International law firm Hogan Lovells has appointed Kelly Ann Shaw, a former White House economic policy advisor and trade agreement negotiator, as a partner in its international trade and investment practice.

Based in Washington, DC, Shaw will also be involved in Hogan Lovells’ government relations and public affairs practice. Her focus will include regulatory and policy issues affecting the technology, energy and manufacturing sectors.

Prior to joining the law firm, Shaw spent nearly 10 years working in government service, most recently at the White House as deputy assistant for international economics to President Donald Trump. Prior to that she was the president’s special assistant for international trade and development, and has also served on the National Security Council and National Economic Council.

Hogan Lovells says Shaw played “an instrumental role in a wide range of legislation, negotiations and agreements”, including the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the US-China phase one deal.

She was also the country’s lead negotiator at the G7, G20 and APEC groups of nations, and has also acted as assistant general counsel for the U.S. Trade Representative and trade counsel for the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.

GTR speaks to Shaw about the significance of the US’ recent trade-related agreements, the country’s likely future relationship with the UK, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


GTR: Now that the phase one agreement with China has been agreed, what’s likely to happen next?

Shaw: The US-China phase one agreement was really important in terms of confidence building for both sides, after escalating tariffs and trade wars.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, I think it’s a bit too early to say where things are going to go. Ultimately every country is going to struggle in the short term, but hopefully in the medium to long term, as things begin to open up, we will see the fruits of the phase one agreement – and then additional steps being made on phases two and three, where some of the more substantial issues lie.

Regional agreements like USMCA, as well as progress made in the G20 and G7, will be really important for getting the global economy back on its feet.


GTR: How much of a milestone was the USMCA?

Shaw: USMCA was a significant achievement, especially given everything that’s happening now, with the trend globally to implement export restraints and turn inwards when it comes to supply chains. The US, Canada and Mexico have very integrated supply chains, and cutting barriers to trade will result in shared prosperity.

When the inclination is to take the opposite approach, I think the timing of USMCA implementation is significant and the countries will look to implement as soon as possible.


GTR: How keen is the US to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK?

Shaw: There is significant goodwill towards the UK, and a strong bipartisan desire to reach an agreement. The US will be looking at the USMCA as the gold standard, but we do tailor trade agreements based on each trading partner. With the UK, we have a very strong relationship in services, particularly financial services, so there will certainly be an emphasis on that – as well as modern economic issues like digital trade and intellectual property.

Ultimately, though, the scope of that agreement will depend in large part on the scope of the UK’s agreement with the EU.