SIEL Conference program cover

Society for International Economic Law Global Conference to Take Place at American University Washington College of Law, July 12-14

Conference Addresses the Impact of Trade Wars on the World Economy

July 9, 2018

The Society for International Economic Law (SIEL) 6th Biennial Global Conference, hosted by SIEL and American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL), will take place July 12-14, 2018 in Washington D.C. SIEL is the world’s only global scholarly society in international economic law. The SIEL Biennial Conference, one of the largest and most important conferences in the area of international economic law, will be hosted for the first time in the U.S. at AUWCL.

This year’s conference will focus on “International Economic Law in Unsettling Times.” In view of the Trump Administration’s trade policy, the conference will address implications in trade, investment, and finance. Over 200 speakers will present on compelling topics, such as security and necessity exceptions in international trade, multilateral trading system post-Brexit, digital trade and data governance, multilateral investment court, the right to regulate in international economic law, allocation of risks between foreign investors and host states during economic crises, and regulating finance.

The conference has many top sponsors including the law firms Sidley Austin, Van Bael & Bellis, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Steptoe, and Akin Gump, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and global publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Edward Elgar Publishing, and Hart Publishing. For a complete list of sponsors and conference sessions see the full program here.

Below we have featured some of the plenary sessions, all of which will take place in Grossman Hall, located on the Terrace level of the American University Washington College of Law Campus.

Watch Thursday's plenary sessions here.

Media are invited to attend conference sessions – please RSVP to Franki Fitterer at


“A Conversation on the WTO Appellate Body in Unsettling Times” (Thursday, July 12, 4:30 p.m.)
Ricardo Ramirez-Hernandez, Former Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body
Jennifer Hilman, Georgetown Law School
Giorgio Sacerdoti, Bocconi University

“The NAFTA State of Play and the Implications Arising from New Rules” (Thursday, July 12, 5:30 p.m.)
Pablo Bentes, Managing Director, International Trade and Investment, Steptoe & Johnson
Rufus Yerxa, President, National Foreign Trade Council, Washington, DC
Jonathan Fried, Head lawyer for Canada during the NAFTA negotiations
Ricardo  Ramirez-Hernandez, Former Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body

“A conversation on Security-Based Investment Restrictions” (Friday, July 13, 1:00 p.m.)
Sean Heather, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation
Jennifer Danner Riccardi, Special Trade Advisor, Delegation of the EU to the United States
Anne Salladin, Special Counsel, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan

“Financial Policy and Practice in Unsettling Time” (Friday, July 13, 2 p.m.)
Sarah Bloom Raskin, former United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury
Douglas W. Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor in Law, University of Hong Kong
Sean Hagan, Director of the International Monetary Fund Legal Department

Keynote: “Special Economic Zone – A Catalyst for International Trade and Investment in Unsettling Times?” (Saturday, July 14, 5:15 p.m.)
Teresa Cheng, SC Secretary for Justice, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

For conference and registration information, visit



In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 120 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, health law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit


AUWCL has one of the oldest and most established international programs in the United States. Established in 1982, the International Legal Studies Program LLM has consistently maintained a specialization in trade and investment law.  In 2004, the law school established a program for International Commercial Arbitration under the directorship of Horacio A. Grigera Naon with a roster of impressive adjunct and full-time faculty.  Between 2004 and 2011, AUWCL expanded its course offerings in International Economic Law and held important conferences in collaboration with ASIL and the International Economic Law Group of ASIL under the leadership of Professor Padideh Ala’i.  In 2011 AUWCL created a course on WTO law entitled:  WTO: Rule Making and Dispute Settlement in Geneva, Switzerland as part of its Program on International Organizations Law and Diplomacy (PIOLD) that also includes WIPO, ILO, and UN Human Rights bodies. Since 2011, AUWCL has hosted the ELSA/WTO Moot court competition five times and AUWCL students have consistently competed in the WTO Moot court competition. In 2014 the law school established the Program on Trade, Investment and Development (TID), directed by Professor Ala’i, which focuses on linkages between trade and other disciplines, such as intellectual property, environment, investment, labor, human rights, and economic development as well as the study of history (including colonial history) and economic relations.  TID collaborates closely with the Brazilian International Trade Scholars’ Program and draws upon a cadre of highly successful trade alumni in Washington D.C. and throughout the world that have included trade negotiators, a member of the WTO Appellate Body, Presidents and trade ministers of countries, international organizations staff, and alumni in private practice.