U.S., Europe Team Up to Address Chip Shortage, Tech Issues

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The new Business and Technology Council is seen as a countermeasure to subsidies for China and its preferred industries.

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Although China did not name the statement, analysts say Beijing’s economic practices—including subsidies for preferred industries—are one of the factors behind the commission’s formation.

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The statement was issued after the commission’s inaugural meeting here on Wednesday, where officials discussed ways to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain and strengthen export controls and investment screening to protect sensitive technologies and data. Both sides will develop and implement artificial-intelligence systems that protect privacy and human rights.

The US was represented by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Catherine Tai. The EU was represented by Valdis Dombrowski, Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner and Margrethe Vestager, EU Executive Vice President as well as Competition Commissioner.

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The meeting was held at a former steel mill on the outskirts of Pittsburgh that has been converted into a research facility for manufacturing and robotics by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

The council will continue to work on a range of issues in the coming years through working groups on 10 areas including technology standards, climate and clean technology, data governance and technology platforms and technology misuse. The next meeting of the group is scheduled for spring.

One of the key outcomes of the meeting was increased cooperation on semiconductors to advance transparency and communication in their supply chain, the statement said. It said the two sides will “identify gaps, shared weaknesses and opportunities” to strengthen their respective in-house research, development and manufacturing of semiconductors.

The deal came as US officials became concerned about a lack of supply of semiconductors, which has severely affected the US manufacturing industry.

Biden administration officials last week invited representatives of auto makers, technology companies and semiconductor producers and presented a program for companies to reveal more information about their supply chains to better understand the barriers. Both the US and the European Union plan to increase domestic semiconductor production with government assistance.

The US and the European Union together represented 21% of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity in 2020, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group.

The group calls on US and EU officials to work together to strengthen rules for state-owned enterprises and distorted industrial subsidies, and to coordinate and target export-control policy.

Yuka Hayashi [email protected] . Feather

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