On 29 September 2021 there was held the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The meeting was co-chaired by European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
The European Union and the United States reaffirm the TTC’s objectives to: coordinate approaches to key global technology, economic, and trade issues; and to deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations, basing policies on shared democratic values. The main manifesto of the meeting was to support the continued growth of the EU-US technology, economic and trade relationship and cooperation in addressing global challenges; collaboration to promote shared economic growth that benefits workers on both sides of the Atlantic, grow the transatlantic trade and investment relationship, fight the climate crisis, protect the environment, promote workers’ rights, combat child and forced labour, expand resilient and sustainable supply chains, and expand cooperation on critical and emerging technologies.
The outcomes of Pittsburgh meeting was the common statement of the objectives of the TTC, the European Union and the United States (reflected in Annexes I-V).
The participants expressed belief that their openness to foreign investment is essential for economic growth and innovation. They intended to maintain investment screening in order to address risks to national security and, within the European Union, public order. They recognised that their investment screening regimes should be accompanied by the appropriate enforcement mechanisms.
The European Union and the United States considered that artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the potential to bring significant benefits to citizens, societies and economies. AI technologies can help tackle many significant challenges that they face, and they can improve the quality of lives. The European Union and the United States acknowledged that AI technologies yield powerful advances but also can threaten shared values and fundamental freedoms if they are not developed and deployed responsibly or if they are misused. The European Union and the United States affirmed their willingness and intention to develop and implement AI systems that are innovative and trustworthy and that respect universal human rights and shared democratic values.
The European Union and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to building a partnership on the rebalancing of global supply chains in semiconductors with a view to enhancing respective security of supply as well as their respective capacity to design and produce semiconductors, especially, but not limited to, those with leading-edge capabilities. The parties underlined the importance of working together to identify gaps in the semiconductor value chain, and strengthening domestic semiconductor ecosystems.
What has been brought to the attention of the attendees was the semiconductor supply issues for some time due to increased demand from the technology industry, but also delays in manufacturing, transportation and supply chains. European Union and the United States work together to resolve semiconductor crisis. This crisis has been an ongoing problem in the semiconductor market for many months. Above all, the waiting period for ordered goods extended from month to month, sometimes even causing a slowdown in production in factories. According to recent reports drawn up by Susquehanna Financial Group, it is currently averaging 21 weeks and is the longest since 2017, when such data began to be collected. Numerous discussions have been held to work out a solution to this problem and find ways to expedite delivery. Finally, both parties declared, inter alia, acceleration of work on expanding supply chains.
Semiconductors are materials such as silicon, germanium and their compounds used in the manufacture of transistors. They are essential for building processors that we can be found in all the devices we use now.
One of the outcomes of the summit was the establishment of new semiconductor solutions. The European Union and the United States have said they will seek to build a partnership to rebalance global semiconductor supply chains to enhance security of supply and the ability to design and manufacture semiconductors, particularly, but not exclusively, those with leading-edge capabilities. They pointed out the great importance of cooperation as it is in the interest of both parties. They have made a commitment to strengthen the nation’s semiconductor ecosystems.
Annex IV includes statements on semiconductor supply chain. The European Union and the United States have agreed that cooperation will initially focus on short-term supply chain issues. Cooperation on medium – and long-term strategic semiconductor issues will begin in the respective TTC working groups prior to the next TTC meeting. They indicated that the semiconductor issue is particularly important to them, as these are materials that power almost every sector of the economy, including healthcare and national defense. One can also learn from the annex that “the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the importance of semiconductors. They have enabled remote health care, medical research, working and studying from home and electronic commerce.”
The parties declared that their aim is to avoid a subsidy race and the risk of crowding out private investments that would themselves contribute to security and resilience. The parties intended to focus on reducing existing strategic dependencies across the supply chain, in particular by diversifying the supply chain and increasing investment and working together to ensure that any investment in their territories is done in full respect of security of supply.
Statements about AI have been included in Annex III. Nowadays, there is no doubt that artificial intelligence has the potential to change the world to bring significant benefits. The European Union and the United States acknowledged that AI-based technologies have risks if they are not developed and deployed responsibly or if they are misused. They reaffirmed their willingness and intention to develop and deploy trustworthy artificial intelligence and their commitment to a human-centered approach that reinforces shared democratic values and respects universal human rights. They have declared that they will uphold and implement the OECD recommendation on artificial intelligence.
Apart from Annex IV and III, the Joint Statement also includes solutions related to Investment Screening, Export Control Cooperation, Global Trade Challenges, Cooperation on Trade-Related Environmental and Climate Policies and Measures. The parties have stated that they wish to expand their cooperation in following areas: technical consultations on current and upcoming legislative and regulatory developments, technical consultations and development of convergent control approaches on sensitive dual-use technologies, information exchange on risks associated with the export of sensitive technologies and technology transfers, technical consultations on compliance and enforcement approaches, capacity building assistance to third countries, technical consultations regarding multilateral and international cooperation.
The meeting held in Pittsburgh on September 29, 2021 had key implications for many sectors of the economy. The EU-US Trade and Technology Councilhas developed a number of necessary solutions to current problems that have been adversely affecting international trade and beyond. One of the key issues was certainly the semiconductor supply chain, which was causing a noticeable slump primarily in the automotive industry.