EU-US tech cooperation seen as ‘tangible progress’ – EURACTIV.com

The US administration and the European Commission will meet in Washington on December 5 for the third time within the framework of the Trade and Technology Council (CTC). This initiative between the EU and the United States, launched last year, aims to provide a space for cooperation.

The first meeting had already been a success, with relations between the two blocs warming after their cooling under the administration of Donald Trump. The second meeting, last May, was mainly overshadowed by Russian aggression in Ukraine. The two partners are now keen to demonstrate that after great media hype, the cooperation has given rise to concrete results.

“These results represent tangible progress in all areas of work established under the TCC”can we read in the draft joint declaration for the next summit, and consulted by EURACTIV.

Digital infrastructure in third countries

Among the priorities for the next ministerial meeting are the joint initiatives that the two blocs will sign with representatives of the Jamaican and Kenyan governments on digital connectivity projects.

The choice of these two countries, which have both maintained an unambiguous pro-Western policy towards Russia and China, seems to reflect the geographical priorities of the United States and the EU, respectively.

In Jamaica, the goal is to help connect more than 1,000 public schools and homes to the Internet, improve the digital skills of teachers and support the technological development of SMEs.

In Kenya, work will begin with a study on the need for fiber optic connections in relevant areas, a policy roadmap for secure connectivity and training options for digital professionals.

Future EU-US coordination for digital infrastructure projects in third countries will be supported by a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between the US Agency for Development Finance (DFC) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Submarine cables

With regard to strengthening the resilience of the Internet ecosystem, the joint statement refers to submarine cables and the fact that the competent group is discussing “projects that take alternative routes, such as the transatlantic route to connect Europe, North America and Asia. »

This reference refers to a submarine cable intended to link Europe to Japan via Alaska. Although it is strongly supported by the European side, the support of the United States for this expensive project is still not assured. It is for this reason that it does not appear in the declaration.

AI Roadmap

The statement includes a joint artificial intelligence (AI) roadmap outlining AI risk management tools and methodologies. This is a practical first step to making trustworthy AI operational.

It aims to develop a common understanding of key concepts such as reliability, risk and harm, building on the European AI Regulation and the US AI Bill of Rights. Coordination will also focus on the development of standards, starting with the research that underpins this work.

In addition, the EU and the US intend to create a common repository of metrics to measure AI reliability and risk management methods. Such a reference could also support the work in progress in other bodies such as the OECD.

Other concrete measures include a catalog of risk categories to better detect emerging risks as well as interoperable AI risk assessments — for example to be able to determine reliability.

Emerging technologies

The draft findings mention that a pilot project on privacy-enhancing technologies has been defined and is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2023. No actual mention of what the project will consist of is however included.

Reference is also made to Tech for Good, a collaborative platform for research projects focusing on extreme weather and climate forecasting, health, power grid optimization, agriculture and disaster response management. emergency.

A specialized quantum team will be created to overcome barriers to transatlantic cooperation in this critical research area and to collaborate on issues related to technology readiness, intellectual property, export controls and international standards.

Standardization

The two partners have worked on developing a common standard for electric vehicle charging by 2024. In this regard, they will provide common technical specifications for the physical connection and communication exchange between the vehicle and the ‘infrastructure.

Standards cooperation projects have been launched on additive manufacturing, plastics recycling and digital identity. Standards for post-quantum encryption and the Internet of Things, including cybersecurity, are now in the pipeline.

Supply chain security

In the area of ​​supply chain security, the US government and EU executive will sign an administrative arrangement to implement an early warning mechanism that builds on a pilot project conducted last summer to test the exchange of information in the event of disturbances.

Since transparency is seen as a decisive means of avoiding a race for subsidies, the next ministerial meeting will be marked by the signing of an administrative arrangement aimed at commemorating the protocol. In addition, the objective is to work with the sector in order to improve the anticipation of the world demand for semiconductors.

Export control and investment screening

The war in Ukraine served as a test case for strengthening transatlantic coordination on export control measures aimed at Russia and Belarus and targeting dual-use technologies. It is now time to extend this coordinated approach to like-minded partners.

“The United States and the European Union are increasingly concerned about the use of economic coercion that aims to interfere with our legitimate sovereign choices”indicates the project.

Sustainability

The summit will kick off a transatlantic initiative on sustainable trade to foster coherence in approaches to green public procurement, greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment methodologies and chain monitoring supply chain, particularly in the Chinese-dominated solar sector.

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