Washington/Brussels/Beijing: – The United States and the European Union have joined hands to counter the increasing Chinese influence in the trade and technology sectors. The decision to form the Trade and Technology Council was taken in the US-EU meeting held on Tuesday. There will be five members in the Council, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission. It is said that the Council has been assigned the responsibility to coordinate on issues like securing the supply chain, along with artificial intelligence and semiconductor technology. Following the G7 and NATO resolutions, this US-EU joint announcement is believed to be the third major jolt for China.
In the last decade, it was observed that China had taken a significant lead in the technology sector. The picture shows that the Chinese companies are forging ahead in many sectors, including 5G and artificial intelligence. There have been many examples of China forcing smaller and weaker countries to accept the Chinese technology, using its financial might and influence. At the same time, there are indications that China is making moves to hold the technological advances in the other countries at ransom using its dominance in the minerals and other raw materials production.
Former US President Donald Trump had started to target China over this issue. But the European countries had not supported Trump at that time. The European countries avoided involvement in the anti-China crusade because of the Chinese influence due to investments in Europe and also for being the leading trade partner. But there is tremendous discontent against China over issues like the Coronavirus pandemic, human rights violations and other matters. At the same time, the change of guard in the United States is also favourable to Europe. Therefore, now, Europe seems to be willing to participate in the anti-China crusade of the United States.
The United States and the European Council clarified the objective behind the Council’s formation, ‘We are committed to providing an impetus to the digital technology promoting trade and investment. Stress will be given on strengthening the leadership in the technology and industry sectors through the Council’s medium. Stress will also be given on sensitive and new technologies along with infrastructure, and care will be taken for their security. The plan is also to cooperate in developing and using newer technologies, prioritising democratic values, human rights, and relevant criteria.’
Only a few days ago, the US Congress passed a bill named the ‘US Competition and Innovation Act’ to stop China.