One Trade, Two Trade, We Trade, Free Trade

By Lian Mlodzienski
News Editor

ESU’s Lehigh Valley Center will be hosting a roundtable discussion entitled “US-EU Trade Agreement Negotiations: Truths and Myths.” This discussion will take place on Thursday, October 23, at 6:00 PM at the Lehigh Valley Center, located at 60 West Broad Street in Bethlehem.

It is a free event and open to the public. Those who are interested in attending are encouraged to register online at, as the maximum capacity for the event is 300 people.

Dr. Christopher Brooks, ESU associate professor of history, organized this hour-long discussion that will be moderated by Dr. Sheila Handy, ESU professor and chair of business management.

The panelists for this discussion will be Lindi von Mutius, executive director of the German-American Chamber of Commerce; Tony Silberfeld, director of Transatlantic Relations for the Bertelsmann Foundation, the largest private operating non-profit foundation in Germany; Ralf Wiedemann, Esq., an associate of Montgomery McCracken and a member of the firm’s Immigration and Nationality practice in Philadelphia; and ESU’s Dr. Brooks and Dr. Johan Eliasson, associate professor of political science.

Currently, the negotiations underway between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) are meant to establish a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), also known as a free trade agreement.

A free trade agreement is similar to a treaty between two or more countries, which establishes a free trade area where commerce in goods and services can be conducted across common borders without any external taxes.

There are rules and regulations in free trade agreements that are determined by the participating countries. Sometimes, free trade agreements are created to try to support economic growth.

An agreement between the U.S. and the EU, if approved, could possibly lead to an increase of $100 billion per year as additional trade. It could also allow for the creation of over 600 thousand new jobs in the U.S.

A disadvantage of this agreement, if it passes, is that it could weaken strong standards for chemical management that are currently in effect.

“After managing a small business in the European Union (EU) for several years, I became increasingly familiar with what Americans can learn from the EU and vice versa,” said Brooks in a press release.

He continued, “Indeed, our history of trade with European markets dates back centuries. So, when I started reading about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership about two years ago, I immediately realized just how important this could be for our university, our region, and our nation.”

“I thought this panel discussion would be a great way for university colleagues and others to partner and provide good information to business owners, investors, and the general public about the challenges and opportunities that this agreement could present,” Brooks added.

For more information, please contact Dr. Brooks at 570-422-3913.

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