Former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor Affairs, Josh Kagan, Joins Kelley Drye & Warren’s International Trade Practice

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is pleased to announce that former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Josh Kagan has joined the firm as a special counsel, working in the firm’s nationally recognized International Trade practice group.

Josh joins the firm from the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office of Labor Affairs, where he served as Assistant USTR for Labor Affairs. In that role, Josh was responsible for developing and implementing U.S. trade policy on labor-related issues – particularly the adoption and enforcement of internationally recognized labor rights, as well as the negotiation and implementation of labor provisions included in bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade agreements. In announcing his departure from the agency, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said, Josh’s leadership has been instrumental in our successful use of the USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism and work to eradicate forced labor in supply chains.”

We are delighted to welcome Josh to the firm. Josh is a widely recognized expert in international trade and labor policy and has spent his career advocating for U.S. labor priorities.” said John Herrmann, Chair of Kelley Drye’s International Trade practice. Our clients will benefit from Josh’s expertise and insights on the use of trade laws to advance international labor rights.”

I am very excited to join Kelley Drye’s preeminent International Trade practice group. The firm has been working at the intersection of international trade and labor for over 20 years, and has a market leading forced labor trade enforcement practice. I look forward to joining with my colleagues in helping clients navigate the regulatory, policy and operational challenges presented by these laws,” said Josh Kagan.

For companies importing goods into the United States, forced labor has become a priority issue and an area of substantial risk, as government enforcement actions cause both commercial disruption and reputational damage. The USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism was a first-of-its-kind trade instrument that links fundamental labor rights, including the right to free association and collective bargaining, with the right to trade goods from Mexico to the United States. All companies involved in global trade have to concern themselves with managing compliance and navigating enforcement under these and related sustainability and due diligence laws Josh is uniquely qualified to strategically advise and guide companies in this area.

Kelley Drye’s Forced Labor Trade Enforcement team aims to provide clients with the best advice and the best service to manage forced labor trade enforcement needs. We help clients in multiple industries assess their supply chains and take action to address forced labor risks, including by providing sophisticated due diligence capabilities associated with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).