Assistant U.S. Trade Representative
Lewis Karesh was named Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor in August 2005. In this capacity, he oversees trade and labor issues for USTR, including serving as chief negotiator of labor provisions in multilateral, regional, and bilateral free trade agreements, formulating recommendations concerning countries’ adherence to worker rights provisions of U.S. trade preference programs, and developing U.S. positions on the relationship between trade and labor in the International Labor Organization, World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor, and other relevant international bodies.
Prior to joining USTR, Mr. Karesh spent 18 years with the U.S. Department of Labor, most recently serving as Director of the Office of Trade Agreement Implementation (OTAI). As head of OTAI, Mr. Karesh was responsible for administering U.S. obligations under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (the labor supplemental agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement) and the labor chapters of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. While at the Department of Labor, Mr. Karesh served as the lead U.S. negotiator for the labor provisions of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement and on U.S. labor and dispute settlement negotiating teams for similar agreements with Chile, Singapore, Australia, Central America, and Bahrain.
Mr. Karesh also served as an attorney for nine years with the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor where he acted as a legal advisor during negotiation and implementation of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation. He also served as legal counsel on matters involving the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization, and the International Labor Organization.
Mr. Karesh holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University.