The European Commission (EC) on Thursday 17 December issued long-anticipated proposals for new digital technology regulation in the European Union (EU): the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Once formally adopted as EU Regulations, these proposals will set a new benchmark for regulating internet platform services. Given their international reach and implications for global tech businesses, they also raise a series of implications for international trade. However, it’s still too early to predict whether the DSA and DMA may become the target of any new international trade actions. Since the proposed Regulations remain at the consultations stage, tech companies have so far reacted cautiously. To the extent the US ultimately adopts similar safeguards, the EU’s new proposals may ultimately reflect a new international consensus on internet platform regulation. Failing that, some may frame them as an effort to maintain the ramparts of “fortress Europe” against international competition in digital services.

The new initiative is described in the linked article by members of Steptoe’s Brussels office, including former EU Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan and partners Charles Helleputte, Charles Whiddington and Philip Woolfson.