Transatlantic Cooperation vs. Tech Nationalism

Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 10:00-11:00am EST // 16:00-17:00 CET

Values and Standards in the New Systemic Competition

Dr. Andreas Freytag, DAAD/AGI Research Fellow

Peter Rashish, Vice President and Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AGI

This webinar explores the idea that transatlantic relations should be further strengthened through joint standard setting to gain traction in the intensifying systemic competition between the West and autocratic countries, first and foremost China. Based on similar values, cooperation in standard setting can be an instrument to secure economic prosperity across the Atlantic and make the transatlantic market attractive for companies from third countries.

The ability to set technological standards has become a prerequisite for a country’s success in global markets. To reap maximum benefits, it is important that a standard be widely used. Not only that, in the existing dynamic of systemic rivalry, technologies and technological standards are becoming weaponized.

Under this current situation of distrust, a tendency to favor tech nationalism has risen, even within close partnerships like the transatlantic relationship. But history shows that subsidy races, protectionism, and isolationism lead to inefficiencies.

From a geopolitical perspective, the United States and the European Union instead need to cooperate.

If the transatlantic partners can manage to create and enforce joint high standards that respect technical and environmental regulations—as well as social aspects of trade and investment—they will not only improve the well-being of their citizens, but also be able to attract businesses from other countries. And by generating familiarity with Western values, these commercial partners may even help to secure the global Westphalian and liberal order that is currently under stress.

Andreas Freytag
Dr. Andreas Freytag is Professor of Economics at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Honorary Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, and Visiting Professor at the Institute of International Trade, University of Adelaide. He is also Director of G20 Trade and Investment Research Network. Dr. Freytag obtained his diploma from the University of Kiel and his doctorate as well as his Habilitation from the University of Cologne. He has published a number of books and articles in first-class peer-reviewed journals on economic policy, international trade policy, development economics, and international policy coordination. He contributes to blogs and for over ten years had a weekly column on wiwo-online, a German magazine.

During his time at the AGI, Andreas Freytag is focusing on the substance and path of tightened transatlantic relations against the background of the systemic competition between the West and autocratic states. The latter comprise some emerging economies, including Russia and China. This escalation has geo-political and geo-economic consequences and makes it necessary to strengthen the ties between transatlantic partners as well as to reach out jointly to attract third countries to the Western values. To maintain Western leadership in standard-setting as well as helping developing countries to enforce universal human rights and environmental standards, there needs to be a coordinated and broad-based strategy to (1) react to Chinese et al. attempts to define and set standards, which become binding for third countries’ companies. Similarly, (2) due diligence legislation may also be more effective if coordinated across the Atlantic. Although not in the center of analysis, another (3) aspect deals with the transatlantic trade relations as such, which are also in need of a revitalization. This project focuses on the geo-economic aspects of systems competition although it is difficult to disentangle economic and political relations. It analyzes ways to intensify the transatlantic relations with the objective to maintain economic welfare as well as to position the Western partners better to counter autocracies’ attempts to gain influence in the world economy.

Please reach out to Program Coordinator Mr. Jack Fornasiero at with questions.

This event is supported by the DAAD with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.