The launching of the Transatlantic Environment Dialogue (TAED) is in response to bilateral governmental initiatives under the EU-US New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA). The NTA was signed by the EU and US government in 1995 to further co-operation and integration between the two. One of four major goals of NRA underlines that "building bridges across the Atlantic to bring together business people, scientists, educators, and others to improve communication and to ensure that future generations remain committed to developing a full and equal partnership." A series of people-to-people civil society dialogues including those for business (TABD) and consumers (TACD) have developed and now the TAED.
In December 1999, in Washington, USA, environment leaders from the U.S. and European Union presented transatlantic environmental policy priorities directly to President Clinton, European Commission President Prodi and Finnish President Ahtisaari as part of the biannual U.S.-EU Summit. The environmental representatives were joined by consumer group advocates, marking the first time that citizen groups beyond business have been included in the biannual transatlantic summits. Mark Van Putten, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, and John Hontelez, Secretary-General of the European Environmental Bureau (the largest environmental federation in Europe), represented the Transatlantic Environment Dialogue (TAED) in the Summit meeting and urged the heads-of-state to take action to address issues relating to climate change, trade, agriculture, biodiversity and industry. The TAED was established in early 1999 to incorporate environment and sustainable development principles into all aspects of transatlantic policy.
Trade and investment negotiations and policy positions should promote economic development in the European Union and the United States in a manner which respects environmental limits, preserves and enhances biodiversity, protects human, animal and plant life, provides social justice and equity, and maintains cultural diversity. At minimum, a thorough application of the polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle should be incorporated into all trade negotiation and cooperation sectors.