Virtual Seminar: The future of North American trade and investment under the Canada-Mexico-US Agreement (USMCA or CUSMA)

Canada day, 1 July 2020, marked the entry into force of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement, which is alternately called CUSMA or the USMCA.  This new treaty constitutes a substantial revision of the terms of trade and investment between its three North American partners, Canada, Mexico and the United States.  Our experienced speakers provided a timely discussion of the numerous trade and investment protection implications of this new treaty.

The speakers for this seminar were:

Professor Céline Lévesque, a professor at the University of Ottawa for over 20 years and the University’s Dean of Law from 2014 to 2019. She currently is the President of the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL).   She is an expert in International Economic Law, more particularly in International Investment Law. She serves as an arbitrator in ISDS cases and was appointed in 2018 to the roster of candidates to serve on panels established under NAFTA Chapter 19.  In 2008-2009, Céline was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Trade Law Bureau of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. In that capacity, she participated in NAFTA Chapter 11 proceedings and in bilateral investment treaty negotiations.  Prior to joining the university, Céline worked at the World Bank in Washington, DC, in a group specialized in private participation in infrastructure.

Mr Nate B. Bolin, a partner at the Washington, D.C. office of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, focusing on U.S. national security and international trade laws and policy. In the area of trade, Nate has been actively advising clients on the Section 301 investigations of China’s technology transfer policies, the Section 232 actions against imports of steel and aluminum, and the U.S.-Japan, U.S.-India, and U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations.  Before entering private practice, Nate was an International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce, working on trade negotiations and trade agreement enforcement and compliance. He also clerked at the Office of the Legal Advisor at the Department of State, where he worked on regulatory and litigation matters, including investor-state arbitration and proceedings before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague.

Mr Gunjan Sharma, a lawyer at Volterra Fietta.  Mr Sharma routinely advises States and multinational companies on complex issues of international investment law and investment risk.  He has advised both States and private entities during treaty negotiations.  He represented the interests of a client before the U.S. Trade Representative during the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.  He has also represented States before the International Court of Justice, represented investors and States in investor-State arbitrations and been counsel to clients before numerous US courts, including the courts of New York. 

The panel was chaired by Professor Robert Volterra (Volterra Fietta).  Professor Volterra is a Partner at Volterra Fietta and visiting professor of law at University College London.  Mr Volterra advises and represents governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of public international law issues.  He regularly acts as co‑agent, counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc international arbitration tribunals, including under the PCA, ICSID, ICC, SCC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, WTO and UNCLOS rules.  He is on the UK Attorney General’s A-list for public international law practitioners.

For any queries regarding the content of the seminar, please email