U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews Delivers Keynote Address at Atlantic Council's Future Europe Initiative


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Today, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews delivered the keynote remarks at the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative. The Department of Commerce has been working extensively with European Union counterparts on key digital issues.

During his remarks, Deputy Secretary Andrews shared support for the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and a Digital Single Market that preserves an open transatlantic marketplace. He hailed the work as a major opportunity to spur growth in Europe’s digital economy and demonstrate the value of openness worldwide.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Good morning, everyone. It is a pleasure to be here. The Atlantic Council has been driving the conversation around critical transatlantic policy issues for over half a century.

This organization always takes a forward-looking approach, and your work on the Task Force on Advancing a Transatlantic Digital Agenda is no exception. Fran, I want to thank you for your leadership on this report – it is both timely and important. Ambassador Kennard, it is great to see you today. I had the pleasure of seeing Prime Minister Bildt when he was in Washington a few weeks ago. Both our co-chairs deserve great credit for leading this task force. As do the nearly two dozen experts on digital policy serving on it. 

At the Department of Commerce, we share many of the objectives outlined in your recent “Twenty Steps Toward 2020” report. As the voice of America’s business community, no other Department is more committed to realizing the vast potential of today’s digital economy. And no other Department understands why our transatlantic relationships are so essential to the digital economy’s success on the global stage.

Just yesterday, the Department of Commerce held a meeting with our Digital Economy Board of Advisors, and issues related to transatlantic digital trade were at the forefront of our discussion.

As many of you know, I recently returned from Hannover, Germany, where I was honored to join Secretary Pritzker and President Obama in leading the U.S. delegation to the 2016 Hannover Fair. So I found it fitting that Prime Minister Bildt and Ambassador Kennard open this new report by recalling how the phrase “Industry 4.0” caught fire at the 2011 Hannover Messe.

This year, “Industry 4.0” was far more than a catchphrase. It was the official theme of this year’s trade show. Throughout industry, we are witnessing the convergence of the digital and the physical world. 

The United States and Europe are at the forefront of this fourth industrial revolution.

Our commercial relationship is unmatched worldwide. Together, we account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP. Every year, we generate nearly a third of international trade. Each day, nearly $3 billion in goods and services make their way across the Atlantic. 

Today, transatlantic trade is increasingly driven not just by the containers we ship between our ports but also through the data we share between our continents. Cross border data flows are the central nervous system of transatlantic digital commerce.

Every day, the movement of data supports the organization of our supply chains, the sharing of innovative research developed collaboratively by companies on both sides of the Atlantic, and the management of employees working for European firms in the United States and Europeans working for American firms in Europe. 

The free flow of data makes it possible to have developers in Silicon Valley win capital from investors in London, open factories in Europe, and monitor production over cloud servers in Virginia. For companies, this means that they can think globally from the start and develop technologies that can be used anywhere. For consumers, this means that they can benefit from the best ideas – wherever they arise.

Clearly, we are living in a time of unprecedented innovation. But if we want to unlock the full potential of the digital economy for the American and European people, we need 21st century policies that match the 21st century economy.

Both the United States and Europe agree that free markets are open markets, and that healthy competition is the best way to spur growth and create opportunity for all. We believe the same holds true in the digital economy. Together, we must embrace policies that facilitate the flow of information across borders, foster private sector collaboration and innovation, and protect the rights of consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Unfortunately, not everyone around the world agrees. As the world’s most powerful commercial partners, the United States and Europe must lead and create ground rules for the 21st century digital economy. 

One area where we have successfully bridged many differences is through the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. 

The Department of Commerce worked closely with the European Commission for over two years on a framework that protects privacy and creates certainty for companies on both sides of the Atlantic. When implemented, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework will support the more than $260 billion in digital goods and services that cross the Atlantic each year. This framework includes new privacy protections to be implemented by companies, new commitments from my Department to administer the Shield and oversee compliance, new redress options for EU individuals, and new commitments for collaboration with European data protection authorities to ensure the Framework functions as intended.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework respects our shared belief that trust and legal certainty are essential ingredients in our shared digital future. The European Commission is now consulting with EU Member States on the draft adequacy determination for the Privacy Shield. In anticipation of the Member States’ vote, we continue to closely coordinate with our partners in Europe to explain the Framework’s protections and answer any questions.

We are committed to working with our European partners to ensure this Framework is approved and implemented. Privacy Shield is premised on the idea that in the decades ahead, more and more data will cross the Atlantic. But the Framework alone will not guarantee a future of mutually beneficial digital trade. Companies on both sides of the Atlantic continue to struggle with digital barriers erected by those governments that do not share our commitment to openness.

We therefore believe that the European Commission’s Digital Single Market initiative is a major opportunity to spur growth in Europe’s digital economy and demonstrate the value of openness worldwide.

Today, when an Italian start-up tries to reach new customers in France, red tape often holds it back. A well-constructed DSM would allow European start-ups to access the continent’s 500 million consumers immediately. And a truly transatlantic DSM would unlock even greater opportunities all around. It would help many U.S. firms deliver more digital goods, services, and jobs to the European people, ensuring that consumers have access to the latest and greatest technology.

The Department of Commerce will remain closely engaged as more specific proposals are rolled out through 2016. We will continue to serve as a resource, offer advice, and do everything we can to help make an open Digital Single Market a reality. And we will continue to work with the European Commission, partners in Europe, and friends like the Atlantic Council to make sure that we all work towards this common digital future. 

I believe we can all agree that a Digital Single Market in Europe – like the digital economy in the United States – will deliver the strongest results as a fully-connected part of both the transatlantic digital marketplace and the global one.

In closing, let me congratulate you on your latest report. This work serves as a powerful reminder that the digital economy is not a zero-sum game. Consumers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic benefit from each other’s innovations in the digital economy.

The question for Europe and the United States is how we move our economies together into the 21st century. It is a question that I know this group is committed to answering – and one that we at the Commerce Department are passionate about as well. Thank you.

Related content

Last updated: 2017-12-14 09:20

Bureaus & Offices

Search by organization name or browse the tree below