Transatlantic Business Dialogue

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The TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) was established by the US government and European Union in 1995 as the official business sector advisory group for EU and US officials on trade and investment issues. The purpose of the TABD was to foster an ongoing dialogue between business and government at the highest levels. It had become clear to both governments that international business maintains a unique and indispensable perspective on trade liberalization, and that it was necessary to create an official forum that allowed these transatlantic businesses to come together in a single setting where they would be able to address their mutual concerns.

The first TABD conference was held in Seville, Spain in 1995 and concluded in the creation of working groups on standards and regulatory issues, trade liberalization, investment, and third country relations. As it was the first time that the private sector held an official role in determining EU/US public policy, the Seville conference signified a milestone in transatlantic trade relations. US Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown convened the conference along with European Commission Vice President Sir Leon Brittan and Commissioner Dr. Martin Bangeman, and it was met with enthusiasm across the transatlantic business community.

Throughout the years, the TABD continually provided input on a number of trade issues, including financial services, raw materials/recycling, and eMobility. Since 2007, the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), which is the primary plenary for economic dialogue between the US and EU, has served as an additional platform for the TABD to exercise its advisory role.

Currently, the TABD enjoys an especially important position in the Transatlantic Business Council, operating as a distinct program within the overall organization. The TABD program is the highest forum within the TBC and brings together European and American CEOs and C-suite executives. The TABD meets twice a year, leading to the development of joint policy recommendations to the US and European governments on a number of trade-related issues.

The last TABD program meeting took place in January in Davos/Switzerland in the margins of the World Economic Forum. Government guests and speakers included Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, OECD Secretary General Ángel Gurría and Michael Froman, Assistant to President Barack Obama and US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs.

TABD’s ultimate goal has always been to facilitate the eventual establishment of a barrier-free transatlantic market, which would further global trade liberalization and prosperity. Consequently, the recent launch of free trade negotiations between the US and EU exemplifies TABD’s efforts, and places the program in an attractive position vis-à-vis the negotiators.

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