In the fall of 2021, AmCham Germany’s Digital Policy Committee worked out recommendations to establish a digital transatlantic economic zone. The main goal of this project does not only call for eliminated direct or indirect trade barriers. It goes further by aiming to include a digital transatlantic domestic market which can serve as an attractive point of contact for other regions, such as emerging markets. Even though the zone should be established in a joint transatlantic effort, it is essential for the Trade & Technology Council (TTC) to consider the global dimension of digital space governance from the start.
The political and social implications of such a zone are vast: This project could result in reaching future-oriented goals, innovation, digital transformation, economic prosperity, and ultimately, strengthening the transatlantic partnership to an unforeseen degree.
The EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade Council as mediator in establishing the zone
The developments of the past months, which include the progress of the U.S.-EU Summit in the summer in Brussels and encompasses the establishment of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council signalize the great potential of achieving the goal of a digital transatlantic economic zone. The newly established TTC can serve as a platform of exchange and mediator to implement the goals for the transatlantic actors and build the legislative framework.
Potential areas of agreement range from setting standards, to establishing regulatory requirements in areas as data protection, IT security, environmental protection policies, to export controls and reviews of investments. There are, however, key aspects to take into consideration to properly establish such a zone. It is crucial that political actors on both sides of the Atlantic define which conditions ought to be established to create a digital transatlantic economic zone.
Legal certainty for transatlantic data exchange
At the core of the position paper lies the necessity for legal certainty for transatlantic business to facilitate the continuity of data exchange between the EU and the U.S. Successful digital transformation requires legal mechanisms to be established for necessary international data transfers. The ruling by the European Court of Justice (“Schrems II”) has created considerable legal uncertainty for all legal practitioners in Europe, not only primarily business from technological industries.
Artificial intelligence as a key transatlantic technology
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (A.I.) have immense potential. A.I. will be influential in terms of digital change. Due to the risks attributed to this technology, it is necessary for this technology to be further developed and regulated in a transatlantic effort.