CLINTON STACK, U.S. TEXTILE TRADE EXPERT, DIES AT 55
Byline: Jim Ostroff
WASHINGTON — Clinton Stack, an architect of U.S. textile trade policy and an adviser to importers, retailers and foreign governments, died Friday.
Stack, 55, president and chief executive officer of International Development Systems Inc., here, apparently sustained a heart attack, an IDS spokesman said Saturday.
He was acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost experts on international textile trade, including the complex workings of the World Trade Organizations’s Agreement on Clothing and Textiles.
An economist, Stack joined the American Textile Manufacturers Institute in 1963 as assistant director of its international trade division. In 1966, he became part of the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel where he was instrumental in drafting extensions to the long-term agreement under which the U.S. set quotas to limit the importation of textiles and apparel. He was one of the architects of the 1974 Multi-Fiber Arrangement, which regulated U.S. textile and apparel imports from all major suppliers worldwide.
After Stack’s departure from Commerce, he worked for about two years as an economist with the American Textile Manufacturers Institute.
Subsequently, he worked for International Business Economic Research Co., where he developed the first non-government system to monitor textile and apparel imports.
Stack founded IDS in 1986 to provide similar import research to retailers and importers, as well as counsel them on U.S. import policies. The firm also advised many of the world’s leading textile and apparel exporting nations in Asia, Central America, Europe and Africa in their negotiations with the U.S. on textile quotas and disputes.
Stack was an adviser to 14 nations in cases they brought against the U.S. at the WTO since 1995, winning 13, with one case pending.
A glib man given to humor, he was often a featured speaker at textile industry seminars and trade meetings.
Though also one of the prime movers in the effort to eliminate the MFA over 10 years beginning in 1995, Stack’s advice was sought out by domestic makers as well.
“He will be missed by everyone,” said Rita Hayes, the U.S. chief textile negotiator and textile ambassador.
“Although at times we were on different sides of the issue, I had great respect for him,” Hayes said Saturday.
“Clint’s loss is incalculable, as there was no one to rival his expertise, his knowledge of the nuances of the textile program,” said Julia K. Hughes, government relations vice president for the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel.
“But, as someone who helped to create the program, he also was committed to making sure it worked as it should until it is phased out” on Jan. 1, 2005, Hughes said.
Phyllis Bonanno, Warnaco’s international trade vice president, said Stack “single-handedly turned the textile tide by making people realize that protectionism is not the way to grow the industry.”
In particular, Bonanno said that the WTO “wins in Geneva for Costa Rica and India were the culmination of Clint’s career, because these proved what he said for years: If the U.S. textile program is held up for review before an impartial panel, many problems will become apparent.”
An IDS spokesman said the firm will continue in business.
Stack is survived by his parents, Helen and Howard Stack of Rockville, Md., a son, Clinton Edward, two daughters, Kristan and Kathleen Elena, four brothers and two sisters. Funeral arrangements were pending at press time.