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Frank J. Schweitzer

Fax +1.202.778.9100

Frank Schweitzer is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of K&L Gates. His practice covers international trade, international investment, market access, and public international law matters related to the cross-border movement of goods, services, and capital. He focuses on international dispute resolution through litigation and arbitration, with a particular emphasis on WTO dispute settlement and investment treaty arbitration.

Mr. Schweitzer draws on over 16 years of international trade and investment experience in private practice and the government as a litigator, negotiator, and counselor. From 2009 to 2013 he served as Associate General Counsel in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Executive Office of the President. In that capacity he served as lead counsel for the United States in litigation before the WTO, including the successful U.S. challenge to China’s discriminatory measures affecting electronic payment services for card-based transactions in China, where the value of such transactions annually exceeds $1 trillion (the first WTO ruling to interpret the GATS Annex on Financial Services). He also served as co-lead counsel for the United States in the longest appellate proceeding in the history of the WTO in which the Appellate Body upheld the panel finding of $18 billion in illegal European subsidies to Airbus (the largest and among the most complex disputes ever litigated at the WTO). While at USTR he covered international investment matters, and served as legal counsel in the negotiations of the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the U.S.-China bilateral investment treaty negotiations.

Mr. Schweitzer’s practice encompasses matters arising under the full range of WTO disciplines, regional and bilateral trade agreements, and investment treaties. He advises on trade policy and on strategies to secure and preserve export, investment, and commercial opportunities in markets around the world. He counsels corporations and governments on the use of treaty-based trade and investment rules to remove market access barriers and other cross-border trade impediments and to resolve foreign investment disputes. He has experience in several economic sectors, including, energy and natural resources (natural gas, oil, power generation, uranium), commodity products (cement, lumber, paper, steel), high technology areas (aerospace, electronics, semiconductors), and financial services (insurance, payment systems, reinsurance).

Additional Information

Immediately prior to joining the firm, Mr. Schweitzer served from August 2009 until March 2013 as Associate General Counsel in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Executive Office of the President. He served as lead counsel for the United States in litigation before the WTO, and provided legal counsel regarding the development and implementation of U.S. international trade and investment policy, including through the negotiation, monitoring, and enforcement of trade agreements and investment treaties.

He has significant experience with WTO matters and assists the private sector and governments in assessing WTO treaty rights and obligations and advises on the WTO consistency of national measures and the viability of WTO legal challenges. In addition to WTO counseling, Mr. Schweitzer represents private sector interests and assists member states in all phases of WTO dispute settlement, including government-to-government consultations, panel proceedings, appellate review, implementation, and compliance proceedings. He has appeared before WTO panels and the Appellate Body several times. Mr. Schweitzer was lead counsel for the United States in the WTO panel proceeding China – Certain Measures Affecting Electronic Payment Services (DS413) and he was co-lead counsel for the United States in the WTO appellate proceeding and subsequent compliance proceeding in EC and Certain Member States – Measures Affecting Trade in Large Civil Aircraft (DS316).

While at USTR, Mr. Schweitzer also worked on international investment matters involving both inbound and outbound investment, including domestic and international policy initiatives and the negotiation of trade agreement investment chapters and bilateral investment treaties. He served as lead counsel for the United States for the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations involving 11 other nations, and as co-lead counsel for the United States for the U.S.-China BIT negotiations. Mr. Schweitzer was also one of the lead lawyers for the U.S. government review of the model used by the United States to negotiate BITs and trade agreement investment chapters with treaty partners that resulted in the 2012 U.S. Model BIT. Mr. Schweitzer also assisted the State Department in its defense of the United States in the first state-to-state arbitration arising under a U.S. BIT.

He also worked on intellectual property rights (IPR) matters during his time with USTR, providing legal advice on domestic and international policy initiatives, and IPR trade agreement provisions and disciplines.

Prior to joining USTR, Mr. Schweitzer practiced international trade and investment law for over thirteen years with two leading international law firms. A significant percentage of his time in private practice involved WTO counseling and WTO dispute settlement matters, including Japan – Measures Affecting Consumer Photographic Film and Paper (DS44), United States – Sunset Reviews of Antidumping Measures on OCTG from Argentina (DS268), United States – Antidumping Measures on Cement from Mexico (DS281), United States – Antidumping Measures on Oil Country Tubular Goods from Mexico (DS282). He also advised on the effect of trade agreements and investment treaties on commercial transactions and global business strategies, and provided counsel regarding the implications of pending trade agreement negotiations and WTO accession negotiations. He gained significant experience with energy related trade and investment issues.

Mr. Schweitzer has also represented parties in administrative investigations and trade remedy proceedings before the Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and USTR, and in litigation before NAFTA panels, litigation before the U.S. Court of International Trade, appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and in the preparation of an amicus brief filed in a U.S. Supreme Court case. He has represented investors and host governments in investment treaty arbitrations, and his prior experience also includes: insurance and reinsurance coverage litigation, arbitrations, and contractual matters; customs classification litigation; and matters related to Section 301 proceedings, export controls, economic sanctions, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Publications and Presentations

  • “Growing Global Protectionism and the World Trade Organization (WTO): The WTO as Regulator of the National Regulators,” Global Government Solutions 2014 Annual Outlook, February 2014
  • “The Outlook for International Trade Negotiations in 2014: Ambitious and Potentially Historic,” Global Government Solutions 2014 Annual Outlook, February 2014
  • “Trade Promotion Authority Legislation Could Have Significant Impact on U.S. Trade Agenda,” Alert, January 16, 2014
  • “Investing in Africa BIT by BIT,” Law360, August 23, 2013
  • "A Primer on WTO Dispute Settlement," Law360, July 2, 2013
  • "International Arbitration of Cross-Border Commercial Disputes and Foreign Investment Disputes," Global Offset and Countertrade Association (GOCA) May 2013 Spring Conference
  • "U.S. and EU Trade and Investment Partnership Negotiations Present Opportunities for the TMT Sector," TMT Law Watch Blog, April 2013
  • "A Basic Primer on the WTO and its Relevance to Offsets and Countertrade," 2005 Joint Conference of the Defense Industry Offset Association and the Global Offset and Countertrade Association
  • “Of Waves and Sunsets: Reflections on the Likelihood Determination in Department of Commerce Five-Year Reviews,” International Trade Law Update, 2005 (Co-author)
  • “Flash of the Titans: A Picture of Section 301 in the Dispute Between Kodak and Fuji and a View Toward Dismantling Anticompetitive Practices in the Japanese Distribution System,” American University International Law Review, 1996