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Diplomacy in Action

Framework for Promoting Transatlantic Economic Integration, Annex VII: Innovation and Technology


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
June 1, 2009

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Points of Contact

European Commission:
(name)
Email:
Telephone:
U.S. Government:
David De Falco
Email: David_De_Falco@ita.doc.gov
Telephone: (202) 482-2178
EU Delegation in Washington:
(name)
Email:
Telephone:
U.S. Mission to the EU:
Ashley Miller/David Lippeatt
Email:Ashley_Miller@ita.doc.gov; LippeattJD@state.gov
Telephone:02-508-2679; 02-508-2668



Reference

Annex 2, D; Annex 7.

Goal

To promote economic growth by fostering innovation in the United States and European Union, including by sharing best practices on innovation policy and metrics, further transatlantic R&D cooperation; facilitating the application of information and communications technologies, and in particular spurring innovative healthcare and energy technologies.

Specific Objectives

1. Policies: Workshops to exchange best practices:
2. R&D Cooperation: Expand U.S.-EU S&T Agreement to include space and security research.
3. Advanced Technologies: Ensure compatible regulatory approaches to nanotechnology.
4. ICT applications:

  • RFID: facilitate use of radio frequency identification technologies while protecting personal data;
  • eAccessibility: ensure compatible approaches to U.S. and European eAccessibility procurement regulations;

5. eHealth: ensure compatible approaches to electronic patient records;

6. Consider establishing a new Innovation Policy Working Group, and revising the Innovation Lighthouse Project and Annexes in the Framework.

Progress

Expert Exchanges: The U.S. and EU held two exchanges of experts to share innovation best practices. In March 2007, the Department of Commerce organized a one-day workshop on technology transfer and the U.S. innovation system for an EU delegation, who subsequently visited three states to learn about innovation policy at the local level. In December 2007, the U.S. and EU conducted an exchange of innovation experts on the mechanisms by which energy and sustainability are driving innovation within the European Union. Report available at http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/energy/.

S&T Cooperation: The U.S. and EU in 2009 extended their bilateral S&T Agreement for a further five years; they also agreed to include in the agreement space-based technologies and security research. This expansion enables cooperation in the two new research themes detailed in the European Commission’s 7th Framework Program on research. The March 2009 S&T Agreement Joint Management Committee has prepared a roadmap for continued collaboration in over a dozen areas now covered by the Agreement, including research infrastructure, researcher exchanges, energy science, environment and sustainable development, metrology, space, security, food/agriculture/biotechnology; materials and nanotechnology, health and biomedicine, information and communications technology, and social sciences.

Nanotechnology: In October 2008, U.S. and EU experts (State, FDA, USDA, Commerce and DGs Enterprise, Environment, SANCO, and Research) met to exchange ideas on regulation and future research goals and priorities. Several areas emerged as possible divergent points in the future, worthy of further discussion. The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue held a nanotechnology conference June 10, where government, industry and consumer groups shared concerns and hopes for the technology. The EU is now soliciting comments on certain aspects of nanotech regulation and will hold a hearing on this in late September.

RFID: Extensive U.S.-EU dialogue factored into a European Commission Recommendation released in May 2009 on RFID privacy and security. The U.S. submitted formal comments on the Recommendation during the public comment period. The final Recommendation strikes a balance between concerns of privacy advocates and industry, acceptable to all major stakeholders, on the central issue of de-activation of RFID tags in the retail context. The U.S. and EU held joint RFID symposia in DC in September 2008 and in Brussels in May 2009. Work is underway on a U.S.-EU pilot project on the use of RFID to track radioactive isotopes in commerce, and U.S. and EU experts are working to develop additional joint pilot projects. The Commission will now begin to focus its policy development work on health, governance, environmental sustainability, and other aspects of RFID. There are indications that it may seek to more formally take account of U.S. and other international industry views.

E-Accessibility: U.S.-EC dialogue supports a single European approach to public procurement in the e-accessibility arena with rules and standards that are compatible with U.S. practices. Phase 1 on EC Mandate 376 to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI “In Support of Accessibility Requirements for Public Procurement of Products and Services in the ICT” concluded in June 2008. Phase 2 is to begin sometime in 2009. The U.S. will continue to support the Commission and participate in EC Mandate meetings scheduled for 2009. U.S. and EU will participate in EABC activities on this topic.

E-Health: In May 2007, U.S. and EU policymakers met in Brussels to identify future areas for cooperation and create a roadmap for interoperability. They identified terminology convergence and systems certification as first steps. At the EU level, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) organized an EU-funded workshop on e-health to explore standardization options across all member states, including interoperability of the electronic health insurance card. The kick-off meeting of the CEN WS/eEHIC took place on 24 April 2007 and the closure meeting was held last 10 March. More information about this initiative can be found on the CEN website (http://www.cen.eu/cenorm/sectors/sectors/isss/activity/ws+eehic.asp). The U.S. Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) is working on a summary of its criteria for certification of e-Health records systems. The French EU presidency held a conference in Paris in October 2008 on e-health with participation from U.S. and EU government and industry. The U.S. will continue collaboration with EABC, AmChamEU and TABD on eHealth initiatives. EABC will host a transatlantic meeting on eHealth in October 2009, in conjunction with Swedish presidency.

Next Steps

The U.S. is proposing restructuring the innovation annex under the Framework to focus work in thematic areas such as:

1. Innovation policy (possible topics include best practices, education exchanges, research commercialization policies, other regulatory and tax policies)
2. Advanced technologies (including on-going work under the U.S. EU Science & Technology Agreement, space-based technologies, bio-based products, regulation of nanotech, cloning and biotech).
3. ICT applications (including on-going work in e-Accessibility, broadband, RFID, intelligent transport networks, cyber-security).
4. Healthcare technologies (including on-going work in health R&D, electronic health records);

To advance and bring coherence to our innovation policy discussions, the U.S. may also propose a new U.S.-EU Innovation Working Group (IWG). Topics the IWG might address include: 1) Research and Development; 2) Education; 3) Strengthening an entrepreneurial climate for innovation; and 4) promoting innovation across the economy and society. The IWG could meet annually or more often, report to the TEC, and could involve public-private conferences on innovation promotion.

Upcoming Events

July 8-9, Brussels. Conference on Creativity, Innovation, People. The regional dimension of creativity and innovation, (DG Education and culture).

July 15-17, Paris. OECD Conference on Potential Environmental Benefits of Nanotechnology: Fostering Safe Innovation-Led Growth.

EABC will host a transatlantic meeting on eHealth in October 2009, in conjunction with Swedish presidency.

Private sector innovation workshop, October, Washington, D.C.

November 4-5, Paris. OECD Global Forum on Eco-Innovation.



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