EU-US summit pledges cooperation on vaccines, climate, tech and tax

16 June, 2021

By ECCT staff writers

The EU and the US have committed to continuing to support the COVAX Facility and encourage more donors to make two billion vaccine doses available worldwide by late 2021. According to a press release about the EU-US summit talks on 15 June on the EU’s official website, Europa, they aspire to provide enough vaccine doses to inoculate two-thirds of the world’s population by the end of 2022.

At the summit, the leaders highlighted the creation of a Joint EU-US Covid Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce. Its objective is to expand vaccine and therapeutics production capacity by: building new production facilities for vaccines and therapeutics, maintaining open and secure supply chains, avoiding any unnecessary export restrictions, and encouraging voluntary sharing of know-how and technology.

The EU and the US will also reinforce cooperation on reforming the World Health Organization (WHO). The leaders welcomed the idea of assessing the benefits of developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic preparedness and response.

The leaders also called for progress on a transparent, evidence-based, expert-led and WHO-convened phase-2 study on the origins of Covid-19 that is free from interference.

The leaders welcomed G7 discussions on building back better for the world, orienting development finance tools towards challenges such as creating resilient infrastructure and technologies, and addressing the impact of climate change.

The EU and the US intend to jointly drive forward a sustainable and inclusive global recovery, in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will continue providing assistance to countries in need, address debt vulnerabilities and stimulate domestic reforms and increased private investment, according to the press release.

The leaders also agreed to establish a joint EU-US experts’ working group for the resumption of non-essential safe and sustainable travel between the EU and the United States.

They welcomed the progress made in discussions on additional EU member states benefitting from visa-free travel to the US, and agreed to continue this dialogue.

The EU and the US also committed to growing their bilateral trade and investment relationship and to upholding and reforming the rules-based multilateral trading system. The leaders said they intended to use trade to help fight climate change, protect the environment, promote workers’ rights, expand resilient and sustainable supply chains and create decent jobs.

To provide an effective platform for cooperation, the leaders established a high-level EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC’s objectives include: growing the bilateral trade and investment relationship, avoiding new unnecessary technical barriers to trade, strengthening global cooperation on technology, digital issues and supply chains, cooperating on compatible and international standards development, facilitating regulatory policy, promoting innovation and leadership by US and European firms.

Under the TTC, both partners committed to building an EU-US partnership on the rebalancing of global supply chains in semiconductors, with a view to enhancing security of supply in the EU and the US and boosting both partners’ capacity to design and produce the most powerful and resource-efficient semiconductors.

In parallel with the TTC, the EU and the US intend to establish an EU-US Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue that would focus on approaches to competition policy and enforcement, and increased cooperation in the tech sector.

The summit also delivered the prospect of resolving long-standing trade disputes. The leaders welcomed having reached an Understanding on a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft, reflecting a new transatlantic relationship in this area. The leaders also agreed to engage in discussions to allow the resolution of existing differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium before the end of the year.

Moreover, the EU and the US are determined to foster a fair, sustainable and modern international tax system and cooperate to reach a global consensus by mid-2021 on the question of taxation of multinational companies within the OECD.

The leaders also agreed to work cooperatively on efforts to achieve a meaningful reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This involves advancing the proper functioning of the WTO’s negotiating function and dispute settlement system, which will require long-standing issues to be addressed.

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