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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


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.

Trade Pact Is about More than Lower Tariffs

San Francisco Daily Journal. October 7, 2015.

Blog Posts

Cato Studies

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.

One Year into the TTIP Negotiations: Getting to Yes

Free Trade Bulletin No. 59. September 29, 2014.


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.

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.