Google urges U.S. to work with the EU on commerce

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, speaks during the signing ceremony committing Google to help expand information technology education at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas on October 3, 2019.

Brandon Wade | Reuters

Google called on the Biden administration to join a technology and trade council with the European Union as enforcers abroad seek stricter regulation of the industry.

Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and policy, warned in a blog post on Friday that trade relations between the two governments are “fraying”. Bhatia said US policy has been “largely reduced to urging Europe to follow US supply chain initiatives” while Europe pursues comprehensive regulations such as taxes on digital services.

Bhatia said such trends are damaging both economies and will make it difficult for them to face new global challenges or “work with emerging economies in Asia.”

Google’s appeal to the White House comes as President Joe Biden begins filling his team with well-known tech industry critics, including his Federal Trade Commission candidate Lina Khan and National Economic Council advisor Tim Wu. The company is facing antitrust lawsuits from several states and the Department of Justice that began under the previous administration.

However, Google’s appeal to the Biden administration could suggest that Google sees a potential ally to fend off the most effective EU legislation and prevent a fragmented version of the internet across continents. The European Commission has shown a greater willingness in recent years to crack down on US-based tech companies and impose multiple competition penalties on Google before the US ever initiated antitrust proceedings against Google. Still, the US has recently stepped up enforcement, and Biden’s recent appointments point to a continuation of that policy.

In the blog post, Bhatia called on the Biden government to join and expand a trade and technology council between the EU and the US proposed by the European Commission. To be most effective, both sides should consult with each other before taking any important action that could affect the way the other is involved in technical trade negotiations, he said. Bhatia added that this would mean the EU should consult the Council on whether rules such as the Comprehensive Digital Markets Act “reflect the EU-US alliance based on values”.

This legislation would give companies like Google significant penalties for failing to meet certain standards in order to prevent their own products and services from being preferred in their markets. Violations could result in heavy fines or even the sale of parts of the business.

The blog was published prior to Bhatia’s appearance at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Friday.

At the event, Bhatia expressed concern about the fragmentation of the internet between countries.

“What worries me to some extent, however, are sometimes security or sovereignty concerns, which are legitimate concerns and can affect fundamentally protectionist policies that fragment not only the trading system but also the Internet Episode has. “He said. “And I’m worried we’re seeing this incredible tool that has brought so much benefit to the world, the global economy, etc. Look at some kind of breakdown of international standards and the services and benefits that come with them. That’s why we have to Be careful. It’s a concern and a risk. “

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