Transatlantic Business Dialogue announces 2004-5 co-chairs

The Coca-Cola Company's Douglas N. Daft and Unilever's Niall FitzGerald will lead revitalised TABD.

Brussels & Washington, DC:  Niall FitzGerald, co-chairman and CEO, Unilever and Douglas N. Daft, chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company, will be the new co-chairs of the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) and will hold their tenure until the end of 2005.

After a period in which governments and business on both sides of the Atlantic have reflected on the future of the TABD, Unilever and Coca-Cola are to lead its efforts to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and foster global economic cooperation and development. The TABD’s activities will have a new focus and will be built on the participation of a core group of CEOs from companies from both the services and manufacturing sectors.

FitzGerald said: "The quality and experience of the people who are committing themselves to this initiative signal a renewed dedication to strengthening transatlantic partnerships. We cannot take transatlantic economic ties for granted and shall play our part in identifying common global challenges and recommending appropriate responses through the direct participation of our member companies’ chief executives."

"It is crucial that the TABD maintains the momentum behind the multilateral approach to the trade agenda. We will encourage the EU and the US to adopt convergent rather than divergent policy approaches to important financial and economic issues so as to avoid obstacles to proper conduct of transatlantic business," he added.

Daft and FitzGerald are in the process of bringing together a ‘business advisory board’ consisting of CEOs from European and US companies across a range of business sectors which will meet for the first time in January.

"The TABD certainly will make a difference by helping improve transatlantic relations and identifying and working for the elimination of trade barriers and other obstacles between the US and the EU that inhibit economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic and needlessly raise costs to consumers", said Daft.

Daft and FitzGerald assumed their commitments after the US Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, European Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy and European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen all gave their strong support and commitment to the TABD process.

Notes to editors:

Since 1995, the TABD has played a crucial role in fostering the exchange of ideas and promoting constructive solutions in US-EU issues. The TABD will under its new leadership pursue a core agenda within a new structure and operating model that will allow business to play an effective and influential role in strengthening transatlantic relations. The TABD will proactively identify upcoming challenges and give concrete high-level business input to the EU-US government leadership. The TABD will aim for a re-invigorated transatlantic alliance to foster global economic cooperation and development.

The following companies have committed to being TABD members, and a number of other companies are expected to do the same in the near future.

The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, The Estée Lauder Companies, UPS, FedEx, Ernst & Young, Merck, Arcelor, BASF, Deutsche Bank, Ericcson, Lafarge, Renault, Repsol, SEB and Shell.


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