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U.S., EU to launch consultations on tech regulations, trade, China By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: An unidentified security guard walks alongside the U.S. and EU flags during the EU-US summit in Brussels on June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

By David Lawder and Nandita Bose

PITTSBURGH/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and European Union trade and competition officials are set to launch a new forum on Wednesday joining forces to better compete with China, shield sensitive technologies, boost semiconductor output and coordinate regulation of large technology firms.

In a former steel plant in Pittsburgh, the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council’s first meeting will take place. The building has been repurposed into a research and technology center for advanced manufacturing and artificial intelligence.

U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken, Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and Valdis Dombrovskis, EU trade chief, are all expected to be there along with Margrethe Vestager the European Commissioner.

On Thursday, Reuters was first to report the actions the United States and the European Union are planning to announce from the first TTC meeting, such as taking a more unified approach to limit the growing market power of Big Tech.

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This cooperation is crucial for both regulators from the US and Europe as they try to limit the power of American tech giants like Alphabet (NASDAQ)’s Google, Facebook and Apple (NASDAQ) respectively. This would also make it more difficult for the U.S. technology industry to resist new regulations.

There are 10 groups within the council that will be discussing issues such as tech competition, chip shortages and artificial intelligence (AI).

Many tech trade organizations in Washington stated that the US does not support the European-style digital regulation.

“It is critical for U.S. negotiators to vigorously defend U.S. economic interests in the TTC,” the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation said in a statement They should not ignore real differences in privacy rules and antitrust regulation. Digital taxation, content moderation, AI regulation, AI regulation, and AI regulation are all areas they need to be aware of.

Dombrovskis spoke to journalists on Tuesday and stated that the U.S., EU, and other countries share many AI goals, including reducing its use for surveillance, repression and censorship, while the TTC will assist where they differ.

He said, “It gives us a platform to discuss these issues, to find where there is common ground, where are differences, and how we can address them.”

Senior U.S. officials stated that the discussions are unlikely to be focused on the long-running U.S. dispute over U.S. aluminum and steel tariffs. However, U.S. officials claim they are following a different track than the TTC.

Dombrovskis indicated that the EU would be open to considering similar arrangements to those made in Canada and Mexico by lifting U.S. duties on steel and aluminum imports from the United States. However, Dombrovskis stressed that it was necessary to reach an agreement by the beginning of November.

Raimondo who implemented U.S. metals duties, said that a major focus of the meeting would be to talk with European allies about ways to limit China’s market behavior including the dumping of low-priced steel onto U.S. and European marketplaces.