Tariffs: Securing the Foothold

Eric Wyndham White, 55, has spent the past two decades coaxing industrial nations into lowering their tariff barriers to international trade. As head of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) ever since its creation in 1948, he earned a reputation as a trusted and respected mediator. But when cooperation eluded him, the outspoken Briton's most characteristic tactic was a blunt threat to quit. And often enough, that threat got him what he wanted.

He hung on to prepare and manage six rounds of talks aimed at abolishing or reducing trade barriers for more than 20,000 items from...