- October 15, 2018
On the evening of October 15, 2018, kicking off its fifth annual Berlin Transatlantic Forum, the Aspen Institute Germany held its first ever Oxford-style debate on the question of the global trade order. The debate around the assertion “The global trade order serves American and European democracies well” pit one German and one American on each side of the motion, each side arguing for audience support. Arguing for the motion were Michael J. Smart, former White House and Senate Trade Lead and Managing Partner, Rock Creek Global Advisors, and Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of Department External Economic Policy, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e. V. (Federation of German Industries). Arguing against were Maritta Strasser, Bundesgeschäftsführerin der NaturFreunde Deutschlands e.V. and Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research. During the four rounds of debate, moderated by Sumi Somaskanda, the two sides touched on a number of controversial trade issues including investor state dispute settlement, workers’ rights, wages, climate policy, GMOs, tariffs, services liberalization, transparency in negotiations of trade agreements and the role of China. Audience opinion changed little over the course of the debate with 84% in favor of the motion at the beginning and 81% in favor at the end. The event held at the Telefónica BASECAMP was attended by approximately 60 friends and active supporters of the Aspen Institute Germany.