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A social dimension for transatlantic economic relations

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Transatlantic Economic Relations (TER) was neglected by politicians for much of the twentieth century as international security issues took priority. Since the end of the Cold War, however, and as economic issues have come to prominence TER has assumed increasing importance and yet is largely overlooked in academic discussion. This report places TER in its historical context and demonstrates how the political agenda and institutional setup are both largely dysfunctional. Viewed through the prism of industrial relations and drawing on some real life examples from both sides of the Atlantic, it argues that the social dimension is a challenge central to the future development of the relationship and proposes institutional innovations which could also be replicated in other areas: for instance in support of environmental concerns. Presenting some guiding principles for transatlantic trade, this paper recommends the creation of a new secretariat to act as a permanent contact point and providing a variety of practical functions essential to making TER work.

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