EU to assess export controls on AI tech and semiconductor chips

EU to assess export controls on AI tech and semiconductor chips

October 4, 2023

The European Commission is conducting risk assessments and considering export controls on “critical technology areas” including artificial intelligence (AI) and semiconductor technologies, according to an update from the Commission. 

On Oct. 3, EU officials said they identified four areas that need assessment regarding technology risk and risk of technology leakage. The four categories include AI, advanced semiconductors technologies, quantum technologies and biotechnologies.

According to the announcement, these technologies were chosen based on their transformative nature, the risk of civil or military fusion and the risk that the technology could be used to violate human rights.

Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the internal market at the EU Commission, called the move an important step for EU “resilience.”

“We need to continuously monitor our critical technologies, assess our risk exposure and – as and when necessary – take measures to preserve our strategic interests and our security.”

He continued to say, “Europe is adapting to the new geopolitical realities, putting an end to the era of naivety and acting as a real geopolitical power.”

The risk assessments will be carried out by the end of the year. Any results or initiatives based on the risk assessments will be presented by spring 2024.

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The Commission says the next steps include engaging with its 27 Member States to begin collective assessments of the above-mentioned areas.

This development follows a move on June 20, when the EU Commission enacted the Joint Communication on European Economic Security Strategy, which was a multi-pillared initiative that included “protection against risks” and promoting European competitiveness in specific markets.

The United States has also been focusing efforts on assessing export risks of its own technology in similar sectors. Particularly, it has banned the export of high-level AI semiconductor chips to China.

Many lawmakers in the U.S. have also supported legislation that would mandate companies to report investments in Chinese technologies.

The decisions on this matter stemming from the U.S. have sparked countries overseas to consider their own course of action in regard to AI technologies.

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