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Reuters | 30 May 2023
EU, US to weigh China, AI, trade strains at high-level Sweden talks
By Philip Blenkinsop
LULEA, Sweden, May 30 (Reuters) - Top U.S. and European Union officials meet in Sweden on Tuesday to weigh how best to deal with China and cooperate on artificial intelligence and other future technology as well as EU complaints about Trump-era tariffs and U.S. green subsidies.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager will attend the fourth ministerial meeting of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) for two days in Lulea, just below the Arctic Circle.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Trade Representative Katherine Tai and European Commission vice president and trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis will also take part.
The smorgasbord of topics, outlined in a 24-page draft joint statement, include cooperation on setting minimum standards for generative AI algorithms, such as ChatGPT, and export controls and investment monitoring, which have so far centred on Russia.
China will be a major focus of the meeting, even if the word "China" only features twice in the draft joint statement - on non-market practices and disinformation.
Diplomats say Washington has pushed for language echoing some of the concerns expressed at the G7 leaders meeting a week ago, which China’s Global Times dubbed an "anti-China workshop".
The gathering in northern Sweden comes just as the European Commission presents its "Economic Security Strategy", expected to contain measures to prevent rivals such as China gaining access to its most sensitive technology.
Brussels wants to see cooperation to boost green trade, such as mutual recognition of products, even though the U.S. and EU do not have and do not plan to forge a free-trade agreement.
That has left EU producers excluded from some of the benefits of the United States’ projected $369 billion worth of green subsidies in its Inflation Reduction Act.
The EU is seeking progress with the U.S. towards an accord on critical minerals used for electric vehicles.
It also wants advances towards a "green steel" arrangement tackling overcapacity that is required by the end of October to avert the return of steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump that were suspended in 2021 after he left office.