Secretary Antony J. Blinken And European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager At the Fifth U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council Ministerial Meeting
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good morning, everyone. It is wonderful to have our friends and colleagues from the EU here in Washington for our Trade and Technology Council number five.
Let me just say at the outset, in the challenge of these times it is particularly valuable and appreciated by the United States to have in the EU a partner of first resort, not last resort. And if we look at the many challenges that we’re working on closely together, we know that we reinforce each other, and that makes a big difference. We, obviously, have a partnership that’s built on commonly shared values, shared interests, and an extraordinary and thriving transatlantic economy.
Let me just say briefly about the TTC itself, I found in my experience – and I think I can speak as well for Gina and Katherine – that this has been an indispensable tool for transatlantic economic cooperation. And we’ve seen tremendous progress over the last couple of years: aligning technology standards, building resilience in our supply chains, stopping the evasion of Russian sanctions and export controls, and countering some of the non-market practices of the PRC, as well as engaging on – against economic coercion.
This session today will hopefully – and I know – build on the progress that we’ve made in the previous TTCs. We’ll be focusing on economic security, on emerging technology, and on locking in achievements in the run-up to what will be really the capstone TTC in Belgium later this year.
For economic security, I think there’s a common recognition that we must continue to de-risk our economies, to diversify further our supply chains, to focus on common threats – including authoritarian governments that may misuse technology. And this is maybe one of the greatest shared challenges we face and concerns that our citizens have, because it’s something that affects them every single day in their lives.
We also have work to do – but I think also opportunity – in together looking at how we can help shape some of the norms, the standards, the rules by which emerging technology are used, again, things that shape the lives of our citizens every single day. We’ve already made – but we can build on – joint progress on artificial intelligence. I think there’s a real opportunity to jointly develop responsible rules of the road for AI and other emerging technologies. And then continuing to use the TTC as an avenue to be able to forge ahead on critical issues and managing risks of other cutting-edge technologies.
So there’s a lot to cover today, as there always is. Margrethe, let me give the floor to you, and then we can actually get down to work. And we may even get down to lunch after that. (Laughter.)
MS VESTAGER: Yeah. Without sharing food, you will get nowhere.
Well, first and foremost, thank you very much for hosting us in these exquisite rooms. This is – it’s an honor for us to be here. And I just want to basically mirror what you just said, because the Trade and Technology Council has become absolutely key to our geopolitical agenda. It’s constructive; it is committed; it produces results. And I think it’s for – I’ve learned a lot from this, and I hope also for the future a lot of learnings can be taken to continue deepening the relationship.
The setup that we have – not only between us getting to know one another, trust one another, but also for the teams to get to know each other in full – I think that cannot be overestimated. That was what made us so efficient in the sanctions against Russia. Everybody had met each other. They knew the phone numbers, the mail addresses, the values, what they wanted to put into real life.
And building on that, what we have done on semiconductors, which is essential for our economies but also essential for geopolitical balances; how we from very early days agreed on the approach to artificial intelligence with an optimistic view for the innovation, while being cautious for the risks; and now I think also moving ahead to see how can we embark on a quantum travel together. So still a lot to do to give real muscle to our mutual considerations of economic security.
I think this has shown that when we praise the transatlantic relationship, it’s not just for the speeches – it’s also real life. And once again proven that if you want to deliver to your own citizens, you need to have a common solution. I think it is amazing what we are achieving of amazing results to the benefit of citizens. I think we see that with stakeholders, every one of us just this morning – Gina and I was with stakeholders of the semiconductor industry. And they come, they share with us, and I think there is a great deal of appreciation of this investment on both sides.
So thank you very much for this, and looking very much forward for the meeting today.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Margrethe, thank you so much. And again, Thierry, Valdis, welcome, welcome, welcome. Thanks, everyone.