We are saddened to announce that Abraham Katz, USCIB’s president emeritus, passed away February 5 in New York, at age 86, following a short illness. Katz was an accomplished diplomat with a long career in the U.S. Foreign Service when he joined USCIB in 1984 as president, a post he held until his retirement in 1999.
“Abe Katz left an indelible mark on USCIB,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “With a keen grasp of trade and investment policy, and economic statecraft more broadly, he reinforced and expanded USCIB’s advocacy for open markets. In addition, he presided over an expansion of USCIB’s policy work into new areas, including environment and e-commerce, and the greater professionalization of our policy staff.”
In 1998, USCIB recognized Katz’s 14-year tenure by presenting him with the organization’s International Leadership Award.
Katz played a leading role in USCIB’s affiliated global business organizations. He was an active supporter of the International Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, as well as a long-serving member of the Employers Group of the ILO Governing Body. Even after he retired from USCIB, he remained closely engaged in our work and that of our global business network, culminating in his service as president of the International Organization of Employers from 2006 to 2008.
Under Katz’s leadership, USCIB contributed strong business input to a number of important achievements in international trade and economic policy, including the conclusion of the WTO’s Uruguay Round, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the OECD anti-bribery convention and the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
In a 34-year diplomatic career largely devoted to economic affairs and promotion of American business interests, Katz served as economic counselor in the Moscow embassy in the 1960s, and in Paris first as U.S. deputy chief of mission to the OECD, and then as U.S. representative to the OECD, a post that carried ambassadorial rank. He also served as assistant secretary of commerce for international economic policy.
“Those of us who had the opportunity to work with Abe appreciated his intellectual leadership, mastery of the trade and investment policy field, constant challenging of assumptions, personal support, and commitment to the organization,” stated USCIB’s Robinson.
Many words of admiration have come in to USCIB following Katz’s death. “He was as fair and open in his professional relations, including to those sitting on the other side of the table, as he was formidable in his knowledge and mastery of complex issues,” according to ILO Director General Guy Ryder.
“Abe Katz was a wise and effective voice for international trade during a time of unprecedented growth in our history,” said Richard D. McCormick, former CEO of U S West, Inc. and former chairman of USCIB.
“Abe distinguished himself in two careers,” stated Thomas Niles, former U.S. assistant secretary of state, who succeeded Katz as president of USCIB and currently serves as a USCIB vice chair. “A generation of Foreign Service officers-ud-736-UD-736, of whom I was one, benefited enormously from his mentoring and guidance.”
USCIB extends its deep condolences to Katz’s family, including his wife Marion. Funeral services are planned for February 8 at Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City. Donations in memory of Abraham Katz may be made to the UJA-Federation of New York by clicking here.