Relative to security issues, Transatlantic Economic Relations (TER) has been neglected by politicians and underexplored by academics and yet is of increasing importance. This article argues that TER is characterised by the mutual dysfunctionality of the political agenda and its institutional structure. The traditional narrow agenda, which has focused almost exclusively on reducing non-tariff trade barriers, is a principal reason for this. This article uses the case of industrial and labour relations to demonstrate that greater engagement with major stakeholders and broadening the political agenda are key to breaking the deadlock. The article also argues for institutional innovations that could in principle be transferred to other neglected policy areas of TER.