Lawmakers Argue Pending European Tech Laws Disadvantage American Firms 

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Two senators asked President Biden to negotiate changes to the pending Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act.

Leaders on the Senate Finance Committee petitioned President Biden on Tuesday to engage with European Union officials over provisions in two pieces of legislation which could impose new regulations on American technology companies operating in Europe.

In the letter, Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, expressed concern over both the Digital Markets Acts and Digital Services Acts “arbitrary” policies that give other countries an unfair competitive advantage.

“[We] applaud the EU’s objectives to ensure fair conditions for competition in the digital services sector and improve the welfare of consumers,” the letter reads. “However, policies intended to meaningfully address the excess market power of technology firms must apply equally to firms based in Europe, China, the United States, and other countries.”

The DMA and the DSA, both resolutions within the EU Parliament, broadly set out to strengthen transparency and competitiveness in digital markets, with new protections for consumers and new designations for certain businesses that qualify as “gatekeepers,” particularly in regards to encouraging smaller businesses’ activity.

Both proposed laws work in tandem, with the DMA focusing on fair competition and the DSA further protecting user rights and regulating content––an arena European lawmakers have regulated thoroughly over the past several years. 

Wyden and Crapo allege that the resolutions give companies based in countries like China and Russia priority over American-based companies. 

“Given the global nature of the internet, we are concerned that the European legislative proposals, as currently drafted, will unfairly disadvantage U.S. firms to the benefit of not just European companies, but also powerful state-owned and subsidized Chinese and Russian companies, which would have negative impacts on internet users’ privacy, security and free speech,” the lawmakers write.

Both senators believe that to accept the current provisions in the DSA and DMA as written would hinder U.S. digital trade.

This request comes as US and EU officials work closely on Ukraine-Russia relations as tensions in the region continue to escalate. Part of this aid involves working with Ukrainian allies to ensure robust cyber defenses against virtual threats.