Globalisation is under a strain. Yet, the transatlantic debate about it is very much alive. On December 8th, 2022 for the third time, the FOTAR (Future of Transatlantic Relations) conference format, hosted by the Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung and the Europa-Kolleg Hamburg, invited distinguished international speakers from various backgrounds to discuss pressing issues that affect both sides of the Atlantic. This year, the focus of the conference lay on the question how the transatlantic trade partnership can contribute to the socio-economic transformation of the global economic system. A keynote, three panels and a reception at the Hamburg Senate approached this complex issue from various points of view, focusing on the linkages between trade and human rights, social inequality, technology, climate change and the role of cities.

Trade has always been a cornerstone of the transatlantic partnership. But amid a multitude of global crises, classical liberal paradigms such as the invisible hand of the market and the democratising effect of trade integration are questioned, demanding a stronger role of the state. Or as speaker Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook summarised: ‘Politics is back on the stage of globalisation’. This does not only hold true for consultations between different governments in the transatlantic partnership or multilateral institutions where actors such as China loom large but also for countries from the Global South and civil society that rightly demand a say in designing globalisation.

Transatlantic partners can play a crucial role in driving change for a more inclusive form of globalization that increases our efforts to reduce social inequality, strengthen technological progress for good, and foster our engagement to tackle climate change when engaging in multinational dialogues on a level playing field and finding new ways to implementing human rights-based approaches in international trade relations.

Check out our stream:

Impressions from FOTAR2022

Programme 2022

KEYNOTE WITH Q&A: A Human Face for Trade: Human rights and global trade

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Democratic values build the foundation of the transatlantic security and trade partnership. Internationally interconnected through global supply chains, the protection of human rights cannot end at transatlantic borders. How can the United States and the European Union speak up for human rights along their global lines of production amid rising tensions with Russia and China?

Portrait of Malin Oud.

Malin Oud

Head of Raoul Wallenberg Institute Stockholm & Team Leader Economic Globalisation and Human Rights

Portrait of Elisabeth Winter.


Elisabeth Winter

Programme Director, Global Markets and Social Justice, Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung (BKHS)

© Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung, Michael Zapf

PANEL 1: Transatlantic Trade for Good: Fighting Social Inequality

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Globalisation produces winners and losers everywhere. Social inequality and its economic and political consequences have become a major global and transatlantic societal challenge, marginalizing those already discriminated, polarizing societies, and eroding democratic institutions. How can transatlantic trade become a tool for socioeconomic inclusion in the European Union, the United States, and beyond? To what extent can transatlantic partners fight the imminent food crisis in the Global South? What trade policies put people first to foster prosperity for all?

Matt Duss

Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Madita Standke-Erdmann

Policy Advisor International Gender Equality, National Council of German Women’s Organizations

Portrait of Andreas Grimmel.


PD Dr. Andreas Grimmel

Research Director, Institute for European Integration, Europa-Kolleg Hamburg

PANEL 2: The Race for Technology: Building Resilient Transatlantic Trade Relations

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Transatlantic and Chinese economies are closely integrated, while their governments are engaging in an intensifying systemic rivalry. Having the edge on new technologies will be match-winning. What makes global supply chains resilient when facing interdependent great power competition? How can EU-US trade policies shield emerging technologies from the abuse by authoritarian governments but support legitimate trade and advancement in these technologies?

Portrait of Berend Diekmann.

Berend Diekmann

Head of Division for USA, Canada and Mexico, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection

Portrait of Adam S. Hersh.

Adam S. Hersh

Senior Economist, Economic Policy Institute, Washington, DC

James Lewis

SVP and Program Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Portrait of Tim Rühling.

Tim Rühlig

Research Fellow, German Council on Foreign Relations

© Andrea Vinson

Natalie Schnelle

Director, Global Government Affairs Business Development, SAP SE

© Daniel Lukac

Portrait of Julia Friedlander.


Julia Friedlander

CEO, Atlantik-Brücke e.V.

PANEL 3: Transatlantic Climate Action Needed: Trading for a Healthier Planet

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

To achieve the desired global climate mitigation results requires action on global trade: together with China, the US and the EU account for about half of global trade and CO2 emissions. What are potential transatlantic trade policy instruments to complement international efforts? Is it possible to reconcile short-time energy security with long-term sustainability? And how can a new transatlantic commitment to green trade make a global impact?

Portrait of Samatha Gross.

Samantha Gross

Director, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, Brookings Institution

© Tamzin Smith

W. Gyude Moore

Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development, former Minister of Works, Liberia

Andreas Weichert

Minister-Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada to Germany, Commercial & Economic Affairs 

Portrait of Markus Kotzur.


Prof. Dr. Markus Kotzur

President Europa-Kolleg Hamburg


Senate reception at Hamburg City Hall: Cities, International Dependences and Transatlantic Relations

7:00 PM

Port cities connect people and businesses all around the world, not just across the Atlantic. As the EU and its North American partners aim to make their global value chains more resilient, port cities are put in the spotlight; such as clearly demonstrated by the recent discussion about the sale of parts of one of the container terminals of the Hamburg harbour. We would like to discuss how cities on both sides of the Atlantic can contribute to make not only transatlantic but international trade more resilient.

Portrait of Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook.

Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook

Executive Vice President and Senior Advisor, Bertelsmann Foundation

FOTAR Scholarship

The future of transatlantic relations depends on the next generation of transatlanticists. Our FOTAR scholarship programme brings together a selected group of transatlantic leaders of tomorrow to engage in further discussions. The programme includes a masterclass with our 2022 keynote speaker Malin Oud, networking events and a virtual events series organized by the scholars in early spring 2023.

Meet our scholars:

US/EU-led climate and energy initiatives (US-EU TTC, Li-Bridge, Task Force on Energy Security, Supply Chain Ministerial) can drive more inclusive energy transitions.

Emily Burlinghaus
German Chancellor Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies

The EU-US partnership will define the global economy’s response to climate change - success hinges upon an unwavering commitment to cooperation in green investment.

Eric Maldonado
Doctoral Candidate, Universität Hamburg 

In order to successfully tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our democracies, EU and US must cooperate not compete. We need a Transatlantic transformation agenda!

Florian Kommer
Chief of Staff, Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Franziska Brantner
© Florian Reichelt

Reinvigorating a rules-based and multipurpose international trade order – both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Gesa Kübek
Dr. / Assistant Professor in European Law, University of Groningen, Netherlands

We need a trade partnership that goes beyond the idea of free trade and sets the labour and environmental trade standards of the 21st century. 

Manisha Reuter
Asia Programme Coordinator, European Council on Foreign Relations (© ECFR)

The EU and US must center green and sustainable development in their approaches to world trade, upholding global norms in the face of revisionist powers. 

Melina Nitschker
Research Assistant, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)

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