EU-US Trade and Technology Council: The end of the legislative cycle could mark a turning point

Briefing 14-06-2024

The European Union-United States Trade and Technology Council (TTC), which has been meeting twice a year since 2021, seeks to revitalise transatlantic cooperation, boost bilateral trade and investment, and strengthen the parties' technological and industrial leadership while preserving shared values. The bi-annual ministerial meetings steer cooperation within the TTC and guide its work in areas such as technology standards, secure supply chains, tech regulation, global trade challenges, climate and green technologies, investment screening and export controls. The TTC's first four meetings focused on launching the forum, shaping its agenda and establishing political alignment and convergence of views to pave the way for tangible outcomes. This included administrative cooperation on semiconductor supply chains and a shared understanding of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). The fifth interim meeting in January 2024 served as preparation for the April 2024 ministerial in Leuven. The sixth ministerial meeting was the final one before the upcoming European Parliament elections and the United States congressional and presidential elections later this year. This meetings saw further progress in AI policies, the development of a shared vision for 6G, initiatives to enhance interoperability and the creation of joint guidelines and recommendations for online platforms. Most observers believe that the TTC provides additional value to transatlantic trade and tech relations. With the degree of appreciation largely dependent on the expectations set for this collaborative forum. Nonetheless experts and observers are pointing to the need to reform the TTC. Recommendations include boosting the involvement of the European Parliament and the US Congress, increasing engagement with stakeholders and partner countries, reducing the number of ministerial meetings to one per year, limiting the TTC's focus to a few realistic and ambitious priorities and creating a permanent secretariat-like structure responsible for the ongoing running of the TTC.