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Statement by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel following the EU-US Summit

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op dinsdag 15 juni 2021.

Thank you very much,

Indeed, we had an excellent meeting among friends and allies. And this meeting started with a breakthrough on aircraft. The agreement we have found now really opens a new chapter in our relationship because we move from litigation to cooperation on aircraft, and that after almost 20 years of disputes. It is the longest trade dispute in the history of WTO.

I remember very well, it started when I got my first phone call by President Biden in February, and there we jointly decided to solve this problem. And today, I really want to thank our negotiating team, the US Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, and the Executive Vice-President, Valdis Dombrovskis. They have been instrumental in facilitating a solution. Today, we can say: ‘We have delivered.'

In general on trade: the bilateral trade and investment between the European Union and the United States of America is unrivalled. Despite the pandemic, trade between the European Union and the US was worth almost EUR 1 trillion in 2020. And to preserve this, we discussed that we need to adapt to an even more competitive and more diversified global environment.

And therefore, we decided to establish an EU-US Trade and Technology Council. We want, of course, to expand EU-US trade and investments. But we also want to discuss how we avoid new unjustified technical barriers and how to cooperate in areas with high potential from our economy, especially of course in the digital technologies. And the Trade and Technology Council will be a forum to cooperate and align on global tech matters - so whether it is artificial intelligence, to set our standards and promote a human-centric artificial intelligence; or be it the risks of cybersecurity; or be it in the environmental field, for example clean technologies, in this forum of trade and technology.

We will at the beginning, of course, focus on areas that are the most urgent, for example on semiconductors. You know that these are a key component in many industries with significant supply constraints. And here it is really worthwhile to work together and to improve the situation. Or we will work on platforms and artificial intelligence areas of ever-increasing importance to our economies and our societies. And, as I have mentioned, the cybersecurity threat we both face, and a threat that requires a common response.

The second topic I want to mention in this overall trade context is indeed the discussion we had on fair international corporate taxation. And we really commend the leadership of President Biden that he has shown with this proposal of the first and the second pillar. We jointly aim to build on the recent agreement at G7 Finance Ministers' level. And we fully stand behind the OECD process.

So we have discussed, of course, the first and the second pillar, but how does that go with our digital levy? And here we made clear and discussed that our proposal will be non-discriminatory, it will not lead to double taxation, once the Pillar One of the OECD agreement is in place.

On 232, the steel and aluminium topic, we have decided to establish a working group to make sure that we find a solution, as soon as possible. We have discussed it broadly, and I think there will be good work and progress with the aim to move forward in this difficult field within months.

On the topic of health, we have been discussing how to end of course the pandemic everywhere and for everyone. This is a joint priority, this is a joint responsibility. We agreed that we have to move faster and quicker to help vaccinate the world. To get there - and you know all the issues we had in the past six months - we decided to establish an EU-US Vaccines Task Force to really work on the details. If there are bottlenecks in the supply chains and other issues, it will help to identify and solve problems that are connected to the production of the vaccines or also production of therapeutics.

And we agreed that it is necessary to cooperate much more to build capacity worldwide in regions where there is no production capacity right now, but where we need over time the possibility to manufacture vaccines. There was clarity that for that it is necessary, not only to bring private investment and de-risk this private investment into these regions, but also the question of how to transfer technology know-how to these regions. So the whole discussion around the TRIPS Agreement. And finally, that we jointly commit to maintain supply chains open and maintain supply chains secure. Because these ingredients are necessary if you want over time to establish new manufacturing capacities and really create these new ecosystems in regions where they have not been so far.

Another major step forward is that we will now work together more closely on the big questions on how to reform the WHO. We know that, for the World Health Organisation, a renewed engagement is necessary. We know that the WHO needs stronger capacities for the detection of outbreaks, for example of COVID-19, the early notification, the early warning system to really speak of preparedness and appropriate response. And here the investigative power of the WHO must be increased. We have learnt our lessons from the past, we know that we lost time at the beginning of the pandemic, and this should not happen anymore.

On climate change, the European Union and the US are natural partners in the fight for our planet's future. And science tells us very clearly that we have to hurry up, we need to do more and we need to do it quickly. So I am very pleased that we are establishing today an EU-US High-level Climate Action Group. The main focus is really to work together on the momentum that has been created by the Earth Summit and really work on the climate diplomacy, so that we have many, many countries going with us towards the COP26 in Glasgow and really forging the ambitious goals we want to achieve at COP26.

We were briefly discussing that we also need a robust global framework for sustainable investment and reforms. We saw on both sides that there is a lot of private capital out there that is looking for true green investment - not greenwashing, but true green investment. And to work on such a global framework that defines it, as we have done and started it with our Taxonomy here in the European Union, this is a common goal. Because we know that the private sector can play a decisive role and will play a decisive role in our fight against climate change.

Embedded in this is the fact that if we want to fight climate change, if we want to be successful, then we need innovation and technologies. And for that I welcome that we have committed to work towards a Transatlantic Green Technology Alliance. So to make sure that on both sides we are aware of the latest development, we can discuss how we enable breakthrough technologies or amazing innovations to be competitive at the market and to work on their market entrance because we will rapidly need these new technologies if we want to fight climate change.

Last but not least, we were discussing the global pricing on CO2, that it is necessary overall to have over time a global price on CO2, be it through the Emission Trading System or be it through taxation. And in this context, I explained the logic of our Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and we discussed that, we will exchange on it, and that the WTO might facilitate this. I have been briefly touching upon the reform necessity in WTO. And here, we also know that there is a huge need to improve an environmental agenda within WTO. So this was the overall scope of this discussion.

Thank you so much.


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