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Background

Joseph Blatchford, a former director of the Peace Corps, established his law practice in the field of international trade in 1977 representing many diverse foreign clients—among them flower growers in Costa Rica, cement and toy balloon producers in Mexico, leather handbag exporters in Colombia, school ring binder makers in Singapore, and petrochemicals firms in Argentina—to maintain and increase their exports to the U.S. market.

Recognizing the need for a strong lobbying arm as a part of his international trade practice, Mr. Blatchford joined a major law and lobbying firm and assisted clients, including many foreign governments, in obtaining U.S. economic and military assistance, in addition to maintaining U.S. markets for their products. He soon recognized that many of his clients were encountering negative press coverage and had paid little attention to the media. He realized that to maintain an open door for their exports and the flow of U.S. assistance from Congress it was necessary for them to get their message across through the media, whether it be about the quality of their products, their commitment to democracy, or their relations as allies of the U.S.

After disappointing experiences in hiring major PR firms with their attendant high costs, he decided that he could better service his clients by forming his own separate public affairs entity to coordinate the strategy with the media with the other work done by the lawyers and the lobbyists. These efforts brought tangible results for clients such as Peru, El Salvador, Chile and Egypt.

Now Summit is offering this expertise and experience to those who also need access to the media to get their messages across.

This year Summit Trade and Technology was formed to take advantage of opportunities in the explosive field of information technology. Summit, through its experiences and contacts in developing countries, will create marriages between America’s newest dynamic industry and developing countries that need to provide this new technology in the form of infrastructure, citizen services, education and the like.


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