Ambassador Michael A. Samuels, Ph.D. is founder and president of Samuels International Associates, Inc. (SIA), an international business consulting firm that specializes in international trade and public affairs. He is a known specialist on Washington's international trade and foreign policies and on the World Trade Organization (WTO). His personal consulting activities have included advising governments, regional trade organizations, corporations and multilateral institutions on policy, strategy, and technical aspects of international trade negotiations and trade reform and conducting Trade Policy Reviews on behalf of the WTO Secretariat. He has provided trade-related technical assistance in some developing countries. He has advised governments and many companies from Asia, Africa, Central America and the United States. Ambassador Samuels has served as Deputy United States Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the GATT in Geneva. He has also served as U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, as well as having held other positions in the U.S. Department of State. His non-governmental experience includes: Executive Director for Third World Studies and Director for Africa Programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, International Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Senior Vice President of Hill and Knowlton, Inc. Ambassador Samuels is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the board of directors of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the Global Business Dialogue (GBD), the Cordell Hull Institute and the Harold Rosenthal Fellowship Program. Ambassador Samuels holds a Ph.D. in African History from Columbia University and a B.A. from Yale University . He has authored a large number of books and articles on world trade, foreign policy, African countries and issues, and third world issues.
Andrew G. Durant, Managing Director, was a former Vice President at both Hill and Knowlton, Inc., and the Government Research Corporation (GRC). Mr. Durant has extensive experience in international trade and business matters, particularly those affecting the Pacific Rim. Prior to entering private practice, he worked on Capitol Hill for Members who served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. Mr. Durant has written extensively on the US-Japan economic relationship, economic interests in Vietnam and Burma, and on the financial crisis for the Economist magazine, published by Mainichi. He works in Washington on matters related to the environment, international trade and business and helps clients address problems and opportunities throughout Asia.
He served as Senior Advisor for International Trade to Capital Insights Group, a private company that provides advice to the international and domestic investment community. Mr. Durant also served on the advisory boards of the Association for Interactive Media and the Japan Information Access Project. Mr. Durant is a graduate of James Madison University.
Lawrence S. Julihn, Senior Vice President, has lived in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America and has traveled professionally in Asia, the Mediterranean and Africa. A former career military officer, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a security policy specialist and represented DOD on matters involving military base negotiations, UN peacekeeping, treaty implementation and humanitarian assistance operations. He has experience working in West and Southern Africa, is active in Africa-related policy fora in Washington, and coordinates U.S. government affairs services - including security cooperation and economic assistance - and other Washington activities for a range of international government and private sector clients.
He was Chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa Security Sub-Committee that prepared private sector recommendations for the incoming U.S. Administration in 2009. He is also an active member of the board of the U.S.-Angola Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Julihn is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Brazilian Naval War College and holds an MA in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He is fluent in Portuguese.
Keiko Nishimoto, Senior Vice President, has for the past 25 years specialized in conducting business research and facilitating communication and commercial transactions between the United States and Japan. She has consulted on labor issues and fostered good community relations for Japanese transplants. With expertise in the field of transportation, her varied achievements include sales of equipment to the Washington Metro. Mrs. Nishimoto previously served as a coordinator/consultant to the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project for the U.S. DOT, Amtrak and the Japanese National Railways. A graduate of the University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo, she studied Japanese literature and language at the post-graduate level. On November 3rd, 2006, she had an honor of receiving the Emperor’s medal of The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in Japan.
Christopher Nelson, Senior Vice President, has been a professional journalist and Capitol Hill foreign affairs analyst with Washington experience since 1966. On Capitol Hill, Mr. Nelson specialized in U.S.-China relations during the Carter Administration's normalization process. Following service on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, and as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, since 1983, Mr. Nelson has produced daily briefings for Asia-focused international business and government clients on the politics of trade, and legislative and policy developments of concern to the business and diplomatic communities. Specific services have included fact-finding studies throughout the U.S. for international steel, automotive and government clients. A 1967 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with post graduate work on Africa and Asia at McGill University, Montreal, Mr. Nelson is also an author and consultant on the U.S. Civil War.
Sourabh Gupta, Senior Research Associate, provides analytical support to the firm's principals and advisory support to clients. His areas of analysis cover: US-India, China-India and Japan-India bilateral relationships; political, security and economic risk evaluation of key states in the Asia/Asia-Pacific region; coverage of the World Trade Organization and Asia-Pacific trade policy, politics and negotiations; analysis of developments in Asian economic and financial regionalism, and macroeconomic analysis of Indian economic and trade policy. Prior to joining SIA, he worked briefly as a Research Analyst for the Investor Responsibility Research Center, Washington, D.C. He holds master’s degrees in international security studies and international relations from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University, respectively. Prior academic stints include a bachelor’s degree from the University of Bombay, India and a program of study abroad at the International University of Japan (IUJ) in Niigata, Japan.
Piet Steel, Senior Consultant, specializes in diplomatic and business affairs in the EU, Hong Kong, Japan and Vietnam. Mr. Steel began his career in the Belgian foreign service, and has a long experience with European affairs and international trade negotiations. He was Head of Cabinet of the Belgian State Secretary for European Affairs (1982-85) and was Belgium's
Chief Negotiator at the GATT (WTO) in Geneva during the Uruguay Round. Mr. Steel then went on to serve his country as its first Ambassador to Vietnam (1990-93) and Consul-General in Hong Kong (1993-1997) in the run-up to the handover.
Returning to Europe, he left government service and became Director of Public Affairs for chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturer Solvay (1997-2005). Mr. Steel then worked as the Vice President for External Affairs for Toyota Motors Europe, overseeing its government and public affairs through the European Union, before leaving in 2011 to start Piet Steel International in Brussels. A holder of various Belgian and international awards, Mr. Steel holds a law degree from the University of Gent, Mr. Steel serves as Honorary Consul General of Japan for Flanders (Belgium) and is a Board Member and Vice President of the EU-Asia Centre, a think tank dedicated to promoting closer relations between the EU and Asia. In addition, he serves as an advisor to various corporate boards.
Hunter Hale, Senior Consultant, specializes in supply chain management and operations strategy. A graduate of the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business and the University of Virginia, Mr. Hale has worked in senior positions at Amazon.com and Toyota: widely heralded as two of the world's best run companies. For Amazon.com, he was most recently responsible for the company's only on-demand book and media manufacturing operation in the United States. Prior to returning to the US, Mr. Hale managed process engineering and facilities engineering teams in a network of three Amazon.com fulfillment centers in China, as well as leading a cross-functional team that opened a 430,000 square foot operations center in Beijing. Before working in China, Mr. Hale spent three years with Amazon Japan, where he started the Six Sigma Black Belt, Green Belt and Lean Kaizen programs, leading over a dozen Green Belt and Kaizen projects within the company. Mr. Hale worked in the Systems and Logistics Planning Group of Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. While at Toyota, he managed the development of the company's first global standards for Just-In-Time service parts logistics, supported inventory control and warehousing improvements through on-site consultations around the globe, including leading extensive training and the introduction and customization of inventory control software. A Six Sigma Black Belt, Mr. Hale studied at the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto and is fluent in Japanese.
Josephine S. (Jo) Cooper, Senior Consultant, specializes in energy, environmental and regulatory advocacy and communications. From 2004-2010, Ms. Cooper served as Group Vice President, public policy and government/industry affairs for Toyota North America. She was instrumental in achievement of the industry's "one national program" for vehicle fuel economy standards for 2010-2016. An experienced crisis communications veteran, Ms. Cooper managed the company's Washington response to the vehicle safety challenges experienced by Toyota.
Prior to joining Toyota in 2004, Ms. Cooper served for five years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a coalition of car and light truck manufacturers dedicated to improving vehicle safety and environmental progress.
Ms. Cooper has served in leadership positions at two other prominent trade associations. From 1992 to 1999, Ms. Cooper was Vice President for regulatory affairs at the American Forest & Paper Association, where she managed public policy issues relating to environment, health and safety, energy, transportation, employee relations and the association's human resources program. Previously, as senior vice president at the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, Ms. Cooper was chief operating officer managing policy development for 25 affiliated chemical trade associations.
Ms. Cooper's broad policy expertise in energy and environmental issues springs from her experience in working on Capitol Hill and in a federal agency. At the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she served as assistant administrator for external affairs. She also worked for Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker on the Environment and Public Works Committee and for then-Congressman Richard Cheney on a host of public policy issues.
Ms. Cooper serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, including the Board of Visitors for Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the Board of Directors of WashingtonFirst Bank. Ms. Cooper served as president of the Organization International des Constructeurs d'Automobiles (OICA), the international association of motor vehicle manufacturers headquartered in Paris.
R.K Morris is the president and founder of the Global Business Dialogue (GBD), a 21st Century association for the Global Business Community. Launched in the spring of 2000, GBD welcomes members from businesses and business associations, governments and individuals throughout the world. Its mission is to make the views of the global business community more prominent in the trade and investment policy discussions that occur in Washington, Geneva, and elsewhere. From its first day, GBD has shared office space with Samuels International Associates, Inc. Further information about the Global Business Dialogue is available on the GBD websites, www.gbdinc.org and www.ttalk.biz.
Though an American citizen, Mr. Morris began his trade policy career in Washington in 1974 as a Commercial Officer in the Trade Policy Section of the British Embassy in Washington.
From 1980 to 1995, Mr. Morris was the Director and later Senior Policy Director for International Trade at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). In that capacity, he was responsible for assisting NAM members in shaping the trade policy of the NAM during a period characterized by the completion of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, and the Uruguay Round; by several years of severe tension in the U.S.-Japan relationship; and by intermittent crises over the maintenance of normal trade with China. Also during his NAM years, Mr. Morris established the NAM Trade Forum. This was a regular seminar series, which he ran for 11 years. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Morris served as the Director for International Relations at AMP, Incorporated, then the largest producer of electrical and electronic connectors in the world, with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. In April 1999, AMP was acquired by Tyco International. In December 1999, Mr. Morris organized a four-day conference, the Seattle Business Dialogue, which was held in tandem with the WTO Seattle Ministerial. The Global Business Dialogue has organized similar events at the subsequent WTO’s Ministerials in Doha, Cancún, and Hong Kong.
Mr. Morris is a native of Middletown, Connecticut. He served in a US Army Medical Unit in Vietnam, and is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.
Julia K. Hughes is the President of International Development Systems, Inc. IDS is a Washington D.C.-based consulting firm that specializes in textile and apparel trade policy issues. IDS provides strategic analysis and technical statistical data for companies and international organizations that import, export and manufacture textile and apparel products.
Ms. Hughes is a recognized expert on textile and apparel trade policy issues. She has testified before Congress and the Executive Branch on textile trade issues. She also is a frequent speaker at international conferences, including MAGIC, the Apparel Sourcing Show, the WWD Sourcing Summit, Foreign Service Institute, Foreign Trade Association, National Association of Manufacturers, Cotton Sourcing Summit, USIA’s Worldnet, the International Textiles and Clothing Bureau, Society for International Development and others. Media appearances include interviews on CNN, CNBC, CBS News, Voice of America as well as quotes in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Women’s Wear Daily and other publications.
In addition, Ms. Hughes serves as Senior Vice President for the United States Association of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA). In that role, Ms. Hughes is a leader in developing new strategies for the future of sourcing textiles and apparel. Prior to taking over IDS, Ms. Hughes was Divisional Vice President of Government Relations for the Associated Merchandising Corporation (AMC). AMC is the largest retail merchandising, marketing and consulting organization in the world.
Ms. Hughes also served as the first President of the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) and is one of the founders of the Washington Chapter of Women in International Trade (WIIT). In 1992, she received the Outstanding Woman in International Trade award. In 2008, she received the WIIT Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ms. Hughes has an M.A. in International Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Kim K. Nguyen has extensive knowledge in international economic and financial modeling across several key industries including semiconductors, e-commerce, airlines and chemicals. He also has a solid background in revenue management and dynamic pricing solutions. Mr. Nguyen was formerly the General Manager for a web-based travel firm, manager for Intel Corporation, Borden Corporation, and Continental Airlines. Mr. Nguyen received his MBA from Georgetown University and MA/BA (Asian Studies/History) from Cornell University. He is fluent in Vietnamese and French.
Tran Vu Hoai, Senior Consultant, is a Vietnamese national who received his MBA from Harvard University as one of his country’s first Fulbright Scholars. Upon returning to Vietnam in 1994, Hoai co-formed and managed Galaxy Communications for over 7 years, leading it to become the largest public and government relations firm in Vietnam. Clients include Intel, Microsoft, Unilever, Citibank, HP, Heineken, the AES Corporation, and many more. Galaxy also expanded, investing in and managing Galaxy Studio, a leading media and entertainment company in Vietnam, producing and distributing movies as well as developing and operating movie theaters. Simultaneously, Hoai has served as the Vice President of Unilever Vietnam for nearly 8 years now, in charge of its corporate relations. He is a founding member of the Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Samuels International Associates celebrated its 20th Anniversary in March 2011. The event took place at the Metropolitan Club and many of our colleagues, collaborators, vendors, former employees joined us.