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Home » How one can enhance transatlantic relations with out caving to Europe on know-how and commerce

How one can enhance transatlantic relations with out caving to Europe on know-how and commerce

Washington and Brussels later this month will ship senior delegations of financial and commerce ministers to the primary assembly of a brand new U.S.-EU Commerce and Expertise Council, dubbed the “TTC.” Their purpose, because the identify suggests, is to foster high-level cooperation on commerce and know-how problems with mutual curiosity. Given the long-simmering tensions between the 2 governments on issues similar to digital taxation, cross-border information flows, antitrust, and extra, such an effort is overdue.

a person using a mouse and keyboard: How to improve transatlantic relations without caving to Europe on technology and trade

© The Hill
How one can enhance transatlantic relations with out caving to Europe on know-how and commerce

Whether or not the US and European Union reach utilizing the TTC to rebuild the transatlantic relationship holds broad implications, as a result of the choice – strained engagement between main buying and selling companions – would contribute to the worldwide fragmentation of the digital financial system. And worse, it might be a strategic present to China, as a result of it might signify a deadly dissolution of a key alliance wanted to restrict China’s know-how mercantilism and counter its digital authoritarianism.


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Ahead-looking policymakers on either side of the Atlantic want to acknowledge this and redouble their efforts to construct a greater, stronger, and deeper digital-trading relationship.

However to do this, U.S. and EU negotiators might want to meet within the center on some crucial points. The White Home shouldn’t outline success as growing cooperation for its personal sake – significantly if the worth of comity is embracing the EU’s precautionary strategy to regulating competitors and technological innovation. The administration’s emissaries ought to as an alternative give attention to advancing key U.S. financial pursuits in ways in which additionally preserve cordial relations with Europe.

For instance, irrespective of how desperately the Biden administration’s commerce negotiators could hope to revive harmonious transatlantic relations after watching in dismay as they deteriorated in the course of the Trump administration, the US can’t comply with a digital companies tax or acquiesce to discriminatory regulation of web platforms, because the European Fee seeks to do with its proposed Digital Markets Act. Both of these would skewer America’s main know-how firms (and kill U.S. jobs) and essentially alter longstanding regulatory ideas on the expense of innovation and progress. Against this, the administration and Congress might, and will, meet the EU someplace within the center on information safety – not by emulating its heavy-handed Common Knowledge Safety Regulation, however by passing a nationwide privateness regulation that establishes a typical set of protections throughout state traces whereas enhancing transparency and enforcement. That might hopefully persuade the EU to help sturdy cross-border information flows, whereas on the identical time defending America’s pro-innovation regulatory system.

Probably the most obtrusive variations between the US and the European Union on digital financial system points stem from the truth that know-how coverage within the EU is motivated largely by social coverage issues – from information privateness rights to the potential for algorithmic bias – and it views the correct position of presidency as one in every of regulating and restraining digital firms and applied sciences to make sure they trigger no hurt. In distinction, the US has lengthy acted on the view that authorities is the one that ought to do no hurt – and, the place it could, it ought to help technological innovation. As such, the Biden workforce ought to make sure that talks cowl the right way to foster the expansion of applied sciences similar to quantum computing and synthetic intelligence. Moreover, social issues similar to privateness, bias, and different associated points are greatest addressed on the nationwide or regional degree, not in bilateral or multilateral commerce talks.

The chance is that the EU delegation will press the US to undertake their precautionary strategy to regulating information privateness, AI, and web platforms, and that the Biden administration will accede, partly as a result of many Democrats lengthy to emulate European financial and social coverage.

The EU might do that partly as a result of it genuinely believes the world could be higher off underneath its regulatory system, but additionally as a result of it is aware of that until main opponents undertake its stifling regulatory system, its personal tech firms will stay at a aggressive drawback.

Lastly, whereas China will not be within the room when U.S. and EU officers meet, it ought to be close to the highest of everybody’s minds. China’s innovation mercantilist insurance policies – from compelled know-how transfers to large manufacturing subsidies – have harmed each the U.S. and EU economies, and its digital authoritarianism is a risk to freedom.

It’s within the mutual greatest curiosity of the US and EU to push again.

However whereas the EU has generally provided supportive rhetoric, many European policymakers are cautious of rocking the boat with China for concern of dropping market entry and risking diplomatic aggression in return. The U.S. delegation ought to press their EU colleagues to collectively decide to at the very least some concrete actions, similar to shared Chinese language funding screening.

Given the growing risk China poses – and the countervailing advantages that will come from resolving digital coverage disputes between the US and the EU – the U.S.-EU Commerce and Expertise Council has important potential. However the events might want to begin by agreeing on the precept that advancing digital innovation is in everybody’s greatest curiosity.

Robert D. Atkinson (@RobAtkinsonITIF) is president of the Info Expertise and Innovation Basis (ITIF), a number one suppose tank for science and know-how coverage.

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