BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union faces the challenge of convincing its members to give up their authority on export controls as it seeks to put in place an EU system that also monitors outbound investment, European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday.
The European Commission plans to present its “Economic Security Strategy” next month, which is expected to contain measures to prevent China and other competitors from accessing sensitive technologies.
“It’s some kind of high technology, emerging technology, dual-use technology that doesn’t end up in the wrong hands,” Dombrovskis told Reuters in an interview. Dual-use technology can have both civilian and military applications.
According to Dombrovskis, in the current European system, individual member states decide when they invoke their own national security interests to control exports.
In a recent high-profile case, the Dutch government declared in March that it had introduced new restrictions on the export of mechanical devices to protect national security, adding to US efforts to control exports of semiconductor technology to China.
“Member states defend their prerogatives and there are some reservations when it comes to implementing these types of decisions at the EU level,” said Dombrovskis.
“That requires some discussion on how to effectively manage the system, while maintaining the competence of member states in matters of national security,” he added.
The EU and the US are expected to commit to cooperation on export and investment policies at a meeting of senior officials of the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) next week in Sweden.
“It is clear that in today’s more contentious geopolitical context, these issues of economic security occupy a higher place,” Dombrovskis said, adding that this is a topic of discussion in Sweden.
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He said the two sides are now coordinating export controls after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia has been a very practical test case for this cooperation and it has worked quite well,” he said.
(question by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Mark Potter; edited in Spanish by Flora Gómez)