How the TTC Can Advance the Best of What Data, Technology, and Trade Policy Has to Offer

This week, top officials from the United States and the European Union will attend the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC was created in response to the need for a structured mechanism that would allow for bilateral discussion about one of the most active areas of policymaking in the world -- technology.

As the leading advocate for the world’s most innovative companies, ITI overwhelmingly supports the mission of the TTC which is to grow bilateral technology trade and investment while strengthening global cooperation on digital policy, technology, and supply chains. I look forward to the opportunity to represent ITI’s members at a stakeholder roundtable at the inaugural TTC meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa.

At that meeting, I plan to address how the TTC can respond to economic and national security challenges. Specifically, it should build on past cooperative efforts and be based in shared tenets of non-discrimination, proportionality, and fostering international compatibility. Our hope is that it will provide the opportunity to strengthen the alliance between the U.S. and the EU and cultivate the bond that comes from shaping the policy issues that will in turn shape the 21st century: from data governance to artificial intelligence to tackling unfair trade practices.

The TTC can help facilitate the development of and reliance on global, industry-driven, voluntary consensus standards to enable innovation, achieve regulatory outcomes, and advance trade. This is particularly important and promising for new technology, as regulators’ reliance on such international standards provides a pathway to international compatibility, even where precise regulatory language and objectives may differ.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, we look forward to working with policymakers to ensure that the TTC pursues tangible, near-term outcomes, and encourage prioritization of the following deliverables:

  • Establishing structured and transparent mechanisms for engagement with the private sector and civil society to provide updates on the status of TTC engagement and solicit input;
  • Codifying and publishing guiding principles for transatlantic development of coordinated, trade-facilitative, and non-discriminatory regulatory approaches to risk-based digital and technology policy;
  • Establishing a commitment to base regulatory or procurement requirements on international, industry-driven, voluntary technical standards – including those for digital services and green procurement;
  • Supporting and advancing the OECD Trusted Government Access to Data held by the Private Sector workstream to swiftly elaborate a set of common and coherent practices and legal guarantees from across OECD countries to reconcile law enforcement and national security access to data with ensuring privacy and other important safeguards;
  • Taking concrete actions to strengthen engagement and cooperation to improve the resilience of semiconductor and other strategic supply chains and ensure export controls alignment, where they are necessary, on identified and targeted software and technologies; and
  • Establishing commitments on expanding research, development, and deployment of trusted 5G network infrastructure and applications globally.

Given that transatlantic data flows are also essential to the transatlantic trade and tech relationship, we believe that the TTC’s work can be best supported by a successor agreement to the Privacy Shield. A sustainable solution for international data transfers from the EU to the United States that protects citizens’ personal data and supports data flows is urgently needed. This is essential for international business operations and to allow businesses to ensure robust protection of personal information, all while enabling the transparent and necessary movement of data seamlessly across borders.

With its focus on both transatlantic and global challenges, the TTC provides the opportunity for like-minded nations to share in the prosperity that the best of data, technology, and trade policy has to offer. The need for nations to cooperate and markets to stay accessible has never been greater, and we believe that the Council can meet this great challenge.

Public Policy Tags: Trade & Investment