December 8, 2021
U.S. Secretary of Commerce, United States
Under the Biden Administration, the United States has been working toward strengthening its transatlantic partnership with the European Union. This year’s launch of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) presents an opportunity to expand trade and investment ties between the two economies and overcome common challenges from non-market countries.
During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s third annual Transatlantic Business Works Summit, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo spoke about the Biden Administration’s priorities for U.S.-EU partnerships, including the TTC, commerce-led working groups, and enhanced privacy shield updates.
The U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Is a ‘Top Foreign Policy Priority’
In June 2021, the Biden Administration forged a new era of transatlantic cooperation between the United States and its European partners through the development of the TTC. The objective of this partnership is to increase the competitiveness among the nations and spread democratic values by investing in cutting-edge technology and innovation. Raimondo, a co-chair of the TTC, emphasized that these efforts are a “top foreign policy priority.”
“This is an opportunity for us to update the rules of the road for the 21st-century economy while expanding our competitiveness around the world,” said Raimondo.
“The world commerce and our co-chairs at USTR in the state department have been working closely with the European Commission on the TTC,” she continued. “Two months ago, we had our inaugural meeting in Pittsburgh, both the U.S. government and the European Commission have since then been soliciting views from stakeholders.”
Commerce-Led Working Groups Are Working Closely with EU Allies
Raimondo noted that there are five commerce-led working groups within the TTC that are coordinating closely with EU allies on various issues.
“The working groups aim to coordinate on international standards in critical technologies like artificial intelligence, cooperate on strategies to promote supply chain resilience and diversification, and launch outreach activities to hear from small and medium-sized enterprises to better understand the barriers to their digital empowerment,” she said. “Ultimately, it's about creating an environment where businesses can flourish.”
Some Leaders Have Hesitations about EU Legislation
Raimondo spoke about the EU’s formation of both the Digital Market Act and the Digital Services Act. While the stated goal of these acts is to “create a fair, transparent and safe digital space,” there is some hesitation among leaders, said Raimondo.
“We have serious concerns that these proposals will disproportionately impact U.S.-based tech firms and their ability to adequately serve EU customers and uphold security and privacy standards,” she said.
“We understand the proposals are moving quickly through the EU legislative [bodies],” continued Raimondo. “But now more than ever, we encourage officials to continue listening to our concerns by stakeholders before finalizing their decision.”
The Development of an Advanced Privacy Shield Is in the Works
The formation of a U.S.-EU privacy shield has reached contention over the last two years. On July 16, 2020, the EU determined the current EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework was an invalid mechanism, as it did not comply with the EU’s data protection requirements. Raimondo stressed that establishing an effective, enhanced privacy shield is a first priority for the Biden administration.
“I personally remain very actively engaged in the negotiations,” said Raimondo. “Although we have not yet reached a deal on the privacy shield, we're optimistic for a durable, legally defensible arrangement in the near future.”