GW Regulatory Studies Tackles Trans-Atlantic Trade in Two-Day Conference

Senator Rob Portman and GW Regulatory Studies Center Director Susan Dudley
By Lindsay Scherber, MPP ’15, and Policy Analyst with the GW Regulatory Studies Center
April 07, 2015

Last November, the GW Regulatory Studies Center, with support from the European Union, hosted a two-day conference on Enhancing the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP): Reducing Regulatory Barriers.

Susan Dudley, Director of the GW Regulatory Studies Center, said that the conference, which brought together nearly 150 policy officials, regulatory experts and stakeholders from the EU and U.S. was designed to highlight the key similarities and differences between the two entities’ regulatory practices.

“The conference provided a valuable opportunity to explore opportunities for, and challenges to, greater transatlantic regulatory cooperation,” Dudley said.

Ambassador of the European Union to the United States David O’Sullivan (in his first official speech) and Dudley welcomed conference attendees with remarks about the potential benefits of TTIP and the importance of reducing regulatory barriers to transatlantic trade. Chief TTIP Negotiator Daniel Mullaney and Head of the Trade and Agriculture Section of the EU Delegation Damien Levie provided a high-level overview of the TTIP agreement and the status of ongoing negotiations.

The day’s remaining panels brought together prominent policy officials, academics and stakeholders from both sides of the Atlantic. In an effort to identify commonalities, divergences and areas for increased cooperation between the U.S. and EU, panelists provided a comparative overview of the American and European regulatory systems, compared the role of legislatures and courts in American and European regulatory procedures, explored the ways in which each jurisdiction integrates regulatory impact analysis and retrospective review into its rulemaking processes, and discussed the nature, timing and extent of stakeholder consultation in the U.S. and EU.

The conference’s second day featured a keynote speech by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), former U.S. Trade Representative, who highlighted the importance of transatlantic trade and the role for sound regulation. Seeking to integrate a historical perspective into the TTIP dialogue, current and former practitioners from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), U.S. Department of Transportation and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative convened for a session to highlight best practices in regulatory cooperation.

The conference’s final panel brought together a prominent group of U.S. and U.K.-based scholars to discuss the role of risk assessment, risk management and risk communication in U.S. and EU regulatory decision-making. Noting that neither the U.S. nor the EU takes an exclusively precautionary approach to risk regulation, panelists applauded the idea of taking advantage of regulatory variations within and across jurisdictions to better understand which approaches produce the best results.

“Learning from our differences could strengthen the TTIP agreement, in particular, and global regulatory practices, more generally,” Dudley said.

Many of the conference’s speakers have written short essays summarizing their remarks. Visit the GW Regulatory Studies Center's conference website to learn more about the event and read the collection of speaker essays.