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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 Cato, 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 web site 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 J.D. from Harvard Law School.

More from Simon Lester


America’s Free-Trade Conundrum

National Interest (Online). January 8, 2015.

Libertarian Internationalism

Townhall. December 16, 2014.

An Honest Debate on Investor-State

Huffington Post. December 12, 2014.

Cato Studies


Domestic Tobacco Regulation and International Law:The Interaction of Trade Agreements and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Journal of World Trade. Vol. 47. No. 1. February 2015.

Financial Services in the TTIP: Making the Prudential Exception Work

Georgetown Journal of International Law. Vol. 45. No. 4. 2014.

The TPP and the Future of Trade Agreements

Latin American Journal of International Trade Law. Vol. 2. No. 1. 2014.