With faith that high-level meetings are reassuring symbols of comity, stability, and good relations, a delegation is coming from Europe on December 5 for the third ministerial meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC). Officials tasked to 10 different working groups will square off with their interagency counterparts in the Biden administration. Transatlantic leaders have foreshadowed a number of positive joint statements that will be released during these meetings, but the most important conversations—on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and on EU digital barriers—will be happening away from the cameras.
A good deal of ink has already been spilled about the European Union’s aggressive trade attack on the IRA. But if the TTC process is to accomplish “policy convergence” that will strengthen the global competitiveness of U.S. and European industry and bolster collective security in the face of the challenge China presents, the parties should engage on the labyrinth of new digital trade restrictions that Brussels has under construction.