EU, Japan look to partner on A.I., chips amid China ‘de-risking’ push
EU, Japan look to partner on A.I., chips amid China ‘de-risking’ push

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton delivers the keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Angel Garcia | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The head of the EU industry said that the EU hopes to cooperate more closely with Japan on key technologies such as artificial intelligence to reduce its dependence on China in certain areas.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is due to meet the Japanese government on Monday, said in a video posted on Twitter on Sunday that artificial intelligence would be “very high” on his agenda.

“I will work with the Japanese government … to discuss how to organize our digital space, including artificial intelligence based on our shared values,” Breton said.

Breton also said an EU-Japan Digital Cooperation Council would be established to discuss areas such as quantum and high-performance computing. The European Union held a similar council with South Korea last week, where the two sides agreed to cooperate on technologies such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

The EU wants to “de-risk” China as it forges partnerships with key Asian countries with strong technology industries – unlike the US, which seeks to decouple its economy from Beijing.

Part of the EU strategy involves deepening ties with allies on technology.

Breton told Reuters on Monday that the EU and Japan would cooperate in the field of semiconductors. Japan is a key country in the semiconductor supply chain, and Tokyo has been looking to strengthen its domestic industry. Last week, a fund backed by the Japanese government proposed buying domestic chipmaker JSR for about 903.9 billion yen ($6.3 billion).

The European Union has also been looking to strengthen its own semiconductor industry across the EU.

Semiconductors are critical components in everything from cars to smartphones and have potential military applications. Countries around the world have been reassessing their supply chains, with some of them, such as the United States, looking to bring semiconductor manufacturing back home.

Semiconductors are also key to training AI models. Artificial intelligence and chips are seen as two key technology areas of the future, and countries are trying to capitalize on them.

At the same time, the U.S., in particular, has sought to cut China off from key technologies such as semiconductors through export restrictions, and Washington also hopes to persuade European allies to join.

The Netherlands is home to one of the world’s most important chip companies ASMLNew export restrictions on advanced semiconductor equipment were announced last week.

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