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CBPP mourns the passing of J. Robert Vastine

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It is with great sadness that we share the news of J. Robert Vastine’s passing on Friday, March 30, 2018. Bob joined the Center as a Senior Industry Fellow in September 2012, after serving as president of the Coalition of Services Industries (CSI) beginning in 1996. He was a great colleague and frequent contributor to the Center’s Georgetown on the Hill international trade seminar series. We will miss his energy, enthusiasm, and expertise.


Georgetown on the Hill (fall 2015): J. Bradford Jensen, Gary Hufbauer, J. Robert Vastine, Dan Ikenson


Remembering J. Robert Vastine

  • J. ROBERT "BOB" VASTINE, Jr., The Washington Post (April 6, 2018)
    On Friday, March 30, 2018, peacefully at home in Washington, DC., after a brief illness. Bob was recognized as a leading expert in international trade policy. He was President of the Coalition of Services Industries from 1996 to 2012. Previous posts included Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for International Trade and Commodity Policy under President Gerald Ford, Staff Director, Senate Republican Conference under Senator John Chafee, Vice President, Oversight Board of the Resolution Trust Corporation, and President, Congressional Economic Leadership Institute. He was a passionate athlete, gardener, and student of American history (see Bob is survived by his partner of 38 years, Jonathan Gifford, brother, David (Marcia) Vastine, and sisters, Susan (Sandy) Fitch and Patricia (Don) Kimper. A native of Shamokin, PA, Bob earned a B.A. at Haverford College and an M.A. at the School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University. He was a member of the Cosmos Club and the International Powerlifting Association. Gifts in Bob's memory may be directed to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at the Sibley Memorial Hospital Foundation at or checks payable to the Sibley Foundation, noting the gift is in memory of Bob Vastine, to the Sibley Foundation, 5255 Loughboro Road, NW, Washington, DC 20016. A memorial celebration will be held later this Spring. A guestbook may be viewed and signed at
  • TRUE WASHINGTON TRADE HAND PASSES AWAY, Politico's "Morning Trade" (April 4, 2018) 
    We’re sad to report the passing of Bob Vastine, a fixture on the global trade scene who many credit with elevating the prominence of services trade as head of the U.S. Coalition of Services Industries. Vastine, a native Pennsylvanian, also had a decades-long career on Capitol Hill, where he served as staff director of the Senate Republican Conference, Republican staff director of the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, legislative director for Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island, and legislative assistant for Rep. Thomas Curtis of Missouri. He also served as deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for international trade and raw materials during the administration of President Gerald Ford. While on the Hill, Vastine ushered the Republican Party into the information age by having the first microwave antenna satellite dish installed on the top of a Senate office building. The new technology could transmit lawmakers’ comments directly to TV stations around the nation. “You have only 30 seconds to catch people’s attention. And that’s the idea,” Vastine said in a voluminous oral history that still reads true today for us in the media.