The Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) was agreed in 1995 and was committed to cooperation in order to strengthen the multilateral trade system (i.e. the WTO), to further open markets for trade and investment worldwide and between the US and the EU. This economic side of the transatlantic cooperation received strong impetus because business created a Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) to emphasise their points on which they wanted to see progress. TABD was created in November 1995, was able to influence the New Transatlantic Agenda (December 1995) and had very early successes. In 1996, the TABD insisted that there would be an agreement on reducing tariffs on information technology and that practices and standards that delayed transport of goods at the borders ("trade facilitation", health and safety standards) would be removed.
The business community plays an important role through the Transatlantic Business Dialogue in activities. More than a thousand representatives of the European and American business communities met at conferences in Seville in 1995, Chicago in 1996, Rome in 1997 and Charlotte, USA, in 1998 and produced concrete recommendations. The last conference was held in Berlin in October 1999.
The Transatlantic Small Business Initiative (TASBI) was launched at the Chicago TABD Conference in November 1996. It is a joint EU-US programme focussing firstly on stimulating small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) from both sides of the Atlantic to form business alliances and partnerships, and secondly to develop database systems to assist SMEs to discover the economic environment in each region and to facilitate partnerships across the Atlantic.