Joshua Kagan

Special Counsel

Phone number
(202) 342-8889

Josh Kagan has been at the forefront of every significant U.S. trade enforcement and trade policy matter related to labor issues in the past decade and is a widely recognized leading practitioner in international trade and investment law, international labor and employment law, and business and human rights law.

Josh assists clients with compliance with the labor and employment aspects of international trade and investment laws and helps clients avoid legal and reputational risks associated with the rapidly expanding fields of trade and labor law and business and human rights law. He also supports clients in utilizing trade and labor provisions to ensure fair competition.

Prior to joining Kelley Drye, Josh led the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) Office of Labor Affairs, as the Assistant USTR for Labor Affairs.

In that role, Josh directed all labor-related trade policy for the U.S. government. Josh oversaw negotiations of all labor commitments in U.S. trade agreements with over two dozen countries, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, the U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership, and various critical minerals agreements, including the U.S.-Japan Critical Minerals Agreement. He also participated in negotiations of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Josh served as the U.S. government lead on identifying key labor challenges and trade compliance issues for over 200 countries around the world. He oversaw monitoring of labor issues and the development and implementation of legal and policy approaches to resolve concerns.

Josh directed implementation of the first-of-its-kind Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM), a groundbreaking enforcement provision under the USMCA, and he led all labor-related trade enforcement actions. During his tenure, Josh reached outcomes favorable to the United States in 16 matters pursued under the RRM, a 100% success rate.

Josh played a key role in labor-related trade enforcement of U.S. customs laws and export controls. He served as the USTR principal and representative on the U.S. government’s Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), which oversees implementation of U.S. customs laws on forced labor, such as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) and Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930. As part of the FLETF, Josh participated in determinations regarding additions to the UFLPA Entity List. Josh also worked with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regarding implementation of the labor aspects of export controls such as the BIS Entity List.

Prior to his role at USTR, Josh served in the Office of the General Counsel at USTR, where he covered labor-related trade cases and WTO disputes, and as Deputy Director of the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). At DOL, he led the office’s global supply chain work related to international labor issues, developed stakeholder and Congressional support, and directed over $60 million in technical assistance projects in trade partner countries to support labor aspects of the U.S. trade agenda.

Josh’s extensive knowledge and experience have made him a requested and frequent speaker at national seminars and trainings focused on the intersection of international trade and labor policy issues. He has also been repeatedly recognized by his peers for his professional achievements and leadership, including receiving the DOL Secretary’s Exceptional Leadership Award.