World Affairs Council of Orange County
British American Business Council
Consul General Panel:
The Honorable Chris O’Connor,
Consul General of Britain
The Honorable Dr. Bernd Fischer,
Consul General of Germany
Moderator: Mark Chapin-Johnson
“Consul General Panel – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)”
In the past two decades the world has seen a push towards free trade agreements between nations and economic blocs. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) aims to expand the already massive trade relationship between the US and the European Union. Its proponents argue that the new trade agreement’s elimination of tariffs and reduction of differences in regulations and standards will boost both economies by as much as $301 billion a year. Both economies already maintain the largest investment relationship in the world at over $3.7 trillion.
What are the biggest challenges facing this agreement? What are the projected gains for various industries in the US and EU? How can the US and the EU successfully coordinate their divergent regulations on health standards and the environment? How should the parties respond to popular protests against the agreement? Two distinguished Consuls General will address these issues at a panel discussion at an upcoming WACOC dinner program.
British Consul General Chris O’Connor
Chris O’Connor most recently served as the UK’s Ambassador to Tunisia from November 2008 to June 2013. He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1993. Since then he’s been posted in Cairo, Riyadh, Brussels, Ottawa, Beirut and Tunis. He also worked at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office headquarters in London.
In London he worked on Southern European issues, United Nations issues and as Head of the Middle East Peace Process Team from 2004-2005.
In the Middle East/North Africa region he was posted in Cairo (1995-96) as Attache, with the purpose of learning Arabic, Riyadh as Second Secretary (1996-1999) and Beirut as Deputy Head of Mission (2006-2008). Outside of the region he worked at the UK delegation to NATO, where he focused on Kosovo issues and as Head of Political Section in Ottawa (2000-2003). Chris also had the opportunity to work on secondment to the Canadian Department for Foreign Affairs (1999-2000).
Chris is married to Martha Nelems who is Canadian. They have two daughters. He spends most of his leisure time enjoying their company, but he also plays tennis and snooker when the opportunity arises and enjoys a range of other sports.
German Consul General Dr. Bernd Fischer
Dr. Bernd Fischer, who holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from Heidelberg University and most recently served as German Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, has been head of the German Consulate General in Los Angeles since July 10, 2012. Prior posts of his Foreign Service career include the embassies in Washington, Tokyo, New York and various positions at the German Foreign Office headquarters in Bonn and Berlin. As Consul General in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah he seeks to foster and deepen German-American relations.
Date: Thursday, June 12, 2014