The EU and the US have announced plans to set up a “Joint Technology Competition Dialogue” to focus on approaches to competition policy and enforcement, as well as enhanced cooperation in the technology sector.
Following the EU-US summit in Brussels on June 15, a far-reaching joint statement entitled “Towards a Renewed Transatlantic Partnership” was published, setting out the common transatlantic agenda for the post-pandemic period, including the “Common Technology competition policy dialogue “.” The aim of the dialogue is to strengthen collaborative research and innovation exchanges, to promote a staff exchange program between EU and US research funding agencies and to explore new research initiatives in order to set common standards and promote innovation.
The Dialogue will also work together in the sharing of cybersecurity information and the certification of products and software to ensure secure and trustworthy cross-border data flows, protect consumers and improve privacy, while enabling transatlantic trade. In particular, the partners have committed themselves to strengthening legal certainty in the transatlantic traffic of personal data and cooperation on consumer protection.
In parallel with the dialogue, the EU and US also announced plans to establish a new High Level Trade and Technology Council (TTC) between the EU and US to strengthen regulatory and enforcement cooperation on digital issues, technologies and supply chains and to seek closer links on digital topics such as artificial intelligence, quantum technology and biotechnology. The TTC will be the forum for discussions on how to avoid unjustified technical barriers and for collaboration in areas of high potential, particularly in the field of digital technologies.
- The TTC has a number of “important objectives” to develop EU-US relations in terms of bilateral trade and investment: avoiding new unnecessary technical barriers to trade;
- Coordinating, finding common ground and strengthening global collaboration on technology, digital issues and supply chains (to this end, the TTC will include specialized working groups whose agenda will focus on critical segments in the technology and digital sectors);
- to support collaborative research and exchange;
- work together to develop compatible and international standards;
- to facilitate regulation, taxation, enforcement cooperation and, where possible, convergence, and
- Promoting innovation and leadership from US and European companies.
While the TTC provides for substantial cooperation and exchange between the US and the EU, both retain their regulatory autonomy.
The US-EU joint statement came on the same day as the appointment of Lina Khan, a competition law expert and big tech critic, as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. The appointment signals a more critical and aggressive approach to digital markets under the Biden administration.