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Professor of Law, University of Ottawa


Debra Steger has over 35 years of experience in international economic law and arbitration/dispute settlement. Currently, Full Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, she has been instrumental in establishing innovative graduate, clinical and moot court programs for students and developing a research centre, global networks, conferences and projects involving academics, business, governments and other stakeholders in the international economic law field.

As the first Director of the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat from 1995-2001, she helped to guide the Appellate Body through its pioneering years. As Senior Negotiator for Canada in the Uruguay Round, she was the lead negotiator on the Agreement Establishing the WTO and the Dispute Settlement Understanding as well as Principal Counsel on all of the WTO Agreements. As General Counsel of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, she helped to implement the NAFTA and the WTO Agreement into Canadian law, and argued the first binational panel cases under Chapter 19 of the CUSFTA and NAFTA.

She has served as a panelist on WTO, NAFTA and Canadian Internal Trade Agreement disputes; serves on panel and appellate rosters under Free Trade Agreements, including NAFTA, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement, and the US-CAFTA/DR; has acted as counsel to governments in several WTO and NAFTA disputes; and has provided technical assistance and training to developing country Members of the WTO. She was a consultant to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat on the design of an appeals body.

She has led major international research networks, including the Emerging Dynamic Global Economies (EDGE) Network, a Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE); and the Canada-EU Trade Environment Technology Exchange (TETE), funded by the European Commission and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), relating to the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations.

For over 20 years, Professor Steger has been a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of International Economic Law, the leading journal in the field; as well as a member of the Council of Advisers of the UNCTAD Project on Building Capacity through Training in Dispute Settlement in International Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property. She has also been a member of the International Scientific Review Committee of the National Centres for Competence in Research – Trade, National Science Foundation, Government of Switzerland for 12 years.

She has published 11 books and over 140 articles, book chapters and reports; and is asked to comment frequently on issues related to international trade, investment, and arbitration/dispute settlement.