Following a week of launch events across Europe, on February 22, the German Marshall Fund hosted the U.S. launch of the report from the Transatlantic Task Force on Trade and Investment, “A New Era for Transatlantic Trade Leadership.” The discussion attracted over 50 guests to hear Task Force Co-Chair and GMF Senior Transatlantic Fellow Jim Kolbe, and Task Force Members Jennifer Hillman, senior transatlantic fellow at GMF, and Hugo Paemen, former EU ambassador to the United States and senior advisor for Hogan Lovells, outline the report.
The discussion in Washington focused largely on the possibility of a turning tide in bilateral trade relations between Europe and the United States. Task Force ideas and recommendations, described as “extremely timely,” “highly creative,” “bold,” and “very important” by attendees, encouraged new thinking about this relationship, possibly in the form of a “free trade zone” that transcends customary free trade agreement conventions. Both business and former government participants responded positively to this concept and acknowledged that the political momentum surrounding U.S.-EU trade has improved for those who favor deeper ties. As leaders in both the United States and Europe think more seriously about strengthening this vital trade relationship, the report of the Transatlantic Task Force offers new insights that have already captured the imaginations of trade experts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Also in attendance and contributing heavily to the discussion were Task Force members and rapporteurs, including Susan Schwab, former U.S. trade representative; Dan Drezner, professor of international politics, Tufts University; Charles Heeter, managing director of Global Public Policy, Deloitte; Charles Levy, lawyer international trade, Cassidy Levy Kent; and Bruce Wilson, director of international affairs for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.
The Transatlantic Task Force on Trade and Investment is a joint initiative by GMF and the European Center for International Political Economy (ECIPE). It began its work last spring to discuss how the United States and the EU can forge a stronger relationship to continue to lead global trade and investment policy in the near future. It was launched in Paris, Brussels, and Berlin the week prior to its launch in Washington.