Newly Created U.S.-EU Council to Focus on Cooperation in Trade, Technology Issues

The United States and the European Union have created a council to provide a forum for coordinating approaches to key global trade, economic and technology issues.

U.S. President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen launched the EU-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC) during the U.S.-EU Summit in Brussels on June 15.

The council will deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations based on shared democratic values.

White House Statement

A White House statement, “Towards a Renewed Transatlantic Partnership,” noted that the United States and the European Union represent 780 million people who share democratic values and the largest economic relationship in the world.

The statement continued, “We have a chance and a responsibility to help people make a living and keep them safe and secure, fight climate change, and stand up for democracy and human rights.

“We laid the foundations of the world economy and the rules-based international order after World War II based on openness, fair competition, transparency, and accountability.

“Some of the rules need an update: to protect our health, our climate and planet, to ensure democracy delivers and technology improves our lives.”

Council Goals

The major goals of the TTC will be:

• to grow the bilateral trade and investment relationship;

• to avoid new unnecessary technical barriers to trade;

• to coordinate, seek common ground and strengthen global cooperation on technology, digital issues and supply chains;

• to support collaborative research and exchanges;

• to cooperate on compatible and international standards development;

• to facilitate regulatory policy and enforcement cooperation and, where possible, convergence;

• to promote innovation and leadership by U.S. and EU firms; and

• to strengthen other areas of cooperation.

The cooperation and exchanges of the TTC will be without prejudice to the regulatory autonomy of the United States and the European Union and will respect the different legal systems in both jurisdictions. Cooperation within the TTC will also feed into coordination in multilateral bodies and wider efforts with like-minded partners, with the aim of promoting a democratic model of digital governance.

This new council will meet periodically to steer the cooperation. It will be co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, European Commission Executive Vice President and EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, and European Commission Executive Vice President and EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis.

Other members of the EU Commission and U.S. departments will be invited as appropriate, ensuring focused discussions on specific issues in a whole-of-government approach.

Working Groups

The TTC will initially include working groups looking at the following topics:

• technology standards cooperation, including artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things, among other emerging technologies;

• climate and green technology;

• secure supply chains, including semiconductors;

• information and communications technology (ICT) security and competitiveness;

• data governance and technology platforms;

• the misuse of technology threatening security and human rights;

• export controls;

• investment screening;

• promoting small and medium enterprises’ access to and use of digital technologies; and

• global trade challenges.

EU-U.S. Trade

The EU market represents 450 million people, and has a total gross domestic product (GDP) of $15.6 trillion, as of 2019. The United States has 330 million people and a GDP of $21.43 trillion according to the World Bank, as of 2019.

The EU consists of 27 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Total bilateral trade between the European Union and United States topped $1 trillion in 2020, with goods trade accounting for $755.76 billion. The United States exported $290.76 billion worth of goods to EU member nations, a decrease from $336 billion in 2019.

Top U.S. exports to the EU were chemicals, transportation equipment, computer/electronic products, and oil and gas. Imports into the United States from the EU decreased to $465.1 billion in 2020 from $514 billion the year before. Top imports from the EU to the U.S. were chemicals, transportation equipment, nonelectrical machinery, and computer and electronic products.

In 2020, Europe experienced its sharpest recession since World War II, with GDP falling by 6.6% compared to 4.5% in 2009 during the financial crisis. The U.S. economy contracted by 3.5% in 2020.

According to The Transatlantic Economy 2021, prepared for the AmCham EU (American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union):

• The U.S. and EU transatlantic economy supported 16 million jobs, accounting for close to one-third of world GDP, and 30% of world trade.

• In 2019, 48 of 50 U.S. states exported more goods to Europe than to China. California was one of the top three state exporters to Europe. In 2018, California had the highest number of jobs supported by European investment (490,700). European companies account for 58% of foreign affiliate jobs in the state.

• In 2019, the United States and Europe accounted for 27% of global exports, 32% of global imports, 64% of outward stock of global foreign direct investment and 61% of inward stock. During the last decade Europe attracted 57.3% of total U.S. global investment, more than in any previous decade. In 2019, the U.S. invested $2.4 trillion into the EU and the EU invested $2 trillion into the United States. European companies in the United States directly support 5 million U.S. jobs.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

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Susanne T. Stirling, senior vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.