The Commission was originally created in 1973 to bring together experienced leaders within the private sector to discuss issues of global concern at a time when communication and cooperation between Europe, North America, and Asia were lacking. The Commission has grown since its early days to include members from more countries in these regions, and it continues to find that study and dialogue about the pressing problems facing our planet remain as important today as in 1973. Problems and threats have changed, but their importance has only increased due to the more interconnected and interdependent world in which we now live.
Although it is a small group, and meet only a few times each year, is sees great value in a web site that offers scholars, researchers, and the general public access to our proceedings and the major reports submitted during our meetings. It also offers links to the writings of our membership and their individual views on issues of concern (see In the News and News Archive), and they provide some basic information about the Commission, its history, and activities.
Among the newer features of its website are short video interviews with participants in Trilateral meetings. The first three sets of interviews were taped at the 2011 North American Regional Meeting in Toronto, the 2012 Annual Meeting in Tokyo, and the 2012 North American Regional Meeting in Washington. The topics of those interviews are relevant today. Click on these links to find the videos on the meeting program pages.
When the Trilateral Commission was first launched, the plan was for an equal number of members from each of the three regions. The numbers soon began to grow, and ceilings were imposed about 1980. These ceilings have been raised somewhat since then as new countries came to be represented in the groups.
The European Group includes members from Austria, Belgium/Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It now has a ceiling of 170 members which is divided into national quotas. Germany has a quota of 20; France, Italy, and the United Kingdom each have a quota of 18; and Spain has a quota of 12. The remaining national quotas range from 6 to 1.
The ceiling for the North American Group is 120, including 24 Canadian members, 13 Mexican members and 90 U.S. members.
The Japanese Group of 85 members expanded in 2000 to become the Pacific Asian Group and now includes over 100 members from Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the original five ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand), India, and the People’s Republic of China. Triennium Participants from Hong Kong and Taiwan have also participated. This group changed its name to Asia Pacific Group in 2012.
To help preserve the Commission’s unofficial character, members who take up positions in their national administration give up Trilateral Commission membership. New members are chosen on a national basis. The procedures used for rotation off and for invitation of new members vary from national group to national group. Three chairmen (one from each region), deputy chairmen, and directors constitute the leadership of the Trilateral Commission, along with an Executive Committee including 36 other members.
Membership in The Trilateral Commission is by invitation only. Click here to know who were last memberships in 2013