US, EU agree to continue trade and technology talks | Economic news

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By MATTHEW LEE, AP Diplomatic Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States and the European Union agreed on Wednesday to continue the work of 10 expert groups to explore and recommend solutions to various trade disputes and challenges.

During the first of two days of trade and technology talks in Pittsburgh, they called on the working groups to continue their deliberations on issues ranging from climate and cleantech and tech standards to global trade issues, including tariffs that have strained US-European relations and predatory trade. China practices.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Katherine Tai led the US delegation, accompanied by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for the inaugural meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council. The meeting took place in an atmosphere clouded by the EU’s recent anger at being shut out of a new US-UK-Australia security initiative for the Indo-Pacific that aims to counter growing assertion of China in the region.

Raimondo said the contentious Indo-Pacific dispute fell outside the TTC’s mandate and had not been discussed in the talks, while Blinken and the EU delegation hailed the talks as extremely productive and cooperative in pushing for to create new rules of the road for world trade.

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“We work very, very closely together,” said Blinken. “When we work together, we have the unique ability to help shape the norms, standards and rules that will govern how technology is used; technology affects the lives of virtually all of our citizens. We have the ability to set the pace to set the standard. “

In a joint statement released after Wednesday’s talks, the two sides agreed on the need to maintain investment screening and export controls, affirmed their intention to develop “innovative and worthy artificial intelligence systems.” Trust ”and“ upholding universal human rights and shared democratic values, ”and pledged to partner to rebalance semiconductor supply chains.

They also agreed that the working group on export controls will meet again on October 27.

The two sides hoped to make progress on several disputes, including US tariffs on EU steel and aluminum imports, and a unified stance against predatory China’s trade policies. But the 17-page joint statement made no specific mention of either issue and contained no reference to China by name.

Administration officials had said the Pittsburgh talks would mark the start of a new transatlantic process that would focus on semiconductors, supply chains, vaccines and climate change, as well as studies on the artificial intelligence and high-tech telecommunications, including advanced 6G networks.

The White House, in part, saw the rally as an opportunity to renew its efforts for better coordination against what the administration sees as Beijing’s coercive and unfair business practices.

The administration was to stress that the United States and Europe must continue to work to build resilience against China and other countries engaging in unfair economic practices, according to a person familiar with the American preparations. The person was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

But it was not clear how keen some European allies were to push Beijing harder. In brief public remarks, neither the US side nor the European Commission delegation, led by its two executive vice presidents, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis, made any mention of the case.

Launched in June during Biden’s visit to Europe, the TTC initially attracted little attention, but it became a focal point for growing tensions between the United States and France, as the Paris government sought to delay this meeting.

Those tensions exploded earlier this month when the United States, Britain and Australia announced their new Indo-Pacific security initiative, known as AUKUS, which pointedly excluded France and the ‘EU, and immediately resulted in the cancellation of a multibillion-dollar Australian-French submarine. Contract. France reacted with rage to the announcement, which it described as a “stab in the back” by so-called allies, and recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.

Among the French complaints, which have been echoed by EU leaders, are the fact that the European Union plays an active and important role in the Indo-Pacific and that any initiative aimed at dulling Chinese influence there down or elsewhere will not succeed without it.

Biden, at the Group of Seven summit in June in Carbis Bay, England, successfully pressured his fellow leaders to include specific language criticizing China’s use of forced labor and other violations rights in their joint communiqué.

Canada, the UK, France and Japan have broadly supported the Biden administration’s position, while Germany, Italy and the European Union have shown hesitation in the talks.

The Pittsburgh talks came as the Biden administration seeks to complete its review of the Trump administration’s trade policies towards China soon.

Associated Press editors Aamer Madhani and Josh Boak in Washington and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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