Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - EU-US to seek shared tech rules despite French ire

EU-US to seek shared tech rules despite French ire

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
High-level talks will begin in the US city of Pittsburgh on Wednesday despite efforts by Paris to delay the meeting in retaliation for a pact between the US, Australia and Britain. AFP

EU-US to seek shared tech rules despite French ire

The EU and US will this week embark on a tricky effort to deepen ties on tech regulation, but with France resisting the project in the wake of a row with Washington over a submarine deal.

High-level talks will begin in the US city of Pittsburgh on September 29 despite efforts by Paris to delay the meeting in retaliation for a pact between the US, Australia and Britain – dubbed Aukus – that saw Canberra scrap a multi-billion-dollar submarine order from France.

The EU-US Trade and Tech Council was set up after a summit in June to look at issues including trying to attune their strategies on regulating internet giants and defend democratic values.

The council came at the request of the Europeans, who are seeking concrete signs of increased transatlantic cooperation after years of tension under former US president Donald Trump, especially over trade.

President Joe Biden’s administration will be represented by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

On the European side, EU executive vice-presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis will lead talks.

Vestager, the EU’s tech policy supremo, said the talks would attempt to enhance cooperation “in the areas where there is a shared sense of values being two big, old democracies”.

The talks in Pittsburgh, a rust-belt city that has grown into a tech hub, are only the first instalment of the Trade and Tech Council, with another round expected in the spring, Vestager said.

EU diplomats said France sharply criticised the talks at a meeting on September 24, reminding member states that previous attempts to deepen trade ties with Washington led nowhere.

Dombrovskis, who is also the EU’s trade commissioner, cautioned that the new effort was not an attempt to clinch a trade deal, with memories still fresh of the failed attempt to strike an ambitious accord during the Obama administration.

The European Commission, which handles trade policy for the EU’s 27 member states, also failed to finalise a smaller scale deal with Donald Trump, beyond a zero-tariff pact on lobsters.

“It’s not like a free trade agreement,” the former Latvian prime minister told reporters. “It’s more about long-term benefits.”

Dombrovskis pointed to potential cooperation on banning unwanted foreign investments or tackling supply chain problems, such as with microchips.

The talks will be broken into 10 working groups on a wide range of issues, with Vestager looking to find common ground on how to curb Big Brother – such as in preventing excesses in artificial intelligence.

“We do not find that these practices should have a home in a democracy,” she said. “I have a strong feeling that this is something that is really shared with the Americans.”

The talks will take place while both sides remain at loggerheads over the steel and aluminium tariffs that were imposed by Trump, but which Biden has yet to remove.

On the tariffs, Dombrovskis said: “We are engaging very seriously with the US and we are mindful also [of the] timelines, that by December 1, this issue should be solved.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They