William Thomas Hart, a long-time and well-respected former staff member of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), died on Monday, May 28, 2012, in Washington, DC.
Mr. Hart served the USITC and its predecessor Tariff Commission for more than four decades, most recently as Executive and International Liaison. He was one of the last of a generation that contributed to the birth of an integrated world trading system.
Mr. Hart began his USITC service in 1948 as an international trade analyst in the Office of Industries, but he was soon assigned to the critically important area of tariff negotiations where he made some of his most significant contributions. Mr. Hart advised U.S. trade negotiators in nearly all of the principal rounds of multilateral negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), from the earliest rounds to the Uruguay Round, completed in 1994, as well as in bilateral negotiations leading to free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and Israel. When each agreement was completed, Mr. Hart and a small number of USITC colleagues undertook the immense task of drafting the tariff schedules for Congress to implement the negotiation results. Under very tight deadlines, he and his dedicated colleagues produced the thousands of pages of documentation required to record the United Statesí international tariff commitments and maintain the nationís tariff schedules.
Mr. Hartís expertise was sought by high-level U.S. trade officials and global business executives alike, and his achievements were recognized throughout his career. During his career, he was twice awarded the USITCís highest honor, The Commissionersí Award for Exceptional Service, a rare feat. But nowhere were his contributions more eloquently recognized than in a statement inserted into the Congressional Record at the time of his retirement in 1996 by the Honorable Sam Gibbons, the former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade. We will let Mr. Gibbonsí comments testify to the profound respect and gratitude the trade world felt for Mr. Hart.
Mr. Hartís accomplishments will live on in the future successes of the world trading system he loved and to which he gave the very best he had to contribute. We will remember him fondly, and with pride.