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Trilateral Commission : What It Is & How Does It Work?


Trilateral commission : A non-governmental forum that brings together prominent citizens from North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific is known as the Trilateral Commission.

What Is the Trilateral commission and what does it do?

trilateral commission

It was founded in 1973 by American banker David Rockefeller and now has members from North America, Europe, and Japan, all of whom are private citizens.

The commission’s goal is to provide an open and global forum for countries in the three regions to discuss policy issues that affect them.

Distinguished leaders from business, finance, banking, academia, labour unions, non-profits, and various non-government organisations are among the group’s members.

The commission aims to promote open communication among its members in order to find solutions to social, economic, geopolitical, and globalisation issues.


• David Rockefeller established the Trilateral Commission in 1973 as a non-governmental organisation bringing together prominent citizens from Western Europe, North America, and Japan.

• People from other countries, including emerging market economies like India and China, are now part of the commission.

• The commission’s goal is to promote open communication among its members in order to find solutions to social, economic, and geopolitical issues.

• Leaders from business, finance, banking, academia, labour unions, non-profits, and various non-government organisations have been among the group’s members.

The Workings of the Trilateral Commission

Three regional chairs for Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific lead the Trilateral Commission.

There are several deputies and an executive committee for the regional chairs.

Every year, the entire membership gathers in a different location to discuss their strategies and organisational platform.

Throughout the year, regional and national meetings are held.

Washington, D.C., Paris, and Tokyo are the commission’s regional headquarters.

Only those who have been invited are allowed to join. Each regional group is in charge of selecting its members based on criteria established by the chairs and deputy chairs of the region.

Applicants must be nominated by an existing member and approved by the trustees and executive committee to join the American group.

Members who are accepted are appointed for six-year terms. The duration of membership varies by group, but a rotation policy ensures that new members can join each year.

Members came from all over the world, including Western Europe, North America, and Japan.

It has since grown to include people from countries other than the original three.

Members of the commission are also from emerging market economies.

75 members are from Europe, 120 from North America, and 120 from Asia-Pacific, out of a total of 415.

The Trilateral Commission’s History

The Trilateral Commission was founded in mid-1973 by American banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller to address the challenges posed by the growing interdependence between the United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a US international relations scholar who served as foreign affairs adviser to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B.

Johnson and later became national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, was the commission’s first director from 1973 to 1976.

The commission advocates for private enterprise, economic liberty, and better global problem-solving cooperation.

The agendas of the Trilateral Commission and the Group of Seven (G7) summits between the leaders of the world’s largest economies are in sync.

Members have held key positions in US administrations as well as other member countries’ governments.

The Trilateral Commission has been criticised

The existence of the commission has sparked debate. Some commission members’ political clout and affiliations with government entities are cited by critics as reasons to question the commission’s activities.

Critics claim that this influence aids the commission in promoting the world’s financial and political elite rather than the general public’s best interests.

To this criticism, the commission responds by stating that it is an independent organisation that is not affiliated with any government agency or the United Nations (UN).

The commission’s members may have ties to organisations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, and the Brookings Institution, but the commission does not have any formal ties with them.

Membership in the Trilateral Commission

In 2001, the Trilateral Commission expanded its regional structure to include economically smaller but developing countries.

Mexico, for example, was given a small number of members, as were countries in Asia-Pacific like Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.

China and India were the first countries to be admitted in 2011.

There are 120 members from North America (20 Canadian, 13 Mexican, and 87 U.S. members).

With 170 members from almost every country on the continent, the European group has reached its maximum size.

Germany has a quota of 20, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have quotas of 18, and Spain has a quota of 12.

The remaining nations range in size from one to six.

At first, only Japan represented Asia and Oceania. However, in 2000, the 85-member Japanese group grew to become the Pacific Asian group (changing its name again in 2012 to the Asia-Pacific group).

Over 100 people from Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, the ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand), India, and the People’s Republic of China are members of the group.

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