October 24, 2021

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US, EU discuss trade and technology in pursuit of China

WASHINGTON – Senior officials from the United States and the European Union will meet on Wednesday to discuss many of the major economic and technological challenges facing the transatlantic alliance as China’s ambitions increasingly shape global markets.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Catherine Taye will represent the Biden administration at the first US-EU Trade and Technology Council, or TTC, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Biden’s team will meet with European Commission Executive Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrowski.

The group aims to resolve trade disputes, simplify regulatory procedures, and develop “rules of the road” for emerging technologies on both sides of the Atlantic.

The insistence of the United States and the European Union on cooperation in trade and technology points to Western ambitions to compete more effectively with China. Washington and Brussels have accused Beijing of unfair trade practices ranging from intellectual property theft to dumping.

“Europe and the United States have a common interest in ensuring that others abide by the rules of the road,” said Biden, a senior administration official, who asked not to release details before the meeting, without naming a particular government.

The official said that the Trade and Technology Board will focus on cooperation in the following areas:

  • technology standards
  • supply chain security
  • Climate and green energy
  • IT security and competitiveness
  • data monitoring
  • export controls
  • investment liquidation
  • Global Trade Challenges

Wednesday’s US-European meeting in Pittsburgh comes as the Biden administration shifts from costly interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia — such as the 20-year US military mission in Afghanistan — to emerging threats posed by Russia and the United States. China.

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Last week, Biden met face-to-face with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan at the White House to discuss shared concerns about China’s growing military and economic influence. Leaders also discussed progress on Covid-19 vaccines, technology cooperation, and the free and open Indo-Pacific region as China increasingly asserts itself in the region.

The meeting of the Quartet Security Dialogue, as the four major democracies are called, came just one week after Biden announced a new security pact with the United Kingdom and Australia, a move that angered Beijing.

Biden, along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, announced a new trilateral security partnership aimed at strengthening and stabilizing the South Pacific and Indian Ocean region.

As part of the deal, the US and UK will help Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines, which will allow the Australian Navy to help counter Chinese nuclear-powered ships in the area.

“This will give Australia the ability to essentially deploy its submarines for longer periods of time, they are quieter, much more capable, and it will allow us to maintain and improve deterrence across the Indo-Pacific,” said a senior administration official. . , who spoke on condition of anonymity, earlier this month.

“What we’re seeing in the Indo-Pacific is a set of circumstances where the capabilities are more advanced,” the official added. “It allows Australia to play at a much higher level and increase American capabilities.”

Beijing criticized the security agreement and the arms deal as “extremely irresponsible”.

“The export of highly sensitive nuclear submarine technologies to Australia by the US and UK proves once again that they are using nuclear exports as a tool of the geopolitical game and adopt double standards. It is a very irresponsible act,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. He was asked about the tripartite security agreement advance this month.

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“The search for a closed and exclusive clique contradicts the spirit of the times and the aspirations of the countries of the region, which find no support and lead to nothing,” he added.

Biden, who spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, had previously said his approach to China would be different from that of his predecessor in that he would work more closely with his allies to fend off Beijing.

However, the president’s latest move infuriated America’s oldest ally. The security alliance, called AUKUS, sparked a diplomatic row with Paris as the deal effectively ended a long-running arms deal between Australia and France.

Biden met French President Emmanuel Macron last week in an effort to ease tensions, and the two leaders agreed to meet in Europe at the end of October. During the appeal, Macron also agreed to return France’s ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne, to Washington.