Between 1967-2016, the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT) was a U.S. trade body representing U.S.-based international business enterprises from the principal sectors of the U.S. economy..
In its heydey, ECAT was one of the most powerful of all trade representation bodies for the private sector in the United States alongside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In that context, ECAT played a significant role in international negotiations.
Most ECAT staff were former trade diplomats at the USTR, which is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
In 2016, ECAT dissolved. The former ECAT website is possible to view on archive.org.
ECAT was founded in 1967 by a consortium of American CEOs, who were interested in forwarding free trade and in curbing the trend towards protectionism in U.S. political circles.
Arthur Watson, CEO of IBM was the founding President of ECAT. Watson was joined by a group of U.S. CEOs including David Rockefeller (Chase Manhatten Bank), George Moor (First City National Bank), William Hewitt (Deere & Co), Robert Ingersoll (Borg-Warner Corp), James Linen (Time Inc.), David Packard ([[Hewlett-Packard ¨¨ co.), Peter Peterson (Bell & Howell Co), Rudoph Peterson (Bank of America) John Powers Jr. (Chas. Pfizer & co., Inc), James Roche (General Moters Corp), Thomas Taylor (International Packers, Ltd.), Charles B. Thornton (Litton Industries, Inc.), Joseph Wilson (Xerox Corp), William Allen (Boeing), George Ball (Lehman Brothers International), William Blackey (Caterpillar Tractor Co.), Hal Dean (Ralston Purina Co.), Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company), J. Peter Grace (W.R. Grace and Co.) and Patrick Haggerty (Texas Instruments Inc.).
On July 24, 1968, Rep. Windnall (R-NJ) published a statement from Mr. Rockfeller in the Congressional Record, "Compete or Retreat: Speech of David Rockefeller to the Southern Governors Conference", in which Rockefeller explained why ECAT has been founded, and its philosophy and early work on trade policy and import quotas.
In December 2016, ECAT President Calman Cohen stated that ECAT would dissolve on his retirement.
The mandate of ECAT was to promote economic growth through the expansion of international trade and investment".
At the WTO, ECAT was active during the Kennedy, Tokyo, and Uruguay trade negotiation "Rounds" as well as providing inputs to Doha Round negotiations.
ECAT was very active in bilateral and regional negotiations of the United States, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas treaty (FTAA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) negotiations. ECAT was also active in negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP).
In recent decades, ECAT has not published their membership lists.
In 2015, an ECAT press-release stated that, "ECAT is an organization of the heads of leading U.S. international business enterprises representing all major sectors of the American economy, with annual worldwide sales exceeding $2.7 trillion and with employment exceeding 6.5 million workers."
Mr. Harold "Terry" McGraw III, the Chairman of ECAT for 2008-2020, is also chairman of the board of McGraw Hill Financial and Chairman of the Executive Board of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
ECAT provided a trade outreach program for the private sector, and represents the U.S. business community before Congressional committees. It provides the private sector with facilitated contact with members of Congress and Administration officials.
ECAT routinely made inputs to House and Senate hearings on trade and investment affairs.
ECAT had many links to senior Congressional staff, notably to the Senate Finance Committee.
The Agenda for ECAT addressed all facets of U.S. Trade.
In 1969, ECAT gained exempt status, and filed as a 501(c)(6) organization.
The President of ECAT at the time of closure was Calman Cohen. In 2015, the Sunlight Foundation sait that "Cohen, who joined in 1981 after working as the congressional liaison at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the government organization charged with negotiating trade agreements to create "higher living standards for families, farmers, manufacturers, workers, consumers, and businesses." Pushing those policies has certainly raised Cohen's living standard. ECAT's most recent disclosure with the Internal Revenue Service showed his salary was $415,000 a year, or $15,000 more than President Barack Obama makes."
In December 2016, ECAT President Calman Cohen stated that ECAT would dissolve on his retirement, stating, *"With the change in the leadership of our country about to take place and after several decades of addressing issues of critical importance to our country, I believe the time is right for me to begin that new chapter in my life," Cohen said in a statement to Inside U.S. Trade.". Calman noted that "The Emergency Committee for American Trade's mission remains as important as ever," he added. "The Committee was established by a number of U.S. business leaders at a time when the rise of protectionism threatened a worldwide trade war.""