Charlene Barshefsky

Charlene Barshefsky was a powerful proponent of free trade in Bill Clinton’s administration as the United States Trade Representative, a Cabinet-level post. Barshefsky spent eighteen years as a lawyer, specializing in international law, before beginning work for the Clinton administration. She served first as Deputy Trade Representative in 1993, overseeing Latin America and Asia, and then as Trade Representative from 1997–2001, negotiating vital trade agreements with Vietnam and Jordan and creating the Free Trade Area of the Americas. A determined advocate who earned the nickname “Stonewall” for her trade talks with Japan, Barshefsky was the primary negotiator who laid out terms for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001. Her negotiation strategies are used as teaching models at Harvard Business School, among others. After leaving government service, Barshefsky joined the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and became a senior international partner at Wilmer, Cutler, and Pickering. As of 2014, she is active in the Council on Foreign Relations, the America-China Society, and the Trilateral Commission.

More on Charlene Barshefsky


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The official portrait of former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky.

Date of Birth

Chicago, IL
United States

Civil Servant, Lawyer

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Charlene Barshefsky." (Viewed on August 13, 2020) <>.


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