U.S. and EU look to work more closely in regulating Big Tech at summit, Telecom News, ET Telecom

From Nandita Bose

Washington: The United States and the European Union plan to take a more unified approach to curbing the growing market power of Great technology companies, according to a draft note seen by Reuters.

The move will be among the announcements on technology, climate, retail and supply chains that are likely to be made at the US-EU Trade and Technology Council on September 29 in Pittsburgh.

With the United States and Europe trying to limit the growing power of American technology giants like Alphabet Google ,, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.com Inc., such cooperation has become crucial for regulators on both sides of the Atlantic – and would make it harder for the US technology industry to fight the new rules.

This month, the White House announced that the council will meet for the first time on September 29 in Pittsburgh. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Trade Secretary Gina Raimondo, US Trade Representative Catherine Ty and European Union Trade Chief Valdis Dombrovskis are due to attend with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The White House, which coordinates meetings with various agencies, declined to comment on the note. Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The council has 10 working groups in areas such as strengthening trade, economic relations and shared democratic values, according to the draft letter.

The group, which focuses on regulating technology companies, will “exchange information on our respective approaches to managing technology platforms, seeking convergence where possible,” the note said.

There are many examples where the two continents could cooperate more. Google, which is facing several lawsuits in the United States related to the advertising business, is also facing an extensive investigation related to advertising technologies in the EU.

“We have identified common issues that cause concern about the power of the goalkeeper from the main platforms and the responsibility of online intermediaries,” the note said, adding that more could be done to combat misinformation.

“This includes, in particular, the responsibility of online intermediaries to protect democratic processes from the impact of their business activities. Areas of common ground … include moderation of content and fair competition,” the note said.

The group will address areas such as hate speech, algorithmic amplification and access to data for researchers, the note said.

The Climate and Clean Technology Council Group will work to identify opportunities for trade and investment in low- and zero-carbon technologies and products, the note said. The supply chain working group will focus on securing supplies of pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and clean energy.

The Council will also work to address the shortage of semiconductor chips in a way that is “balanced and of equal interest to both parties” and will avoid a “race for subsidies”.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that European Union ambassadors had postponed discussions on preparations for the meeting in protest of Washington’s submarine agreement with Australia at the expense of France. https://reut.rs/2W2FTbw

White House spokesman National Security Council said preparations for the meeting were ongoing.

Several technical trade groups in Washington have said the industry does not want the European approach to digital regulation to be adopted in the United States.

“The risk is that the European side will pressure the United States to harmonize its regulations with the EU by taking a precautionary approach … that would shake the leading American technology companies,” said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank. based in Washington.

“We should not do this, nor is it necessary. Our interests are broadly coherent and compatible, especially when it comes to China,” Atkinson said.

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