paris, France.

Much has changed since the first meeting of the TTC. Namely, Russia began its brutal war in Ukraine on 24 February, a development with wider ramifications beyond just changing the security environment in Europe. The TTC has shown its importance in relation to the current crisis in Ukraine by facilitating the coordination of a response from both sides of the Atlantic.

The TTC has laid the foundation from which we can continue deepening cooperation, building ideas and developing a shared understanding of common interests. I count on active support from the European Parliament and the US Congress to intensify transatlantic cooperation. Also, I’m hopeful that the high level of administrative cooperation in the TTC may even mitigate any uncertainty from the upcoming US elections, as this work is important and needs to continue.

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