The June 18 obituary for former American Express executive Harry L. Freeman should have noted his leadership role during the multilateral trade negotiations known as the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
While at American Express and after he left the company in 1990, Mr. Freeman headed a coalition of American corporations that had an impact on U.S. government policy and international trade policy.
Mr. Freeman was a crucial figure in the movement to persuade members of Congress and the executive branch to include services — “travel, education, business services, financial and banking services,” as he once defined them — in trade negotiations.
Previously, agricultural products and manufactured goods dominated the discussion in trade talks. In addition, few saw the service sector, whether accounting firms, banks or food-service companies, as providing exports in the traditional sense.
During the Uruguay Round, Mr. Freeman was credited with helping spur significant agreements to address service-industry concerns in the international marketplace. “He put services on the map and was indefatigable about it,” said Joan E. Spero, a former American Express executive who served as Bill Clinton’s undersecretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs.