China and EU Discuss Artificial Intelligence and Cross-Border Data Flows Amidst EV Subsidy Disputes
On September 18, China and the European Union (EU) held talks in Beijing to discuss various topics, including artificial intelligence (AI) and cross-border data flows. These talks were part of an EU-China High-level Digital Dialogue, co-chaired by China’s Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing and the European Commission Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova.
This dialogue marked the first of its kind in three years and aimed to address the growing tensions between China and the EU, particularly in light of the EU’s recent probe into China’s electric vehicle (EV) subsidies. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the investigation, which explores whether punitive tariffs on Chinese EVs should be imposed to protect EU producers.
China strongly criticized the probe, labeling it as a “protectionist act” that would harm economic relations between the two sides. The talks on Monday covered key issues, including platforms and data regulation, AI, and cross-border flow of industrial data, as mentioned by both China and the EU.
During the meeting, the European Commission expressed concerns about the “difficulties faced by EU companies in China to make use of their industrial data, as a result of the application of recent legislation.” However, the statement did not specify the legislation being referred to. It is worth noting that China passed a revised counter-espionage law in July, which included bans on the transfer of any information related to national security and broadened the definition of spying.
Vice Premier Zhang emphasized that China welcomes companies from around the world, including Europe, to join its digital economy and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Both sides agreed to promote an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for the development of the digital economy, according to China’s state news agency, Xinhua.
In addition to AI and data-related discussions, the EU-China talks also addressed research and innovation, information and communication technology, and the safety of products sold online.
As tensions between China and the EU continue to rise, these dialogues provide a platform for both parties to engage in constructive discussions and explore potential solutions. It remains to be seen how these talks will impact the ongoing disputes concerning EV subsidies and other areas of contention between China and the EU.