Washington and Brussels later this month will send senior delegations of economic and trade ministers to the first meeting of a new U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council, dubbed the “TTC.” Their goal, as the name suggests, is to foster high-level cooperation on trade and technology issues of mutual interest. Given the long-simmering tensions between the two governments on matters such as digital taxation, cross-border data flows, antitrust, and more, such an effort is overdue.
As Rob Atkinson writes in The Hill, Whether the United States and European Union succeed in using the TTC to rebuild the transatlantic relationship holds broad implications, because the alternative—strained engagement between major trading partners—would contribute to the global fragmentation of the digital economy. And worse, it would be a strategic gift to China, because it would represent a fatal dissolution of a key alliance needed to limit China’s technology mercantilism and counter its digital authoritarianism.
Forward-looking policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic need to recognize this and redouble their efforts to build a better, stronger, and deeper digital-trading relationship.