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U.S. Deputy Secretary Don Graves Travels to Belgium and Croatia, Addresses Importance of U.S.-EU Strategic Economic Alliance to Combat Supply Chain Disruptions, Improve Energy Security

Last week, U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves traveled to Brussels, Belgium and met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. They discussed the close cooperation between the European Union and the United States on export controls to counter Russia’s war on Ukraine, the continued need for enforcement coordination, as well as European energy security.

Deputy Secretary Graves’ meeting with President von der Leyen followed a series of meetings the Deputy Secretary had with a range of Commission leaders, including Michael Hager, Bjoern Seibert, Sabine Weyand, David O’Sullivan, and Gerassimo Thomas.

While in Brussels, Deputy Secretary Graves also spoke at the CEPS Ideas Lab, celebrating the U.S.-E.U. economic relationship and furthering collaboration on tech leadership, energy security, and shared challenges ahead. “We need resilient, competitive supply chains that can withstand shocks, minimize disruptions, and respond effectively to crises when they occur,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “This means working collaboratively with our partners to promote greater supply chain diversification, in areas including energy, technology and semiconductors.”

During his remarks, Graves also addressed the Commerce Department’s efficacy in inhibiting Russia’s ability to sustain, repair, and resupply its military and industrial bases through multilateral export controls.

“Because of these export controls, Russia’s imports of semiconductors or chips, the lifeblood of Russia’s weaponry, have had a significant, sustained drop compared to the same period in 2021,” said Graves. “Continued economic cooperation between the U.S. and the EU is essential to ensuring that democracies prevail against authoritarians and malign actors.”

Later in the week, Deputy Secretary Graves joined Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in Zagreb, Croatia to participate in the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation (P-TECC). While there, he reiterated the same messages as in Brussels, along with cooperation efforts between the US and European allies on clean tech efforts.

Graves discussed the need to work with the private sector in developing cutting-edge technology to reduce carbon emission and support economic growth between both sides of the Atlantic, as well as U.S. industry’s role as a partner of choice for Europe’s energy transition needs. Graves addressed the P-TECC Business Forum and the need to accelerate Europe’s clean energy transition due to the world’s increasing climate crisis.

“Even as the United States and EU collaborate to support the clean energy economy on the continent, we must understand the massive market, investment, industrialization, and job opportunities it offers on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Graves. “Working together on enabling commerce within and across borders, we can unlock the region’s abundant clean energy resources and vast carbon sequestration potential while promoting zero- and low-emissions goods and services.”

During P-TECC, Deputy Secretary Graves met with the Slovak Ministry of Economy Karel Hirman and issued a joint declaration on commercial cooperation in the energy sector. The focus of his time at P-TECC was highlighting the US-EU partnership and coordination efforts to foster energy security and accelerate the transition to clean energy.

On the margins of P-TECC, Deputy Secretary also participated in several bilateral meetings with officials from Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, and Poland.