Simon Lester

Trade Policy Analyst, Cato Institute

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, DC, 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.


7 March 2018
The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provides a path for institutional innovation. This post argues that the institutions that were created by NAFTA have either not functioned well, or been insufficiently used, and that the opportunity to improve the institutions...
1 June 2016
In recent years the debate over investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) has heated up and in Europe is reaching boiling point. European governments were once the main force behind modern investment treaties, but now European citizens are sceptical. As a result the future of ISDS has become...

Bridges news

11 April 2018
Partindo da ideia de que a precariedade das negociações do NAFTA contribui para tornar o comércio regional mais instável, os autores discutem três eixos por meio dos quais as instituições do bloco poderiam ser fortalecidas: solução de controvérsias; governança; e cooperação continental.
22 March 2018
Partiendo de la idea de que la precariedad de las negociaciones del NAFTA contribuye a tornar el comercio regional más inestable, los autores discuten tres ejes por medio de los cuales se podrían fortalecer las instituciones del NAFTA: solución de diferencias; gobernanza; y cooperación continental.
1 September 2015
Some critics of trade negotiations allege that the process is too secretive, and draft texts should be made public. This paper argues that more transparency is needed, but that releasing drafts in this way could impede the process. Instead, transparency should be expanded at an earlier stage, when...
27 February 2015
A recente divulgação, pela UE, de seus textos para a TTIP e a opacidade das negociações da TPP têm animado debates sobre a medida de transparência desejável em uma tratativa comercial. O autor engaja com essa problemática e apresenta uma proposta que busca ampliar a transparência sem que o andamento das negociações seja prejudicado.
1 December 2014
In early 2013, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations were introduced with great fanfare in President Obama's State of the Union Address . The EU and the US as the world's two largest economic zones would be united in a trade and investment pact, which would generate...
1 September 2014
A principios de 2013, el presidente Obama presentó con bombo y platillo las negociaciones de la Asociación Transatlántica para el Comercio y la Inversión (TTIP, por sus siglas en inglés) en su discurso sobre el estado de la Unión . Las dos zonas económicas más grandes del mundo firmarían un acuerdo...