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Simon Lester is a trade policy analyst with Cato’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies. His research focuses on WTO disputes, regional trade agreements, disguised protectionism and the history of international trade law.

Before joining the Cato Institute, he worked for the trade law practice of a Washington, D.C., law firm, and also as a legal affairs officer at the Appellate Body Secretariat of the World Trade Organization. In 2001 he founded the international trade law website He has written a number of law journal articles, which have appeared in such publications as the Stanford Journal of International Law, the George Washington International Law Review and the Journal of World Trade. In addition, he has taught courses on international trade law at American University’s Washington College of Law and the University of Michigan Law School.

He has a JD from Harvard Law School.

More from Simon Lester


The TPP Tobacco Carveout: a Triumph of Politics over Good Policy

Huffington Post. November 30, 2015.

The Rhetoric and Reality of ISDS

National Review (Online). November 10, 2015.

Will Tobacco Kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

National Interest (Online). October 14, 2015.

Cato Studies

Is the Doha Round Over? The WTO’s Negotiating Agenda for 2016 and Beyond

Free Trade Bulletin No. 64. February 11, 2016.

Chinese Free Trade Is No Threat to American Free Trade

Free Trade Bulletin No. 60. April 22, 2015.

Expanding Trade in Medical Care through Telemedicine

Policy Analysis No. 769. March 24, 2015.


The TPP’s Contribution to Public International Law

ASIL Insights. Vol. 19. No. 26. December 2, 2015.

Reforming the International Investment Law System

Maryland Journal of International Law. Vol. 30. No. 1. May 6, 2015.

Rethinking the International Investment Law System

Journal of World Trade. Vol. 49. No. 2. 2015.