28 July 2021
EU–U.S. Joint Tech Council—Created to Counter Chinese Influence?
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The creation of the U.S.–EU Trade and Technology Council on June 15 is widely seen as an effort to counter China's rising influence in the tech sector.

On his European tour, American President Joe Biden urged countries to take a tougher stance on China.

Chinese diplomats have accused the United States of trying to poison China's ties with the EU.

The United States and the EU have launched a joint technology and trade initiative to develop new global trade standards for emerging technology, promote democratic values online, and support collaboration on cutting-edge research and development. Some say the initiative was designed to counter China’s rising influence in the tech sector, where it has made huge public investments aimed at creating an internet economy that is controlled by the state.

The creation of the U.S.–EU Trade and Technology Council on June 15 means that “democracies and not anyone else—not China or other autocracies—are writing the rules for trade and technology for the 21st century,” U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan told journalists.

EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, who will co-chair the council along with EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, said the initiative “gives us tools to address threats such as unfair competition and the misuse of new technologies.”

Besides creating the council during his European tour, U.S. President Joe Biden urged the G7, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and now the EU to take a tougher stance on China. Indeed, Biden also announced a truce in the long-running trade dispute over Airbus and Boeing subsidies during his stop in Brussels, saying it was time for the United States and the EU to put aside the fight and focus together on the growing trade threat posed by China.

“Both the U.S. and EU agreed to suspend our tariffs for five years, and we committed to ensuring a level playing field for our companies and our workers. Significantly, we also agreed to work together to challenge and counter China’s non-market practices in this sector that give China’s companies an unfair advantage,” Biden said.

Beijing has accused Washington of poisoning China’s ties with the EU and urged the bloc to maintain its independence.

“The United States is engaged in ideological line drawing and a small circle against China, but the interests of the United States and the European Union are different,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was cited as saying. “The European Union is independent, and relevant European countries will not tie themselves to the American anti-China chariot.”

This article was originally published in IISD’s Trade and Sustainability Review, Volume 1, Issue 3.

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