Business Roundtable on the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council

April 4, 2024

Washington - On the occasion of the sixth ministerial meeting of the U.S.-European Union (EU) Trade & Technology Council (TTC) in Leuven, Belgium, Business Roundtable encourages continued bilateral engagement between U.S. and EU leaders to coordinate approaches on key technology and trade issues.

Since the first ministerial meeting of the TTC in Pittsburgh on September 29, 2021, Business Roundtable has recognized the TTC’s potential to minimize trade disruptions caused by divergent approaches to technology-sector regulation. In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Business Roundtable heralded the use of the TTC to accelerate U.S.-EU coordination around export controls, supply chain resilience and measures to address shared trade concerns with third countries. Later, the Roundtable applauded the release of a Joint Roadmap for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Risk Management, as well as the creation of the U.S.-EU Strategic Standardisation Information Mechanism and the Transatlantic Initiative on Sustainable Trade (TIST) under the auspices of the TTC. As TTC Ministers convene in Belgium this week, Business Roundtable supports the following path forward for future engagement on trade and technology issues.

Strengthening Transatlantic Digital and Environmental Goods Trade: The United States and the EU should work together to eliminate barriers to the trade in digital goods and services, as well as environmental goods and technologies. This will require continued, close cooperation between the United States and the EU at the World Trade Organization to prevent the proliferation of discriminatory duties on digital products and services. It also will require the United States and the EU to continue to advocate for rules that permit the free flow of data across borders subject to legitimate exceptions. This will necessitate embracing an open, evidence-based approach to incentivizing sustainable practices in a way that avoids duplication of standards and discrimination against our respective products. It also will depend on the mutual recognition of conformity assessments in key industries and ensuring participation in our respective standard-setting processes by interested entities on either side of the Atlantic. Finally, this means collaborating to develop a common approach to trade in carbon-intensive products.

Developing Common Standards and Research in Critical and Emerging Technologies: The United States and the EU also need to advance cooperation in emerging and critical technologies such as AI, semiconductors, 6G and quantum computing. As noted above, the United States and the EU have taken important steps bilaterally and through the G7 to address potential AI risks and to develop common approaches to AI. Both governments now need to work together to align on a plan for deploying AI to advance transatlantic competitiveness and economic growth. Moreover, as both governments contemplate new regulations in this area, they should work together to assess the impact of proposed measures on economic growth and security. 

Streamlining Working Groups to Create More Meaningful Avenues for Stakeholder Engagement: Business Roundtable recognizes the yeoman’s work of U.S. government and European Commission staff over the past three years across ten TTC workstreams. As bilateral engagement on trade and technology issues continues, we recommend that the United States and the EU focus on fewer workstreams that align directly with our most significant trade irritants. We also recommend that the governments embrace a more systematic approach to stakeholder engagement modelled on the day-long TIST event in January. 

The TTC has been an important forum for reestablishing trust in the U.S.-EU bilateral economic relationship. Business Roundtable supports future efforts to deepen transatlantic trade and economic relations based on our shared commitment to free-market principles and promoting a democratic model of digital governance.