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EU backs U.S. tech trade declaration after French concerns By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: The flags of the United States and European Union were displayed during Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Brussels, Belgium on February 20, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union governments committed to a joint EU-U.S. declaration on technology cooperation on Wednesday, just in time for a key transatlantic meeting, after France threatened to block it unless it was watered down, EU diplomats said.

At Wednesday’s inaugural Trade and Technology Council meeting (TTC), senior U.S. and European Union officials will discuss issues such as semiconductor competition, artificial intelligence and the lack of sufficient supply.

Last week, the TTC meeting was in doubt due to French anger at Australia’s decision to scrap a $40 million submarine contract. Instead of opting for a deal between the United States of America and Britain to purchase nuclear-powered ships,

France was keen to mention a second meeting, which would be in spring 2022. This is when the French presidential election takes place.

The diplomats also said that the EU wanted to change the language regarding a planned semiconductor supply chain partnership. This would have meant the US and EU were considered mutually dependent.

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The second meeting was discussed, and the passage on semiconductors was modified to emphasize short-term supply dependence, instead of long-term.

At a EU ministers’ meeting on the competitiveness of EU markets on Wednesday, the amended text was agreed to.

Diplomats stated that French reservations are less connected to the sub-sea dispute than to France’s greater belief in EU independence.

U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will be hosting Katherine Tai, U.S. Trade Representative, in Pittsburgh. They will also host Valdis Dombrovskis, Margrethe Vestager, vice presidents of the European Commission, in an event that aims to establish tech standards.

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