After a few turbulent years and a long hiatus, the EU and the United States meet to discuss options for dealing with China’s technological rise. This Council on Trade and Technology (TTC) is meeting will be held from Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Through this meeting the 27 hope to find new levers to establish the global rules of the 21st century. On paper the plan may appear abstract. It is about facilitating trade, expanding investments, developing standards and accelerating innovation. It is therefore necessary for the two partners to translate these political intentions into reality.
However, it is not about trade negotiations as during the transatlantic treaty (TAFTA or TTIP in English), explains Léa Auffret of BEUC, the European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions. “It is more a question of cooperation, of discussion, between the EU and the United States at the governmental level and at the level of the regulators. These are health, climate, digital and competition“, she specifies.
The agenda is extensive. It includes artificial intelligence, green technologies, data governance and semiconductors. But the talks could be overtaken by recent tensions between Paris and Washington over the sale of submarines to Australia.
Civil society especially hopes that this forum will be transparent. Léa Auffret is worried that the American authorities and the industry are trying to dissuade the EU “to regulate certain important things such as the regulation of technological platforms or artificial intelligence“.
Despite their differences, the 27 and Washington have a common goal: to ensure that China, with its own values and its own standards, does not become the master of the world game in terms of technology.