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EU, US to announce standardisation MoU amidst range of TTC novelties

The European Union and the United States have concluded their joint statement ahead of their second Trade and Technology Council meeting.

Officials from Brussels and Washington will converge on Saclay near Paris on Sunday to sign off on a more than 50-page document, which they are due to unveil on Monday (16 May).

The TTC has become more significant than anticipated when it was launched last summer, with the war in Ukraine bringing the new transatlantic policy coordination mechanism life.

EU officials have confirmed that they have added a few items to their joint TTC work as a direct response to Russia’s invasion: namely export control licensing coordination and cooperation on fighting back against disinformation from Russia.

A senior EU official praised the “agile and flexible” environment for cooperation with the United States created by the TTC, which is composed of ten working groups spanning topics that range from supply chain resilience to work on digital regulations and clean tech development.

Among the concrete outcomes of the TTC will be an  EU US memorandum of understanding to establish a ‘strategic standardisation mechanism’ – which already has an acronym: SSI.

Its aim is to ensure new ‘technical’ standards in new and emerging technologies are developed in a more coordinated way across the Atlantic. Topics covered include artificial intelligence, “additive manufacturing”, recycling of certain materials and the internet of things.

Washington and Brussels have also set up several strands of supply chain resilience work, which mainly involves exchanging information. Topics covered include rare earth sourcing, solar panels, “critical medicines” and semiconductors. The two sides agreed this week to add food and agriculture supply chains as a topic for discussion.

The semiconductor supply chains work strand is the most formalised so far, as it includes an “alert system to share information about possible disruptions, and increase production capacity while avoiding subsidy races” according to a draft version of the joint statement seen by Borderlex.

Work on semiconductors is also expected to be formalised in a separate statement to the fifty-page joint communiqué.

European Commission officials were pleased to have been able to include language in the statement that they consider helps them address their export concerns with the United States. There will be language on the US Section 232 steel and aluminium tariffs, who have been only partially and temporarily lifted.

The TTC statement will include language on cooperation in government procurement, notably to help advance the climate agenda and promote related clean technologies.

The TTC is also expected to announce a more formalised format for ‘stakeholder engagement’. The new mechanism is called “a transatlantic tripartite trade and labour dialogue” – with its ready-made acronym  TALD. The exercise will be about “involving relevant representatives of the European Commission and US government, and EU and US trade unions and businesses”, says the draft version of the relevant language in the text seen by Borderlex.

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