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Founded in 1973 with the support of David Rockefeller and other notable private citizens, the Trilateral Commission has sought to create a forum for substantive contact between corporate and other social leaders concerned with more closely aligning business and governmental actions in three regions of the world. The Commission hosts an annual meeting and also publishes studies and reports (Triangle Papers) that cover a wide range of topics.

The Commission is one of a number of major organizations whose members influence public policy discussion and formulation, especially in terms of international affairs. Trilateral refers to the three major geographic areas of democracy and wealth: Pacific Asia (particularly Japan), Europe (especially the European Union countries), and North America (the United States and Canada, with Mexico recently added).

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