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US, EU pledge joint action on technology issues, semiconductors, China

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The ministers met at a huge warship factory from World War II (File)

Pittsburgh, United States of America:

US and EU officials on Wednesday pledged to join forces to tackle a range of technology and trade issues to secure semiconductor supplies and counter China’s dominance.

The inaugural meeting of the Business and Technology Council (TTC) produced a long to-do list, but perhaps the most significant achievement was the symbolic resumption of good relations after the losses suffered during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

“It’s a remarkable spirit of cooperation and cooperation, and a desire between the United States and the European Union to work more closely together,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters.

But the summit also focused on monitoring foreign investment in key sectors and controlling exports of sensitive products, along with forced labor, artificial intelligence, digital privacy and online protection of human rights activists.

High-level meetings were held around the world as industries grappling with critical semiconductor shortages hurting manufacturing, including autos, and pushing prices higher.

The TTC was born out of President Joe Biden’s summit in Brussels in June, when he attempted to mend relations affected by Trump’s aggressive actions against trade rivals and allies, as well as recent missteps that angered Brussels. .

The biggest thorn in the ties are Trump-era tariffs on steel and aluminum shipped from Europe, which the Biden administration has suspended but not withdrawn.

The dispute was looming over the technical meeting but was not on the agenda, although officials have recently said they are close to a permanent solution.

The ministers met at a massive World War II-era warship factory and later steel mill in Pittsburgh that has been converted into an advanced robotics research facility.

– Semiconductor Supply –

The talks were led by Blinken, Trade Representative Catherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the US side, and EU Executive Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrowski on the European side.

He did not announce specific actions, but mapped out key areas to focus on 10 working groups ahead of the next meeting, which, according to a European source, is likely to take place next spring in Europe.

“We collectively represent those largest economies,” Blinken said after the meeting. “When we are working together, we have a unique ability to help shape the standards, standards and regulations that govern the way technology is used.”

Seeking to address the global shortage of critical computer chips, officials in their final release called for “on the rebalancing of global supply chains in semiconductors with a view to enhancing the associated security of supply” and to work closely with production, including the most advanced Promised. chips

Demand for electronic devices of all kinds has exploded since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more and more people work, study and find entertainment at home.

Semiconductor manufacturers sometimes have to temporarily close their factories due to COVID-19, forcing them to struggle to meet global demand and impacting industries including automakers.

Raimondo has said chip shortages are an economic and national security concern, and called for investment in domestic manufacturing in the European Union and the United States.

– containing China –

The lengthy release does not mention China by name, but the ubiquitous world’s second-largest economy, particularly in frequent mentions of concerns posed by “non-market economies”.

In addition to semiconductors, the sides are grappling with how to work together to combat what they see as China’s unfair trade practices.

The Biden administration has so far continued Trump’s strong line toward Beijing, noting punitive duties on Chinese goods, while the European Union has taken a less confrontational stance.

The ministers resolved to work jointly and through World Trade Organization (WTO) reforms.

“We stand together to protect our businesses, consumers and workers from unfair trade practices, particularly those generated by non-market economies, that are undermining the world trading system,” the statement said.

But it also highlighted the need to monitor investments in sensitive sectors – something Washington did when it banned Huawei’s participation in US advanced 5G cellular networks – and control sensitive exports that could undermine national security. Was.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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