Export between the two continents changes face. The meeting between President Joe Biden and the President of the European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen that took place on June 15 in Brussels marked an end to the Boeing-Airbus affair and the beginning of a truce between the two superpowers facing the Atlantic, united by one purpose: to counter the growing influence of China, a country that has created a state-controlled digital economic policy that reflects its political values.

What has been going on for 17 years between the EU and the US?

This period of disputes and disagreements has penalized the exports of so many products between the two sides of the Atlantic. The Trump government had reached duties worth $7.5 billion on several European products. The farmers’ association Coldiretti pointed out that the U.S. tariffs caused a loss of half a billion euros in exports. Among the Italian exports penalized are some of the most famous products of the Bel Paese such as Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, Asiago, Fontina, Provolone, salami, mortadella, shellfish, citrus fruits, juices, grappa and liqueurs such as bitters and limoncello.

The European Union had responded with other duties for a value of four billion, hitting sectors not related to aviation such as engines and beverages, in particular bourbon whisky and Harley-Davidson, whose tariffs rose to 25%: additional duties that should fall soon. The agreement reached established a truce that will last at least five years: during this period the aim is to reach a definitive agreement.

Innovation and research

Today we see the emergence of a technological alliance between the United States and Europe to contain China, an issue that will be deepened by the establishment of the Trade and Technology Council. Countries in Washington and Brussels are expected to detail how they will work together to promote common standards around emerging technologies, and to make commitments to better manage the digital world now dominated by a few Silicon Valley tech giants. The alliance could address everything from intricate technology supply chains – which often run through China – to collective investment in digital projects.

What are the priorities of this tech alliance?

  • The creation of a common standard view in the business and technology plan, pitting Beijing’s rise against a market of more than 800 million people with agreed-upon rules on fronts ranging from artificial intelligence to data usage and a shared strategy to counter various industry turbulence
  • Promoting democratic values online and finding ways for the U.S. and EU to collaborate on cutting-edge research and development

A bilateral agreement has recently been reached to avoid a new increase that would have been triggered from June 1, permanently eliminating the measure until December 31 of this year with the aim of finding a definitive truce by then. The armistice between the two countries finalizes the détente process started with the four-month stop to duties, but it does not solve the trade tensions between the two sides of the Atlantic: the issue of costs on aluminum and steel imported in the USA remains open.

The words of President Von der Leyen during the press conference in Bruxelles: “We could have taken countermeasures on steel and aluminum before this summit with Biden and we did not do it – having suspended them for six months until the beginning of December, there is time to discuss the solution to this contrast, we need time and it was not possible to solve the issue in a weekend. Moreover, the priority now was to find an agreement on Airbus/Boeing.

Cover image (federvini.it)