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EU to review export laws pertaining to semiconductor chips and AI technology

The European Commission has outlined its intention to conduct comprehensive assessments in four pivotal technology domains, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI) technology and semiconductor chips, as part of its contemplation of export control measures.

The European Commission is presently in the process of conducting risk assessments, contemplating the imposition of export controls on what it terms “critical technology domains,” with a specific emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductor technologies. This initiative was disclosed via an official press release issued by the Commission.

As of October 3rd, officials from the European Union have identified four specific areas warranting in-depth evaluation concerning technological risks and the potential for technology leakage. These areas encompass AI, advanced semiconductor technologies, quantum technologies, and biotechnologies. The selection of these technologies was guided by their transformative potential, the possibility of their convergence for both civilian and military applications, and the potential for these technologies to be exploited in ways that infringe upon human rights.

Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for the Internal Market of the European Union, hailed this development as a significant stride toward bolstering the resilience of the EU. He remarked, “We must remain vigilant in monitoring our critical technologies, evaluating our exposure to risk, and, when necessary, taking measures to safeguard our strategic interests and security.” Further underscoring the gravity of the situation, he added, “Europe is adapting to the evolving geopolitical landscape, bidding farewell to a bygone era of naivety, and asserting itself as a genuine geopolitical force.”

The risk assessments are slated for completion by the year’s end, with any ensuing initiatives or outcomes based on these assessments scheduled for presentation by spring 2024. The Commission’s plans also encompass engaging with the 27 EU member states to commence collaborative assessments within the aforementioned domains.

This development follows the European Commission’s enactment, on June 20th, of the Joint Communication on European Economic Security Strategy, a multifaceted initiative aimed at bolstering “risk protection” and enhancing European competitiveness within specific markets.

In parallel, the United States has undertaken its own assessment of export risks within analogous technological sectors. Recent measures have included the prohibition of high-level AI semiconductor chip exports to China. Furthermore, numerous U.S. lawmakers have thrown their support behind legislation mandating the disclosure of investments in Chinese technology by American companies. These actions have triggered a ripple effect worldwide, prompting other countries to contemplate their own strategies concerning AI technologies.

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