Each year, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center hosts the Caplin Conference on the World Economy, which assembles scholars, experts, government officials, and leaders in business and finance to examine the impact of US economic policy at home and abroad. The 2013 Caplin Conference, held on December 2 at the National Press Club in Washington, examined the prospective free trade agreement between the United States and European Union, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Central to the Miller Center’s mission is bringing the lessons of history to bear for today’s policy challenges. Garrett Workman and Jordan Smith of the Atlantic Council were asked to write an original background essay that places the conference subject in proper historical context. This paper provides the historical lens that informed the conference’s deliberations by providing insight to questions like: “Why now?” and “Why is TTIP necessary?”

Read the full essay here.