Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to say that Europe to stop 'unfairly' targeting U.S. tech companies

Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to say that Europe to stop unfairly targeting US tech companies

February 24, 2022: -A bipartisan group of 30 lawmakers urges President Joe Biden to push European leaders to alter language in their proposed Digital Markets Act as it does not target U.S. tech companies.

On Wednesday, in a letter sent and shared exclusively with CNBC, the group, led by Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Darin LaHood, R-Ill., wrote that they “are greatly concerned that E.U.’s proposed approach to promoting competition among digital platforms unfairly targets American workers by deeming certain U.S. technology companies as ‘gatekeepers’ based on discriminatory and subjective thresholds.”

The letter came as lawmakers are debating competition reforms at home that would seek to rein in the power of the Big Tech companies. This year, two such bills have already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support.

The White House has tried to thread a thin needle on the issue of competition reform at home and abroad, releasing a statement to Politico that it supports “the bipartisan progress being made in Congress” but is concerned about “distinct elements” of the E.U.’s plans.

The Digital Markets Act was initially announced by the European Commission in 2020 to tackle the matters of online competition with which regulators worldwide, which also include in the U.S., have grappled. That includes matters such as tech companies giving better placement to their products over others on their platforms.

On Wednesday, the lawmakers behind the letter wrote that they share the urge to do more to protect consumers and their privacy but argued that American tech companies are unfairly singled out in the DMA. They pointed to a Financial Times article quoting an E.U. lawmaker who suggested in the previous year that American tech giants Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft were the “biggest problems” for competition policy in Europe.

The lawmakers knew the DMA’s parameters as “de facto discrimination.”

“As European leaders have made clear, the DMA as currently drafted is driven not by concerns regarding appropriate market share, but by a desire to restrict American companies’ access in Europe to prop up European companies,” they said.

They expressed concern that the DMA would not apply to large Chinese firms such as Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent. The lawmakers wrote that companies “already operate at a competitive advantage as they are supported by the Chinese government and benefit from a protected market of more than 1.3 billion consumers in China.”

“The E.U. agrees that we should develop joint approaches to combat digital authoritarianism of China, surveillance regime, and human and worker rights violations,” the lawmakers wrote. “It, therefore, should avoid supporting companies complicit in the expansion of the harmful practices.”

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Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to say that Europe to stop 'unfairly' targeting U.S. tech companies
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Bipartisan lawmakers want Biden to say that Europe to stop 'unfairly' targeting U.S. tech companies
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A bipartisan group of 30 lawmakers urges President Joe Biden to push European leaders to alter language in their proposed Digital Markets Ac
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The Women Leaders
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