EU-US Trade and Technology Council meets to coordinate on supply chains

Agenda includes warning system for disruptions, and avoiding 'subsidy race' for chip investments

The EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is meeting in Paris today to discuss coordinated approaches to global supply chain issues.

This is only the second meeting of the TTC, the agenda for which was prepared in February. That highlighted a number of priorities, including securing supply chains, technological cooperation, the coordination of measures to combat distorting practices, and approaches to the decarbonization of trade.

According to a White House pre-briefing for US reporters, the EU and US are set to announce joint approaches on technical discussions to international standard-setting bodies, an early warning system to better predict and address potential semiconductor supply chain disruptions, and a transatlantic approach to semiconductor investments aimed at ensuring security of supply.

The latter needs a coordinated approach so that "as both Washington and Brussels look to encourage semiconductor investment in our respective countries, we do so in a coordinated fashion and don't simply encourage a subsidy race," a senior administration official said.

Both the EU and US plan to bolster their semiconductor industries through investments and other policies to encourage the build-up of local chip manufacturing to ensure supplies and reduce reliance on components from other parts of the world.

In the US, the Biden administration is trying to secure $52 billion in funding for the CHIPS Act, which will subsidize companies to build semiconductor fabrication plants stateside, among other policies.

The EU has its own European Chips Act, which proposes funding and initiatives to boost semiconductor research and development within the EU as well as building new production facilities.

On the early warning system for supply chains, a US senior administration official said it would build on measures the US had in place last year, tracking key semiconductor-oriented production sites across southeast Asia to understand as early as possible when disruptions would emerge.

"This is really a chance for us to expand that work and multilateralize it with our European partners. I would say we are very closely monitoring the situation in China, which is clearly impacting a number of different supply chains, not just semiconductor," the official said.

According to the White House briefing, the TTC will also discuss plans for a joint US-EU guide to cybersecurity best practices for small and medium-sized companies, and a new cooperation framework to focus on online misinformation, such as that being spread by Russia in relation to the war in Ukraine.

Formed last year, the TTC has the objective of deepening transatlantic relations by coordinating on key global concerns. It is described as a forum for the two to discuss legislative and regulatory changes and to agree on common positions within international bodies or to initiate transatlantic coordination where applicable.

The TTC currently has 10 working groups covering issues such as green technology, technology standards cooperation, export controls for sensitive goods, and securing supply chains.

This is not the only international talking shop the US is involved with when it comes to technology. Last year, the US Semiconductor Industry Association (SIAC) and the Chinese Semiconductor Industry Association (CSIA) launched a working group to address technical and trade-related issues between the two nations. ®

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