The United States and the European Union plan to announce on Monday (16 May) a joint effort aimed at identifying semiconductor supply disruptions as well as countering Russian disinformation, officials said.
Top US officials are visiting the French scientific hub of Saclay for a meet up of the Trade and Technology Council, created last year as China increasingly exerts its technology clout.
US officials acknowledged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has broadened the council’s scope, but said the Western bloc still has its eye on competition from China.
The two sides will announce an “early warning system” for semiconductors supply disruptions, hoping to avoid excessive competition between Western powers for the vital tech component.
The industry has suffered from a shortage of components for chipmaking, blamed on a boom in global demand for electronic products and pandemic snarled supply chains.
“We hope to agree on high levels of subsidies — that they will not be more than what is necessary and proportionate and appropriate,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, told reporters Sunday.
The aim is that “as both Washington and Brussels look to encourage semiconductor investment in our respective countries, we do so in a coordinated fashion and don’t simply encourage a subsidy race,” a US official said separately, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The United States already put in place its own early warning system in 2021 that looked at supply chains in Southeast Asia and “has been very helpful in helping us get ahead of a couple of potential shutdowns earlier this year,” the US official said.
The official added that the two sides are looking ahead to supply disruptions caused by pandemic lockdowns in China — the only major economy still hewing to a zero-Covid strategy.
The European Union and United States will also announce joint measures on fighting disinformation and hacking, especially from Russia, including a guide on cybersecurity best practices for small- and medium-sized companies and a task force on trusted technology suppliers, the official said.
“It’s not a European matter but a global matter,” she said.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai are visiting for the talks.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended an opening dinner on Monday before cutting short his visit to head to Abu Dhabi for the funeral of late leader Sheikh Khalifa.