Advancing Transatlantic Trade and Investment: Roundtable with the American Chambers of Commerce in Europe

On June 4th, the Atlantic Council’s Global Business and Economics Program hosted an off-the-record roundtable discussion involving the leaders of the American Chambers of Commerce from 27 European countries and the European Union, including Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands.Participants met to explore areas of cooperation between the Atlantic Council and the American Chambers in Europe to promote the successful negotiation and conclusion of a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and in Europe.

The United States and Europe currently face a rare and unique opportunity to both strengthen and redefine the transatlantic relationship. By forging a unified West through a comprehensive free trade agreement, the two sides will be better placed to strategically cope with emerging global realities. They will also set a gold standard for a rules-based economic relationship – one that will be emulated by other countries as they ascend in the global economy.

Guests highlighted the importance of establishing a coordinated effort amongst all stakeholder groups in Europe to encourage the passage of a comprehensive agreement. By forging a network of organizations representing all stakeholders, a sustained effort can be made to keep the political leadership engaged and ensuring a united front from the business community, consumer groups, and others. Importantly, these efforts will specifically identify and target particular countries, individual policymakers, and interest groups that are most likely to play a pivotal role in the passage and composition of the agreement.

The representatives of the European AmCham organizations agreed that a coordinated effort amongst stakeholder groups will be of critical importance. In that light, strategic priorities for the organizations include encouraging increased engagement from European businesses, and ramping up outreach efforts to consumer organizations and civil society groups in order to eliminate as many “red lines” and industry exemptions as possible. Another priority is to emphasize the benefits that an agreement would have on families and consumers across the US and Europe through TTIP’s potential positive impacts on small and medium sized enterprises.