For a common digital economic area

Important steps such as the at least temporary settlement of the dispute over subsidies for aircraft manufacturers and the suspension of tariffs on steel and aluminum give companies better planning options. The next German government should take up these positive impulses and advance the transatlantic partnership with forward-looking reforms. Fair competitive conditions, political stability, legal security and open markets are the cornerstones of an attractive transatlantic economic area.

This economic partnership is currently in a phase of upheaval. Companies are still struggling with the effects of the corona pandemic – Corona shows that no company that wants to be competitive and successful in the future can avoid digital transformation.

However, this requires reliable framework conditions. A digital transatlantic economic area offers the opportunity to create these framework conditions and to strengthen the global competitiveness of the economy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Top jobs of the day

Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.

In the United States and Europe, there is consensus on many trade and technology issues. The direct exchange between the US administration and the German government underlines: There is now a “Window of Opportunity” to create a common digital transatlantic economic area. Based on our common understanding of values, this space could also form the basis for prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic in the future – and not least demonstrate Europe’s ability to act and sovereignty.

Instead of relying on selective cooperation, as in the past, Europe and the USA can define and achieve digitization issues and their goals together. There is no doubt that such a digital political response to the challenges posed by China is urgently needed. Europe and the USA must form a globally effective counterweight. Given the dangers of authoritarianism, a digital transatlantic economic area would strengthen our democracies and liberal values.

The key role of artificial intelligence

But how should the economic area be designed specifically? Which rules and freedoms should apply in it? There are many fields of action, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) playing a key role. Together, this technology can be further developed so that the use of AI is value-based and only takes place according to ethical principles.

Numerous areas of cooperation are also opening up for both sides in cybersecurity. Increased cooperation in the fight against cyber warfare and more intensive state action against cybercrime should be high on the US and EU agenda. A joint transatlantic cybersecurity initiative under the umbrella of a digital transatlantic economic area could provide the framework for this.

At the US-EU summit in Brussels in June, the “EU-US Trade and Technology Council” cooperation forum was announced, and a few weeks later the body began its work. The meeting was an important signal to define the first steps in transatlantic cooperation. The project of a digital transatlantic economic area should be included in the agenda of the body.

In the future, for example, rules for IT security legislation must primarily be conceived, developed and ultimately implemented in a transatlantic way. The TTC can help bring together different perspectives on both sides of the Atlantic, resolve conflicts and specifically contribute to developing a transatlantic understanding of digital regulation.

Data must be able to flow freely and securely

Of course, concrete legislative initiatives and the regulatory sovereignty of both sides cannot be disregarded. The decisive factor, however, is that the transatlantic perspective on digital-political projects must not only become effective at the end of the process; it must rather be an integral part of the discussion from the start. Only common transatlantic goals can ensure that we secure our values ​​and rules globally.

The digital transformation of our companies will only succeed if data can flow freely and securely around the world. It is all the more important to restore legal certainty for international data transfers.

With its “Schrems II” ruling, the European Court of Justice has declared the data protection agreement “Privacy Shield” between the EU and the USA to be invalid. Companies are therefore dependent on a robust and legally secure successor agreement that safeguards the privacy of citizens on both sides of the Atlantic.

Not only classic digital or tech companies are affected by this judgment. Rather, legally secure data transfer is of enormous importance for all companies that work with data. We not only need a “Privacy Shield 2.0”, but a comprehensive political solution that addresses the problem where it is rooted – in the currently still different standards and interpretations of state access powers.

In addition to digital transformation and international data transfer, the promotion of AI technologies and cooperation in cybersecurity, a joint solution to the semiconductor problem should also be high on the agenda. A digital transatlantic single market can form the framework for these fields of action and also be points of contact for other countries and regions so that, for example, emerging countries can also gain access.

Develop uniform procedures for export controls

Specifically, the mutual recognition of standards in data protection, IT security, but also in environmental protection could be aimed for, for example to establish uniform procedures for export controls and investment reviews.

The tasks of a digital transatlantic economic area are diverse and challenging. Companies on both sides of the Atlantic bring the skills to solve these tasks with them – and should actively contribute them to the realization of the economic area.

That is why we advocate increased transatlantic cooperation that focuses on research and development, both in the US and in the EU. Together we can continue to work on the success of the transatlantic economic partnership.

The author: Simone Menne is President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany.

More: The EU and USA are working on new rules for the digital world

source site