The European Union and the United States are set to strengthen trade ties in a new group. US cabinet members and European commissioners are meeting today in the US city of Pittsburgh. The summit should restore Atlantic relations after increased tensions over AUKUS, but will they succeed?
1. Why is it necessary to restructure the Atlantic relationship?
Two weeks ago, the United States announced a new alliance called AUKUS. In it, the Americans form a fist with Australia and the United Kingdom against China. The alliance joins forces, thus tearing up Australia’s valuable deal to buy French submarines.
France was outraged by the lack of advance notice. The submarine, which did not buy more than 50 billion euros, was not only economically damaged, but was also in disrepair. This led to harsh criticism from the United States. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has compared Joe Biden to his predecessor, Donald Trump: “These unilateral, unpredictable decisions are similar to what Trump did. Allies should not do this to each other. This is intolerable.”
The French went to the EU with anger. European Commissioner Theory Breton said there had been some ‘breakdown’ in the European-US relationship. The head of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen, said the United States’ actions with France were “unacceptable.” There were threats to postpone negotiations with the new commission, but the EU did not go that far. The diplomatic fire seems to have been extinguished.
2. What are conversations about?
At the EU-US Trade and Tech Council, the European Union and the United States work closely for trade relations and joint regulation for technology companies. In Pittsburgh, European Commissioners Margaret Vestager (competition) and Valdis Dombrovsky (trade) speak with three members of US President Joe Biden’s cabinet, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
According to those who have The two business partners would like to agree at the first meeting to focus on five topics, including regulating artificial intelligence and streamlining export controls. It seems very technical, but it would be easier to agree to remove bureaucratic barriers than to regulate big technology companies like Google and Microsoft.
3. Is the Business and Technology Council only for such technical matters?
Apparently the Business and Technology Council is not very enthusiastic, but Americans see more than just a group making some technical deals. This, like AUKUS, is part of Joe Biden’s strategy to fight China.
Biden sees opportunities for the Council on Trade and Technology to strengthen ties with the European Union and work together, for example, on the development of new technologies. Both Brussels and Washington DC continue to criticize China’s business practices for allegedly stealing patents from Western companies.
By agreeing on the rules together, the Americans hope that the Chinese will accept them. The council is strengthening the coalition of democracies that Biden wants to unite against China’s growing power.
4. Does Europe feel the same way?
Biden wants to go to war against China, which the EU has not always wanted. The EU wants to maintain good trade relations with China. Earlier this year, the European Commission hurt Biden by abruptly terminating a trade deal with China before he took office. This did not happen due to the intervention of the European Parliament.
The first agreements of the Trade and Technology Council will show the extent to which the European Union wants to work with the United States against China. It is clear that China is watching. On Tuesday, September 28, it called on the European Union to hold similar talks on technology and trade issues. The EU has not yet responded to that call.
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