Charles H. Blum
For 40 years as a diplomat, trade negotiator, and Washington consultant, Charles H. Blum has played an innovative role in American trade and competitiveness issues. He brings intellectual rigor, political acumen, and a sound understanding of law and economics to the solution of public policy problems.
Mr. Blum has served as President of International Advisory Services Group since its founding in 1988. A leading boutique consultancy in the trade and competitiveness area, IAS has a proven track record of problem-solving in steel trade, the use of trade laws and international negotiations, and coalition-building. By conducting a series of town hall meetings and crafting a comprehensive policy proposal, IAS helped decisively shape the steel policy of President George H. W. Bush. These efforts won an award from the American Society of Association Executives in 1989. Ten years later, IAS organized a small coalition to defeat a WTO-inconsistent steel import quota bill that had seemed headed for certain passage in the U.S. Senate. In recent years, IAS has played a leading role in developing a policy response to China’s emergence as an industrial power. Mr. Blum secured the endorsement of the National Association of Manufacturers for legislation to apply the countervailing duty law to non-market economies, helped fashion NAM’s first-ever China trade policy, and for the past six years has worked tirelessly for an effective response to the misalignment of the Chinese and other currencies. Mr. Blum helped to found and lead the Fair Currency Coalition. He played a leading role in developing the legal case on currency manipulation, devising a remedy under U.S. trade laws, and expanding its membership.
With the aim of fundamentally reorienting America’s trade and domestic policies, Mr. Blum has taken the lead in the formation of the Coalition for a Prosperous America. The CPA unites domestic farmers, ranchers, workers and manufacturers behind an agenda of fundamental reform of US policy on currency misalignment, taxation, and other key issues impacting international competitiveness. Mr. Blum serves as CPA’s government affairs advisor and as executive director of the CPA Education Fund’s Issues Forum.
Earlier, Mr. Blum had a 17-year career in the U.S. Government as a diplomat in the State Department and a trade negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, rising to the rank of Assistant USTR for Industrial Trade Policy (1983-5) and for Multilateral Negotiations (1985-8). During his public service, Mr. Blum became recognized as expert on the U.S. and global steel industries. He played a key role in establishing the steel trigger price mechanism, an anti-dumping monitoring system in place from 1978 until 1981. For his work on steel issues, he received the Department’s Superior Honor Award in 1979. As AUSTR for Industry, he designed the voluntary restraint program (VRA) and other import programs, concluded more than 20 international agreements, represented the U.S. at more than a dozen meetings of the OECD Steel Committee, and developed the concept of the multilateral steel agreement (MSA). As AUSTR for the Multilateral Trade Negotiations (1985-88), Mr. Blum helped launch the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations. He represented the U.S. at meetings of the preparatory committees, participated in the ministerial meeting in Punta del Este, carried out an extensive global public diplomacy campaign, and helped construct the coalition of developed and developing countries to support a more rigorous WTO system. In both AUSTR positions, Mr. Blum worked closely with industry groups, private sector advisory committees, and Congressional staff.
Mr. Blum has prepared or delivered testimony on a range of trade and competitiveness issues to: the Senate Finance and Banking Committees; the House Small Business and Ways and Means Committees; the Joint Economic Committee; the Congressional Steel Caucus; the Northeast/Midwest Coalition; the Department of Commerce; the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee; and the US International Trade Commission.
Mr. Blum maintains close relations with a wide range of industry groups and frequently is called upon to address them on public policy issues. He has spoken at town hall meetings in Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington State and at a number of international metallurgical conferences in the US, China, and Brazil. Mr. Blum also has extensive contacts in the media and has appeared on ABC Evening News, CNN, C-Span, a number of regional radio programs, and television stations in Hungary, Indonesia, Singapore, and Uruguay.
Mr. Blum earned a B.A., magna cum laude, in history from Eastern College (now Eastern University) in 1966 and a M.A. in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. At Penn, he completed all requirements for a Ph.D. except the dissertation. He also studied at the University of the Americas in Mexico and graduated with distinction from the State Department’s intensive economics training course.