Thank you Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for the invitation to join you here in the European Parliament, with Margrethe, to debrief you on the TTC meeting which concluded yesterday.
Clearly, the world has changed since the first TTC meeting in Pittsburgh last September.
At the time, we were putting in place our exit strategies from the pandemic and ramping up our recovery plans.
Now, we are faced with a far more menacing threat.
Russia’s brutal and illegal aggression against Ukraine has brought war back to Europe.
The war was very clearly on our minds at the TTC meeting also in Paris. It has brought the EU and U.S. closer than we have been for decades.
The working arrangements of the TTC are agile enough to address new situations as they emerge and open new areas of cooperation.
This way we have achieved close and rapid cooperation on sanctions related to export controls, and aligned measures on import bans.
We further expanded our cooperation to address global food insecurity and supply chain resilience, as well as Russia’s information manipulation and interference. Because it is clear that technologies will have an increasingly predominant role in future conflicts.
As you have heard already, we have agreed to a forward-looking agenda.
We will work on making supply chains resilient, well-functioning and - where necessary - more diversified.
This work is also closely linked to the climate transition, because of the supply chain disruptions of critical raw materials, which are indispensable for the green transition. We discussed this issue in detail.
We also agreed to cooperate on promoting green trade, for example through green public procurement. We would like this public sector to be the trailblazer to adopt clean new technology.
One specific topic we discussed was exploring the possibility of agreeing on a standard for electric vehicles chargers. This is a rapidly developing market on both sides of the Atlantic.
If the EU and U.S. can find agreement, there is a good chance this would become a global standard. It would create a substantial marketplace and savings for industry.
On the sustainability side, we are launching a first trade and labour dialogue, scheduled to meet before the summer break. One big aim is to also boost the capability of third countries to fight forced labour and child labour, and more generally to apply ILO standards.
Turning now to the immediate challenges linked to Russia’s war, there was a strong commitment to cooperate on improving global food security.
As you know, Russia is blocking Ukrainian ports and preventing grain shipments. Russia is also bombing warehouses or simply stealing grain from occupied territories.
With such action, Russia is engineering food insecurity in the developing world, while in parallel running propaganda campaigns blaming our sanctions for the increase in commodity prices.
So we agreed to work on facilitating logistics of commodities, but also on finding ways to avoid import bans in other countries and helping the developing world to withstand this shock.
At the same time, we are committed to doing all we can to boost trade with Ukraine.
I would like to thank the INTA committee for the swift endorsement of our proposal to temporarily lift tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian goods flowing to the EU.
So we are very much looking forward to a positive plenary vote as this will provide additional help to the Ukrainian economy in these dire times.
We will build on our unprecedented transatlantic coordination on export controls against Russia and we will further align our approaches in this critical area – and this is an area where, by the way, we were not nearly as aligned just a short time ago.
Export controls are powerful because by denying Russian industry access to key technologies and products, sectors of their economy can be thrown back by decades, and certainly it undermines the capacity of Russia's military-technological complex.
These advances show that the TTC really is becoming our problem-solving platform to equip our economies in a fast-changing world.
There is now a much clearer understanding of what happens when autocracy is threatening democracy, and when technology becomes a new weapon of coercion.
Therefore, we will also now cooperate further on investment screening – a sensitive area closely linked to national security. We face some shared and some individual risks, for example risks linked to sensitive technologies.
Here, we have to close ranks and share each other’s experience so we can better understand and identify these risks arising from some foreign investments.
Ultimately, the TTC is also about boosting transatlantic trade.
Here we are grateful to the many stakeholders for their insights, including on the need to mutually recognise testing procedures in specific sectors and products to facilitate trade. We will gladly take this work forward.
Last but not least, I would reiterate that we are still very much the champions of open and fair trade.
To that end, we should work together to reinforce and where necessary reform global institutions, most urgently the WTO.
Indeed, how we cooperate in the WTO was a topic of discussion.
So to conclude, honourable members, I hope I have provided an overview of yesterday's TTC meeting.
There is clearly wind in the sails of transatlantic cooperation, and our commitment to lead from the front. Thank you.