The fourth Ministerial meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (“TTC”) took place in Luleå, Sweden, on 31 May 2023. It was co-chaired by European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, joined by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, and hosted by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
On this occasion, the United States and the European Union reiterated the central role of the TTC in the broader transatlantic partnership, the strategic nature of which was reconfirmed in the context of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable war of aggression against Ukraine. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.
The TTC continues to contribute to a coordinated and effective response to Russia’s war in Ukraine by the United States and the European Union, including in areas such as sanction-related export restrictions and combatting foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI) and disinformation campaigns which undermine human rights and threaten the functioning of democracies and the well-being of societies, including in third countries.
We recognize that the changing international environment requires enhanced cooperation and information exchange to identify and respond to challenges affecting our economic security. We further reaffirm that the basis of our cooperation to strengthen our economic security is rooted in the international rules-based system. We continue to strengthen our bilateral coordination in these areas as well as working with other partners, including the G7, to diversify our supply chains, to address non-market policies and practices designed to reinforce dependencies and to increase our mutual collective preparedness, resilience, and deterrence to economic coercion.
The United States and the European Union are committed to joint leadership in promoting and upholding an international rules-based order grounded in shared values. We continue to cooperate in multilateral discussions related to trade and technology in fora such as the G20 and G7, continue our efforts to modernize global trade rules by seeking solutions to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) and make substantive progress as we prepare for the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Given the rapid pace of technological developments, the United States and the European Union are committed to deepening our cooperation on technology issues, including on artificial intelligence (AI), 6G, online platforms and quantum. We are committed to make the most of the potential of emerging technologies, while at the same time limiting the challenges they pose to universal human rights and shared democratic values. In this context, we seek to continue advancing the principles presented in the Declaration for the Future of the Internet (DFI), together with like-minded partners. The United States and the European Union share a commitment to develop our workforces with the skills to spur the next wave of economic growth.
As the pressing need to tackle the challenges posed by climate change has become a priority on both sides of the Atlantic, the United States and the European Union are placing decarbonization efforts at the heart of trade policy to accelerate the transition towards a net zero economy. Via the Transatlantic Initiative for Sustainable Trade, the United States and the European Union are strengthening engagement towards a transatlantic green marketplace. The ongoing work on a Global Sustainable Arrangement for Steel and Aluminum shows our resolve to rise to this challenge with a view to achieve an ambitious outcome by October 2023. During the visit of President von der Leyen to the White House in March, the United States and the European Union announced the beginning of negotiations of a critical minerals agreement for the purpose of enabling relevant critical minerals extracted or processed in the European Union to count toward requirements for clean vehicles in the Section 30D clean vehicle tax credit of the Inflation Reduction Act as well as part of a broader process by the United States and the European Union to collaborate on securing supplies of critical minerals.
In addition, the United States and the European Union launched the Clean Energy Incentives Dialogue to share information about clean energy incentive programs on both sides of the Atlantic. It will also allow the United States and the European Union to discuss systemic issues related to the design and effects of incentive programs and also develop a common understanding of market dynamics. We plan to also undertake joint analyses of non-market policies and practices of third parties to better understand their impact on US and EU companies.
II. Key Outcomes of the Fourth TTC Ministerial meeting
A. Robust Transatlantic Cooperation on Emerging Technologies for Joint U.S.-EU Leadership
AI is a transformative technology with great promise for our people, offering opportunities to increase prosperity and equity. But in order to seize the opportunities it presents, we must mitigate its risks. The United States and the European Union reaffirm their commitment to a risk-based approach to AI to advance trustworthy and responsible AI technologies. Cooperating on our approaches is key to promoting responsible AI innovation that respects rights and safety and ensures that AI provides benefits in line with our shared democratic values.
Recent developments in generative AI highlight the scale of the opportunities and the need to address the associated risks. These developments further highlight the urgency and importance of successful cooperation on AI already taking place under the TTC through the implementation of the Joint Roadmap on Evaluation and Measurement Tools for Trustworthy AI and Risk Management, as further outlined below.
The United States and the European Union decided to add special emphasis on generative AI, including its opportunities and risks, to the work on the Roadmap. This work will complement the G7 Hiroshima AI process.
In addition, the United States and the European Union have advanced the implementation of the Joint Roadmap on Evaluation and Measurement Tools for Trustworthy AI and Risk Management through the launch of three dedicated expert groups which focus on:
- AI terminology and taxonomy,
- Cooperation on AI standards and tools for trustworthy AI and risk management, and
- Monitoring and measuring existing and emerging AI risks.
The groups have (i) issued a list of 65 key AI terms essential to understanding risk-based approaches to AI, along with their U.S. and EU interpretations and shared U.S.-EU definitions and (ii) mapped the respective involvement of the United States and the European Union in standardisation activities with the goal of identifying relevant AI-related standards of mutual interest. Going forward, we will continue to consult and be informed by industry, civil society, and academia. We intend to expand shared AI terms, continue our progress towards advancing AI standards and tools for AI risk management, and develop a catalogue of existing and emergent risks, including an understanding of the challenges posed by generative AI.
We will continue to cooperate in multilateral discussions such as the G7 or in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We remain, as founding members, actively involved in the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence.
AI Cooperation to Address Global Challenges
On 27 January 2023, the European Commission and the United States enhanced our ability to cooperate through the signing of an administrative arrangement expressing our intent to support collaboration on advanced AI research focused on five areas which represent shared significance and benefit: extreme weather and climate forecasting, emergency response management, health and medicine improvements, energy grid optimization, and agriculture optimization. We reaffirm our intent to share findings and resources in collaboration with other international partners, including low- and middle-income countries, to foster broad societal benefits in the selected focus areas.
We intend to start implementation of this cooperation by establishing an internal catalogue between the European Commission and the U.S. government’s scientific agencies, as appropriate, of relevant research results and resources in the five focus areas. For example, for the topic of extreme weather and climate forecasting, we intend to exchange information on challenges in using AI for Earth Science Digital Twins, and to identify areas of collaboration.
Standardization work on critical and emerging technologies
The United States and the European Union are advancing concrete work and outcomes on joint technical specifications for key critical and emerging technologies.
In collaboration with the respective U.S. and EU standardization organizations, we encourage increased development of international standards for additive manufacturing (3D printing) that bear three logos (ISO, CEN, ASTM), for example on health and safety. This would strengthen transatlantic developments and growth in the area of additive manufacturing where digital design guides the fabrication of complex, three-dimensional products built up additively layer-by-layer. This area has the potential for significant growth in the coming years enabling innovative new designs and material compositions for manufactured parts.
The United States and the European Union are advancing collaboration in the promising area of digital identity and have held a series of U.S.-EU technical exchanges and an event to engage subject matter experts from government, industry, civil society, and academia. By the next U.S.-EU TTC Ministerial, and in close consultation with these expert communities, we intend to develop a transatlantic mapping of digital identity resources, initiatives, and use cases with the aim of advancing transatlantic pre-standardization research efforts, facilitating interoperability, and streamlining implementation guidance while respecting human rights. This work will be without prejudice to EU and U.S. legislative work and in full compliance with applicable law in this area.
The United States and the European Union have cooperated to develop a shared vision on a standard for charging electric heavy-duty vehicles. This achievement is also accompanied by recommendations resulting from the long history of scientific collaboration between the EU’s Joint Research Centre and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. We recognize the Megawatt Charging System (MCS) adoption by IEC, SAE and ISO for the charging of electric heavy-duty vehicles, where the alignment of our approaches to standardisation will be critical for the roll-out of dedicated recharging infrastructure. Both sides applaud efforts towards compatibility of physical connectors (plugs) and a common vehicle-to-grid communication interface for all power levels, recognizing that additional solutions may be possible among private sector operators.
We will continue to work together to develop a transatlantic test procedure for high power-charging, up to MCS levels, assuring interoperability and system charge performance. These efforts will ensure that stakeholders will benefit from fully compatible technical specifications, reducing manufacturing and deployment costs and thus facilitating transatlantic cooperation for electromobility to become mainstream. During our meeting in Luleå, we displayed the MCS physical connector as well as a truck and recharging station – a visible proof of this success. This cooperation also paves the way for possible MCS applications in inland shipping, marine, mining, and aviation sectors among others.
By the end of 2023, we expect to have developed joint U.S.-EU policy recommendations on accelerating access to and the uptake of digital tools bysmall- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They will also address the role, access to and participation of SMEs in international standardisation activities thanks to feedback collected from SMEs through dedicated consultations. The United States and the European Union also plan to explore and exchange best practices on how to educate and train technical experts in standards development, especially with a view to the new skillsets required for critical and emerging technologies.
E-Mobility standards and interoperability with smart grids
We also welcome the publication of U.S.-EU joint technical recommendations for government-funded implementation of e-vehicle charging infrastructure which were developed in consultation with governments, industry, and grid-service stakeholders.
Transatlantic collaboration on EV infrastructure technical requirements can more efficiently roll out publicly funded charging infrastructure, enhance our power grids, and enable our industries to be more competitive across global markets. The recommendations propose 1) the development of a joint standards support strategy; 2) support for the development and implementation of cost-effective smart charging infrastructure that avoids stranded assets; and 3) identification of the pre-normative research, development and demonstration required to tackle remaining challenges and to support consumers, industry, and the grid.
As a critical technology and essential linkage in an ever-growing range of industries, the United States and the European Union face a shared imperative to build resilient semiconductor supply chains.
The United States and the European Union have completed a joint early warning mechanism for semiconductor supply chain disruptions and a transparency mechanism for reciprocal sharing of information about public support provided to the semiconductor sector.
With regard to the early warning mechanism, the United States and the European Union have outlined the operational steps to be taken in the event of a future disruption and have shared their assessments of the current situation of the semiconductor value chain.
The United States and the European Union have also started formal exchanges of information on public support granted to the semiconductor sector in their respective jurisdictions.
The United States and the European Union are committed to avoiding a race to the bottom in semiconductor public support. Therefore, a reciprocal mechanism has been put in place for consultation at the principals’ level to facilitate communication to head off and prevent subsidy races. The United States and the European Union also believe that semiconductor investments in both jurisdictions are mutually beneficial. Increased investment in semiconductors in Europe supports resilience in U.S. supply chains, and increased investment in the semiconductors in the United States similarly supports resilience in EU supply chains. Consequently, the United States applauds the political agreement on the EU CHIPS Act. The European Union welcomes progress in the implementation of the U.S. CHIPS Act.
The cooperation between the United States and the European Union is reinforcing the success of our respective efforts to promote semiconductor supply chains. Exchanges on best practices facilitated by the TTC has informed our respective approaches and will remain a useful tool for their implementation of efforts related to public support frameworks, workforce development, and demand forecasts. In particular, the United States and the European Union have discussed common elements of our respective public support frameworks, such as the possible use of upside sharing/claw-back of excessive profits and requirements for information from companies, with an aim to improve effectiveness and share lessons learned. We share the commitment to good stewardship of public funds, and through our cooperation aim to make each of our respective public support programs more efficient and more effective.
Going forward, we are exploring additional ways to collaborate, including how to cooperate on incentives for research on alternatives to the use of per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) in semiconductor manufacturing. We will also explore building a robust semiconductor supply chain ecosystem from material inputs to packaging, including through sharing views and exchanging information on targeted supply chain supports.
The United States and the European Union have established a joint Task Force to address open questions on science and technology cooperation in quantum technologies. The Task Force is expected to elaborate on reciprocity for participating in the respective public R&D programs, the applicable intellectual property rights framework, the identification of critical components, standardisation, defining benchmarking of quantum computers, and export control related issues as appropriate. The Task Force is also discussing activities in Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) standardization and discussed potential avenues for future cooperation, feeding into the U.S.-EU Cyber Dialogue.
B. Promoting sustainability and new opportunities for trade and investment
Transatlantic Initiative on Sustainable Trade
The United States and the European Union, recognizing the important role of trade policy in driving the transition towards a net-zero economy and building on the cooperation already ongoing under the TTC, are working together to amplify the potential of the transatlantic marketplace as a catalyst for decarbonization and a green transition.
The Transatlantic Initiative on Sustainable Trade launched at the third U.S.-EU TTC Ministerial meeting in December 2022 offers a pathway for dialogue that aims to: boost transatlantic trade and investment to further the deployment of goods and services essential to the transition to more circular and net-zero economies ; strengthen the resilience and sustainability of key supply chains; ensure that the green transition is fair and inclusive; and promote efforts to advance the transition to a low-emission and green future at a global level.
To guide these endeavors the United States and the European Union are endorsing a work program.
U.S.-EU Clean Energy Incentives Dialogue
In light of the need for increased investments on both sides of the Atlantic to build clean energy economies and industrial bases, the European Union and United States on 10 March 2023 launched a Clean Energy Incentives Dialogue as part of the TTC to ensure our respective incentive programs are mutually reinforcing. We are taking steps to avoid any disruptions in transatlantic trade and investment flows that could arise from our respective incentives. We stress that, in driving clean energy economy of the future, we will cooperate openly and transparently in a coordinated manner reflecting our joint commitment not to act at each other’s expense. We are working against zero-sum competition to ensure that our incentives maximize clean energy deployment and jobs. The dialogue should also address systemic issues on design and effects of incentive programs going forward. The Clean Energy Incentives Dialogue will also facilitate information-sharing on non-market policies and practices of third parties to serve as the basis for joint or parallel action and coordinated advocacy on these issues in multilateral or other fora.
To achieve a successful green transition, and to ensure our economic security, the United States and the European Union recognize the need to work together on our shared concerns around supply chains for critical minerals, metals, and material inputs. For many critical minerals, we note that the United States and the European Union are both reliant on imports, often from limited sources, and that this reliance leaves us vulnerable to disruptions such as geopolitical shocks and natural disasters. Successfully addressing our shared concerns will require close coordination.
Increasing the Use of Digital Tools to Enhance Trade
In consultation with stakeholders, the United States and the European Union will continue exploring ways to increase the use of digital tools in transatlantic trade-related transactions, as well as ways in which the United States and the European Union may enhance cooperation on trade facilitation to simplify and modernize export and import processes.
Mutual Recognition Agreements and Conformity Assessment-Related Initiatives
The United States and the European Union have extended the scope of the U.S.-EU Mutual Recognition Agreement annex for Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices to include veterinary medicines. Moreover, the United States and the European Union updated the existing U.S.-EU Marine Equipment Mutual Recognition Agreement to keep it aligned with the latest developments at the international level.
With the goal of promoting more frictionless trade between our markets, the United States and the European Union are working to facilitate conformity assessment across a range of sectors, such as machinery, and to continue exploring cooperation on horizontal approaches to conformity assessment. For this purpose, we intend to conduct stakeholder outreach and to facilitate regular expert meetings, including the relevant European Commission services and U.S. agencies, as appropriate.
Trade and Labor and Sustainable Supply Chains
The United States and the European Union continue to promote sustainable and responsible supply chains with strong protection for labor rights. For this purpose, they had in-depth exchanges on relevant existing and upcoming regulations and rules, and on their implementation, as well as on approaches to support the successful development of sustainable and responsible supply chains and support stakeholders in their efforts. On 3 March 2023 they jointly convened a roundtable with multiple stakeholders to discuss practical approaches to effective due diligence implementation, including for the eradication of forced labor from supply chains.
Today, the United States and the European Union also held their second principal-level session of the Trade and Labor Dialogue (TALD) that brought together senior representatives from labor, business, and government from both sides of the Atlantic. The meeting offered an opportunity to deepen discussions on the eradication of forced labor from global trade and from global supply chains and to examine the impact of the green transition on workers. The United States and the European Union welcomed a new set of joint recommendations on combatting forced labor in global supply chains that were developed by a group of representatives of U.S. and EU labor unions and companies. We welcome the spirit of collaboration that made these joint recommendations possible. The United States and the European Union will discuss how these recommendations can be taken into account and will continue working with our labor and business stakeholders to ensure that the TALD informs our collaboration on trade and labor issues.
Promoting Global Digital Trade Principles
The United States and the European Union reaffirm their shared interest in a global digital trade environment that reflects our values. To that end – and building upon work on digital trade principals such as the G7 – we intend to identify additional commonalities in current U.S. and EU digital trade policies. We will then work jointly to promote those principles with other trading partners with the goal of ensuring that global trade in digital services and technology support our shared democratic values. Within the Global Trade Challenges Working Group, the United States and the European Union intend to exchange information on non-market policies and practices affecting digital trade, as well as on our respective policies linked to risks stemming from digital firms from non-market economies.
C. Trade, Security and Economic Prosperity
In a changing geopolitical environment, the United States and the European Union reiterate their commitment under the TTC to continue cooperation in the field of export controls and cooperation on investment screening and to address the challenges posed by, among other issues, non-market policies and practices and economic coercion. We also remain committed to enhance cooperation on these matters in any relevant fora, including the G7 and the WTO.
Cooperation on Export Controls and Sanction-Related Export Restrictions
The TTC continues to support the unprecedented cooperation by the U.S., EU, and other international partners on the economic measures against Russia and Belarus for the war in Ukraine. The TTC supports implementation of these measures through the consistent exchange of information on the application of controls as well as working to address enforcement and circumvention risks. This work has delivered important results, including identifying key categories of goods critical to Russia’s efforts on the battlefield that the European Union, the United States, and their partners used to interrupt diversion efforts to Russia and further tighten enforcement through counter-evasion actions. This cooperation also enabled the United States and the European Union to design dedicated restrictions to prevent exports of technology found in Iran-manufactured drones and to allow information sharing on our trade restrictions. The United States and the European Union are coordinating engagements with third countries to counter evasion of export restrictions on sensitive items and are conducting coordinated capacity building actions to enable third countries’ authorities to tackle export control evasion and circumvention more effectively.
The TTC has also supported technical consultation on regulatory development between the United States and the European Union, including on coordinated timing for publishing the new controls on biotechnologies decided in the Australia Group in 2022. The TTC is also working towards the clarification and simplification of re-export procedures for the benefit of exporters and to develop a common understanding of how U.S. and EU rules are applied on both sides of the Atlantic.
The United States and the European Union will further consult each other in advance of the introduction of export controls on sensitive items.
The United States and the European Union will continue discussions where appropriate, on risk assessments underlying controls on emerging technologies with a view to enable transatlantic cooperation for the development of such technologies and address the associated risks for international security and human rights.
Finally, as recently underscored by the G7 Non-proliferation Directors Group, the United States and the European Union recall that export controls remain a key non-proliferation instrument in maintaining international security and stability and recognize the central role of multilateral non-proliferation export control regimes in that regard. Export controls are crucial for creating a favorable environment for further economic growth through more secure trade and investment, and we will continue cooperating among ourselves and work with other states in strengthening effective and responsible export controls to address the challenges posed by the misuse and illicit diversion of technologies critical for the development of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery, and for advanced military technology programs by state and non-state actors, while promoting an environment in which science, technology and legitimate research collaboration can flourish.
The United States and the European Union continued exchanges on investment trends impacting national security risks related to specific sensitive technologies and critical infrastructure. We look forward to working together on deepening our understanding of the policy tools available to address national security risks in a holistic manner. The United States and the European Union reiterate the importance of establishing, maintaining, and making full use of comprehensive, robust national security-based and for the EU, public-order based investment screening mechanisms on both sides of the Atlantic, while remaining open for investment. The United States and the European Union welcome the recent significant progress towards the adoption and full implementation of investment screening mechanisms in a number of European Union Member States without such systems. The United States and the European Union continue to support the development and implementation of these mechanisms, including through joint outreach to interested stakeholders starting with the Western Balkans.
Outbound Investment Controls
The United States and the European Union recognize that appropriate measures designed to address risks from outbound investment could be important to complement existing tools of targeted controls on exports and inbound investments, which work together to protect our sensitive technologies from being used in ways that threaten international peace and security.
The United States and the European Union have a common interest in preventing the narrow set of technological advances that are assessed to be core to enhancing the military and intelligence capabilities of actors who may use these capabilities to undermine international peace and security, from being fueled by our companies’ capital, expertise, and knowledge. We will uphold our efforts across the Atlantic, working in coordination with our G7 allies to continue to coordinate, share lessons, and seek to align our approaches where feasible to maximize the effectiveness of our efforts.
Addressing Non-Market Policies and Practices
The United States and the European Union share concerns about the threat posed by a range of non-market policies and practices of third countries. We stand ready to address these practices, both bilaterally and through multilateral approaches. We have exchanged views and information regarding these types of policies and practices in the medical devices sector in China and their adverse impact on our workers and businesses, and we are exploring possible coordinated actions. We also continue to exchange views and analysis on government-owned or government-controlled investment funds. We have begun mapping out the ecosystem supporting enterprises benefitting from these funds and are analyzing the distortions caused by these funds.
The United States and the European Union also share concerns about the impact of non-market economic policies, on the global supply of semiconductors, particularly in legacy chips. To avoid negative spillover effects from excess global capacity that undermine the health of our respective semiconductor ecosystems, the United States and the European Union, in cooperation with like-minded partners, will exchange information and market intelligence related to non-market policies and practices and explore cooperative measures to address those policies and their distortionary effects.
Addressing Economic Coercion
The United States and the European Union remain concerned with the continued use of economic coercion, which has been deployed with increasing frequency in recent years. This includes attempts to undermine other governments’ legitimate policy decisions through the use, or threat of use, of targeting of foreign firms and individuals to prevent or interfere with the foreign government’s exercise of its legitimate sovereign right or choices, such as through opaque regulatory and cybersecurity reviews. We also share deep concern, underscored by the transatlantic business community, about actions against independent business diligence and advisory firms that are essential for investor confidence and the integrity of commercial transactions. Not only does economic coercion improperly impose costs on governments for making legitimate policy decisions, the threat of economic coercion alone chills other such decisions, including those of small- and medium-sized economies.
Without unduly limiting trade and investment, we remain committed to enhance cooperation in any relevant forum including the G7 Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion, and to strengthen coordination with each other and other likeminded partners to improve our preparedness, resilience, deterrence, assessment and responses to economic coercion. For that purpose, we intend to make full use of our respective tools to counter economic coercion. We will coordinate, as appropriate, to support targeted states, economies and entities as a demonstration of solidarity and resolve to uphold the rule of law. We also note in that connection the importance of the recent progress in the European Union on the adoption of an anti-coercion instrument.
D. Connectivity and digital infrastructure
Beyond 5G / 6G
The United States and the European Union have accelerated cooperation to develop a common vision and industry roadmap on research and development for 6G wireless communication systems. 6G is expected to start replacing 5G as the predominant commercial cellular wireless standard by 2030. We share the common aim to ensure these technologies possess the capability to enable use cases of the future and are designed based on our shared values and principles.
To that end, and in consultation with stakeholders, we have developed a 6G outlook. It includes the conclusions of a transatlantic 6G workshop, guiding principles and key themes for a common vision, and next steps.
Secure and trusted digital infrastructure and connectivity in third countries
The United States and the European Union share the commitment to working with third countries, particularly emerging economies, on promoting digital inclusion and secure and trustworthy connectivity around the world. To that end, we will organize a ‘Digital Ministerial Roundtable on Inclusion and Connectivity’ with participation of the Digital Ministers of key emerging economies to be convened in the coming months. This roundtable will help identify common needs and challenges around digital infrastructure and explore how the United States and the European Union can best collaborate to support the digitalisation needs of emerging economies. In addition, the United States and the European Union intend to further enhance cooperation with like-minded countries, such as the G7, to support the deployment of secure and trustworthy ICT networks.
In line with the principles set at the second U.S.-EU TTC Ministerial meeting, and following the commitments at the third Ministerial meeting, we are operationalising our support for inclusive ICTS projects in Jamaica and Kenya, including by mobilizing U.S. and EU financial instruments, as available and appropriate. Within the framework of a memorandum of understanding signed between European Investment Bank and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation on 13 April 2023, we plan to scale up our common efforts to accelerate the roll-out of secure and resilient connectivity projects in third countries with trusted vendors. The United States and the European Union are supporting new connectivity projects in Costa Rica and the Philippines.
- Cooperation on connectivity with Costa Rica – in close coordination with the government of Costa Rica, we are providing assistance to support the rollout of secure, resilient, and inclusive digital connectivity under Costa Rica’s National Telecommunications Plan 2022-2027. Support includes U.S. and EU technical assistance on telecommunications security and intention to help finance Costa Rica’s 5G roll-out. In addition, we are providing the Costa Rican government with assistance to secure its networks and critical infrastructure, including through the establishment of a sub-regional hub for cyber competences.
- Cooperation on connectivity with the Philippines – in close coordination with the government of the Philippines, we plan to support their efforts to bridge digital divides and provide trusted and resilient connectivity to its citizens. Support includes technical assistance grants to support the development and implementation of a 5G stand-alone network as well as cybersecurity training and other assistance to the Philippines Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). We are also supporting the establishment of the national Copernicus data centre, which will strengthen the Philippines’ resilience to natural disasters and support climate change adaptation.
In addition to these activities, the United States and the European Union intend to further intensify coordination to ensure that third countries have access to trusted networks (and the benefits associated with such networks). This will include, for instance, coordination between a broad range of financing and assistance agencies within the United States and the European Union, in close coordination with European Union Member States, to come forward with relevant and competitive financing and other assistance packages for projects with trusted suppliers in partner countries.
International connectivity and subsea cable projects
The European Union and United States acknowledge the strategic importance of international connectivity for security and trade. For this purpose, we aim to advance cooperation to promote the selection of trusted subsea cable providers for new cable projects – in particular for intercontinental ICT cable projects that promote trustworthy suppliers, reduce latency and enhance route diversity. We intend to continue discussions on ensuring transatlantic subsea cables’ connectivity and security, including on alternate routes that connect Europe, North America and Asia.
E. Defending human rights and values in a changing geopolitical digital environment
Transparent and accountable online platforms
The United States and the European Union share the view that online platforms should exercise greater responsibility in ensuring that their services contribute to an online environment that protects, empowers and respects children and youth and take responsible actions to address the impact of their services on children and youths’ mental health and development. Similarly, we share the view it is crucially important for independent research teams to be able to investigate, analyze and report on how online platforms operate and how they affect individuals and society. As we enhance our bilateral work, the United States and the European Union developed a list of high-level principles on the protection and empowerment of children and youth and facilitation of data access from online platforms for independent research.
Foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI) in third countries
The United States and the European Union are deeply concerned about foreign information manipulation and interference (FIMI) and disinformation, which threatens universal values, the functioning of democracies and the well-being of societies around the world. Russia’s strategic and coordinated use of such activities in the preparation and execution of its war of aggression against Ukraine, and People’s Republic of China’s amplification of Russian disinformation narratives about the war, are stark examples of the dangers of FIMI, and the effects can be seen in many countries around the world, notably in Africa and Latin-America.
Strategic cooperation between the United States and the European Union has contributed to building a common situational awareness and understanding of the threats posed by FIMI and information operations. Close exchanges on developing effective, timely, and human rights-respecting responses continue. Cooperation in the TTC includes:
- A shared standard for structured threat information exchange on FIMI between the United States and the European Union, as well as the underlying common methodology for identifying, analysing and countering FIMI. Moving forward, the United States and the European Union plan to support the use of this standard by stakeholders across the globe.
- Actions to enhance the preparedness of the multi-stakeholder community to step up their actions against FIMI threats, including by exploring further support for capacity building in Africa, Latin America, and EU Neighbourhood countries.
- A call for action to online platforms operating in Africa, Latin-America, and EU Neighbourhood countries to ensure the integrity of their services and to effectively respond to disinformation and FIMI, building on the example of the European Union’s Code of Practice on Disinformation.
The United States and the European Union have issued a joint statement which sets out more details on the ongoing cooperation to combat FIMI in third countries.
Protecting Human Rights Defenders online
To advance Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) protection online and offline, we have deepened cooperation between U.S. and EU-based emergency mechanisms and exchanged information on support strategies which seek to prevent, curb, mitigate and eliminate the use of arbitrary and unlawful surveillance targeting human rights defenders. HRDs play a key role in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. Yet due to their work, they have increasingly become the target of attacks and rights violations and they need protection. We recall the obligations of States to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those of HRDs. We recall the responsibility of the private sector, including technology companies and digital platforms, to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and we call on companies to prevent the misuse of their products and platforms, and to support victims and survivors in their search for remedy and accountability for violations and abuses.
In consultation with stakeholders, we plan to issue joint guidance by the next ministerial meeting on how content hosting platforms can effectively collaborate and coordinate with civil society and HRD protection providers to identify, address, mitigate, prevent, and enable access to remedy for digital attacks targeting HRDs.
This joint work seeks to make a practical contribution to enhancing the universal protection of human rights, which is particularly timely in 2023 when we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
F. Talent for Growth
The Talent for Growth Task Force was launched on 27 April 2023 with the announcement of its EU Section Members and its U.S. Section Members. We have begun to promote the development of the talent and skills of our working-age populations that we critically need to compete in emerging and existing technologies. Our ambitions to lead in these technologies cannot be achieved without expanding opportunity for people to get the skills needed and to that end, we intend to share best practices and serve as a catalyst for innovative skills policies. At the December 2022 TTC meeting in the Washington, D.C area., the United States and the European Union decided to cooperate and create the Talent for Growth Task Force, which brings together government and private sector leaders from business, labor, and organizations that provide training. The Task Force intends to report to the TTC Co-Chairs and address its initial undertakings at the next TTC Ministerial meeting.
The United States and the European Union underline the importance of the advances made across all workstreams established under the TTC. We are committed to continue to make full use of this cooperation forum to deepen the transatlantic partnership to respond to the challenges before us. The co-chairs intend to meet again before the end of 2023 in the United States to review and advance our joint work.