EU-US Trade & Tech Council could threaten consumers, watchdog warns

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The newly inaugurated EU-US Trade & Technology Council could pose a threat to consumers, EU watchdog warns.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has called on the Council to ensure that its discussions deliver to consumers, are transparent and clearly explained to the public.

The Trade & Technology Council constitutes the first major EU-US cooperation platform in recent years. It takes the form of a series of dialogues on regulatory topics, structured around 10 working groups. It is part of a broader cooperation agenda that will also focus on health and climate issues.

Many issues with high potential impact on consumers could be discussed in this Council, such as artificial intelligence, connected products, online platforms, digital rights and due diligence. Consumer organisations support the voluntary exchange of best practices and information between regulators, as long as this does not weaken the EU’s ambition to better protect consumers, BEUC said.

Monique Goyens, BEUC Director General, said, “Consumer organisations recommend that the EU and US exchange best practices on addressing harmful business models based on data exploitation, online scams, and the sale of dangerous goods online. This could lead, for instance, to joint activities to remove unsafe products from the transatlantic market, which directly benefits consumers.

“But these discussions should in no way give the US influence over how the EU regulates important consumer topics, which is why transparency is indispensable. We urge both the EU and US to focus on practical communication to the public, such as setting up a website with meeting reports and hosting regular briefings that allow civil society to scrutinise what is being discussed,” she added.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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