Trade, tech talks between US and EU open in Pittsburgh

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken and senior Biden administration officials are starting a two-day trade and technology talks with EU counterparts in Pittsburgh.

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WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken and several other senior Biden administration officials are starting a two-day trade and technology talks with EU counterparts in Pittsburgh.

Both sides are expecting progress on a number of disputes, including US tariffs on EU steel and aluminum imports and a unified stand against violent Chinese commercial policies. The atmosphere has been exacerbated by recent EU anger over the Indo-Pacific being pulled out of a new US-British-Australian security initiative that aims to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the region.

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Blinken is being joined in Pittsburgh by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Trade Representative Catherine Tai. The European Commission delegation is led by its two Executive Vice-Presidents, Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrowski, and Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU Ambassador in Washington.

Administration officials say talks in Pittsburgh – the inaugural meeting of the US-EU Business and Technology Council – will focus on semiconductors, supply chains, vaccines and climate change, as well as artificial intelligence and high-tech telecommunications, particularly advanced Will study on 6G network. .

They say the talks will mark the start of a new process that will result in a statement of joint principles and possible announcements on semiconductors and AI. Working groups are expected to be set up to regularize discussions on technology standards, climate and green technology, securing supply chains, digital security and competition, export controls, investments and global trade challenges.

The White House, in part, sees this as an opportunity to renew its push for better coordination against what the administration sees as coercion and unfair trade practices by Beijing.

According to a person familiar with US preparedness, the administration is expected to emphasize that the United States and Europe should continue to work on building resilience against China and other countries engaging in unfair economic practices. The person was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

But it is not clear whether there is appetite among some European allies to push for Beijing further.

Launched during Biden’s visit to Europe in June, the TTC initially attracted little attention, but it became a focal point of rising tensions between the US and France, as the government in Paris sought to delay the meeting. .

Those tensions exploded earlier this month when the US, UK and Australia announced their new Indo-Pacific security initiative, known as AUKUS, which explicitly excluded France and the European Union, And most immediately resulted in a multi-billion dollar Australian-French cancellation. submarine contract. France reacted angrily to the announcement, which it called a “back-stabbing” by alleged allies, and recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.

Among the French complaints that are echoed by EU leaders are that the EU has an active and important role in the Indo-Pacific and that no move to blunt Chinese influence there or elsewhere will succeed without them.

At June’s Group of Seven summit in Carbys Bay, England, Biden successfully pressured fellow leaders to include specific language criticizing China’s use of forced labor and other human rights abuses in his joint communiqué.

Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Japan largely supported the Biden administration’s position, while Germany, Italy and the European Union hesitated during the talks.

The Pittsburgh talks come at a time when the Biden administration wants to soon complete its review of the Trump administration’s trade policies towards China.

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Associated Press writers Amer Madhani and Josh Bock in Washington and Lorna Cook in Brussels contributed

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