Apr 23, 2021
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As we emerge from a global health crisis that challenged governments and private industry like nothing else in our recent past, one key lesson is clear: The more people, countries, and companies that coordinated and cooperated, the better they performed.
The best responses to the pandemic – genetic sequencing and disease tracking; vaccination development and treatments; and technology that enabled doctors to collaborate, students to study, and citizens to work – came from international efforts rooted in mutual respect for science and the promotion of innovation.
That’s why Qualcomm is so encouraged by the European Union’s proposal for a high-level European-U.S. Trade and Technology Council (TTC) to tackle what both sides of the Atlantic consider innovation challenges. Discussion of the council came during a recent virtual meeting between U.S. President Joseph Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which the White House described as part of a joint effort to contain the pandemic, pursue a sustainable global economic recovery, and strengthen democracy. The European and American economies have long benefited from this kind of technology diplomacy, which is both an extension of the shared U.S. and European values and an economic force multiplier that demonstrates how much these values and the rule of law reward the nations that adopt them.
We look forward to contributing to the establishment and realization of the TTC. Such international collaboration is part of Qualcomm’s DNA. Through our engineering breakthroughs, Qualcomm companies have been a driving force in the global standardization of wireless technology and at the forefront of semiconductor innovations for more than three decades. We partner with and support governments and industries around the world – and our technology has traveled as far away as Mars.
The success of wireless standardization through the evolution to 5G and beyond offers a roadmap for the broad technology diplomacy ahead: promotion and support for R&D; acceleration of the transition to a greener economy; trade policies that are aimed at boosting commerce and creating jobs, and that don’t view post-pandemic economic recovery as a zero-sum equation for any one country or region; and collaboration on technology standards that benefit people and industries everywhere.
5G is already advancing European and U.S. priorities in these areas. Each new 5G-related technology job is expected to generate an additional 1.8 jobs in the broader economy, according to a recent study by Accenture, sponsored by Qualcomm. That’s potentially 16 million new or transformed American jobs and 20 million jobs in Europe over the next five years.
The European and American auto industries are a prime example of where aligned tech priorities in these difficult times can bolster a crucial job-creating sector, while enhancing competitiveness and sustainability, and saving lives.
In particular, the proliferation of the cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) standard – which allows vehicles to communicate with and sense each other and the roads, cyclists, and pedestrians around them – is expected to drive growth and vastly improve safety. By optimizing traffic flow and helping individual cars become more efficient, C-V2X is also seen by the industry as a means of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and making the transport sector more sustainable – a top priority for U.S. and EU policy makers shaping a greener post-pandemic economic blueprint. The more governments, in collaboration and on their own, can help accelerate the adoption of C-V2X, the faster they can achieve these goals.
The auto sector is also an example of where current global supply crunches hurt manufacturing in Europe and the U.S. Successful technology diplomacy and related policies should include support for the expansion of more resilient semiconductor supply chains, manufacturing capacity, and investments in collaborative research.
Across a broad spectrum of other industries and economic sectors, pursuit of the TTC will concretely advance infrastructure goals of both the new American Jobs Plan put forward by the White House and the Shaping Europe’s Digital Future initiative by the European Commission. Both recognize the key role revitalization of 5G digital infrastructure will play in creating millions of jobs, and even spawning new industries through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), private networks, and advanced manufacturing – which will themselves spur whole new fields of innovation. We hope to work closely with the TTC to ensure these investments will focus on upgrading to modern infrastructure, while preserving incentives for innovation in Europe and the U.S.
Farmers, rural populations, and underserved communities in particular stand to benefit, because all these endeavors prioritize the need to connect the unconnected. Declaring that “broadband internet is the new electricity,” the White House notes how vital high-speed connections are for people to do their jobs, for students to have equal access to schooling, and for people everywhere to obtain health care. That message is in line with the philosophy of the Commission, which points out that digitalization is now also essential to human being’s ability to explore and fulfil their broader ambitions. The heart of any government technology endeavors – multilateral or homegrown – should be programs and policies that encourage innovation and risk-taking by creative minds everywhere.
Qualcomm supports several efforts already underway to foster engineering and scientific breakthroughs. These include the Endless Frontiers Act introduced in the last Congress, which is aimed at expanding fundamental research in artificial intelligence (AI), advanced manufacturing and high-performance computing, and the European Commission’s Digital Compass, which is intended to promote innovation and growth, especially among small and midsized businesses across the region.
Both actions are based on truths understood from Washington to Brussels and Berlin or Paris to San Diego: The more a city, country, or region can stimulate talent and innovation among its people, the more competitive its economy will be. And healthy competition, in turn, benefits all of us.