Mark E. Foster
Mark E. Foster practices domestic and international commercial law in Silicon Valley. He handles business transactions related to starting, financing, operating and managing, and buying or selling, companies. He advises corporate investors, Board members and shareholders. He serves as Outside General Counsel to companies. Fluent in Japanese, he handles sales, distribution, and license agreements for clients globally. He handles litigation and dispute settlement with his partners at Bergeson, LLP.
A member of the American Law Institute, he has served in private practice, represented the U.S. Government as a trade negotiator in Japan, been lawyer/lobbyist for the entire U.S. electronics and telecom industries, taught international law and business, and served as General Counsel of several companies including Natus Medical Inc., a NASDAQ company. Fluent in Japanese, he has represented some of the best known American, Japanese and European companies in commercial ventures. The Wall St. Journal described Foster as "that rarest of specimens-a full time lobbyist for American interests in Japan."
In 2006 he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) representing the high-tech sector in formulating US trade policy. The appointment marks his second Executive appointment. During the second term of the Reagan Administration he was appointed Special Counsel to the United States at our Embassy in Japan, serving on Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige's team. As Special Counsel he advised U.S. trade negotiators in opening the Japan market to U.S. telecom, medical device, electronics, processed foods and other highly-value-added U.S. manufactured goods.
Foster's undergraduate work was at Alma College, MI. He attended Presbyterian theological seminary, and did further post-grad work at the University of California (Berkeley-Japanese; Hastings-J.D.) and Waseda University, Tokyo. Foster served as President of the UC Hastings Law School 1066 Foundation, leading the Foundation to record levels of chartable contributions from Alumni. Foster was recognized by the Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel for his “Exceptional Support, Inspiration and Leadership” as a member of its Board of Directors.
Selected Honors, Publications and Awards:
- Appointed by the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative in 2006 to the Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) representing the high-tech sector, advising them in formulating US international trade policy. Read here.
- American Law Institute Member. Nominated by former United States Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and U.C. Hastings Chancellor and Dean Mary Kay Kane Read here.
- Special Counsel to the United States Embassy in Japan, serving on Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige’s team during the Reagan Administration. Trade lawyer in telecom, electronics, food products, medical device sectors.Read here.
- President of Trustees, University of California Hastings School of Law 1066 Foundation from 2005-07.
- Letters of Commendation from Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige for work done as Special Counsel advancing United States exports and eliminating trade barriers in Japan, 1985.
- Deloitte & Touche “Northwest Real Estate Conference” award recipient for Foreign Direct Investment, 1990.
- Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel, Award for “Exceptional Support, Inspiration and Leadership, 2003-2004.
- Distinguished Alumnus 2006, Alma College. Highest alumnus award given by undergraduate college, Alma, Michigan. Read here.
- Senior Fellow, Conference of World Regions, a forum for public and private sector leaders to exchange ideas on market-based economic development issues that increasingly ignore national and regional boundaries. CWR’s activities are officially endorsed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. Council for International Business, the World Bank, the US Council of State Governments, and the European Commission.
- Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Japan: former member, RCR Council (Radio Wave Regulations Council). First ever non-Japanese member.
- Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Japan: former member, INSTAC (Information Network Standardization Council). First ever non-Japanese member.
Selected Books and Publications
- A Guide to Mandatory Technical Standards and Product Certification Procedures under Japan’s Electrical Appliance Law, 1985, published by the US Department of Commerce
- Japanese Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Certification and Procedures, 1984, published by the US Department of Commerce
- Medical Device Certification in Japan: A Guidebook, 1985, published by US Department of Commerce
- The Japanese Industrial Standards System: An American’s Viewpoint, published in the Meeting Notes of the Annual Quality Congress by the American Society for Quality Control, 1994.
- Numerous articles and treatises concerning Japan’s government regulatory system, technical standards and certification system, industrial policy, and various market sectors; published in East Asian Executive Reports; Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law; etc.
- Politics and Productivity: The Real Story of Why Japan Works, by Chalmers Johnson and Laura Tyson, University of California Press: Foster’s research cited extensively.
Selected Speeches and Lectures
- Republican National Lawyers Association 2007 Election Law School: Initiatives and Judicial Elections. Plenary Session Moderator, New Orleans, LA
- U.S. Department of Commerce, United States & Foreign Commercial Service and the University of Southern California IBEAR program, frequent lecturer on “Breaking Down the Barriers to Japan’s Market” at Asia-Pacific Forum, and Doing Business in Japan intensive graduate classes.
- Conference of World Regions, Global Economic Forum, Brussels, Belgium. 1998, Keynote Speech: “Rise of Regions in the Global Economy - Telecommunications and Information Technologies: Enabling Global Entrepreneurship and Regional Economic Development”
- ISO (International Standardization Organization) and JSA (Japanese Standards Association) Joint Conference, Tokyo, Japan: Keynote Speech (in Japanese): “The Japanese Industrial Standards System from an American’s Standpoint”.