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The Miller Center Examines EU Perspective on Free-Trade Agreement in Edinburgh

Lord Peter Mandelson, former EU trade commissioner

Lord Peter Mandelson, former EU trade commissioner, at the Miller Center’s Caplin Conference in Edinburgh

The Miller Center held the second part of the 2013 Mortimer Caplin Conference on the World Economy in Edinburgh, Scotland last week, in partnership with the Europa Institute at the University of Edinburgh. It was the sixth Caplin Conference but the first consisting of two sessions that approach an issue from dual perspectives. The issue examined during the 2013 conference was the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the perspectives considered were those of the U.S. and the EU.

TTIP, a proposed free-trade agreement between the U.S. and EU currently being negotiated on both sides of the Atlantic, will further link these two economies, which make up approximately half of the world’s GDP. Advocates of TTIP assert that the agreement will boost trade and growth for both economies and streamline duplicative, bureaucratic processes. However, there are also serious challenges to be addressed before successful passage of TTIP, many of which center around regulatory issues and issues specific to certain industries, notably intellectual property, agriculture, and cultural protections.

The session in Edinburgh convened academics and policymaking experts, including Kenneth Clarke member of Parliament and UK cabinet minister; David Martin, Scotland’s most senior member of Parliament and a member of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade; Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Centre; and John Peterson and Chad Damro of the Europa Institute.

In a keynote address titled “What Are We Playing for?” Lord Peter Mandelson, former EU trade commissioner, spoke about the effect that trade liberalization between the two superpowers would have on the world economy as a whole if TTIP were passed.

Following the conclusion of these conference sessions in Washington and Edinburgh, the Miller Center will now develop a joint report featuring conclusions and recommendations to be disseminated to key target audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

More information about the Caplin conference, including short video clips from panelists in the Washington and Edinburgh sessions, can be found here.

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