Chapter News

Statement at European Parliament by Executive VP Dombrovskis on the outcome of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council

Chair, honourable members,

Before going to the Trade and Technology Council itself, let me first zoom out and outline why the year 2021 has been a landmark year for transatlantic relations.

We have successfully pressed the reset button with the Biden administration.

After the grounding of the Airbus-Boeing dispute at the EU-U.S. Summit in June, we also agreed to hit the pause button on the steel and aluminium trade dispute.

Our agreement includes starting discussions on a new Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel and Aluminium.

Of course, we remain attentive and active on a number of US policy developments that may affect EU interests.

Those could be the increase of US domestic content via the reinforcement of Buy American, or the use of tax incentives, for example for the purchase of electrical vehicles.

But overall, it is clear that our trade and investment partnership remains the global engine of prosperity.

Beyond resolving our trade disputes, we must create space to find new avenues of cooperation and deal with the challenges and opportunities of the future.

In this respect, the first meeting of the Trade & Technology Council at the end of September represented an important step in the right direction, as well as an important political signal:

  • We are ready to lead the way in setting the standards and rules for the technologies of the 21st century, putting our core values at the centre.
  • We are addressing environmental challenges and market opportunities for clean technology.
  • And we are ensuring more resilient and secure supply chains, in particular in semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, and critical materials for our economies.

The trade component of the TTC is of particular importance:

  • We have determined shared principles and areas for export control cooperation, especially on dual use technologies.
  • We also agreed to cooperate on best practices in investment screening, for example on risk analysis and risk mitigation in relation to sensitive technologies.
  • There will be a special focus on SMEs and on policies that can accelerate their uptake of digital technologies.
  • We will work together on Global Trade Challenges like non-market economic policies and practices. The protection of labour rights, such as combatting forced and child labour, and addressing trade-related aspects of climate and environment action will also be part of our work.
  • Finally, we will aim at avoiding unnecessary barriers to trade in new technologies, while respecting our regulatory autonomy.

We have thus set in motion a whole range of work strands that we will now pursue with vigour.

To ensure concrete progress we will meet regularly, at Principles level. The next meeting is scheduled for spring 2022 in the EU.

There is a strong willingness on both sides of the Atlantic to make our cooperation in the TTC a success.

We are counting on your support for this.

MEPs, but also national governments, are essential in raising awareness around the fact that the benefits we gain from  transatlantic cooperation will also require some compromises.

We are committed to providing the European Parliament with information on the work of the TTC.

And we are committed to a transparent and inclusive engagement with key stakeholders and civil society at large.

Stakeholder engagement figured predominantly also in the first TTC meeting.

Last month, the Commission also opened a one-stop-shop to collect continuous stakeholder input on a platform called “Futurium”.

I strongly encourage you to promote this point of contact among your constituencies and stakeholders.

We also encourage stakeholders on both sides of Atlantic to join forces and, wherever possible, work together to shape joint transatlantic positions.

Thank you, and now Executive Vice-President Vestager will provide you with more input on the technology side of the Trade and Technology Council.

Compliments of the European Commission.