Matthew Nolan

Matt Nolan has 30 years of experience advising clients on all aspects of international trade and business issues.
Matt Nolan, Partner, Washington DC at Arent Fox

A former leader of the firm's internationally recognized International Trade practice, Matt is recognized as a leading trade advisor in Martindale Hubbell, Chambers USA, Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal, and Best Lawyers.

Matt is known for his broad experience in trade issues, complex case management skills, and his deep understanding of clients and industries including steel, energy, agriculture, finance, and life sciences. During his career, Matt has represented foreign governments in trade negotiations or bilateral disputes, and defended numerous foreign producers in trade disputes. Matt has also assisted nonprofits on trade and investment issues and in obtaining licenses to operate humanitarian missions in sanctioned countries. and represented  multinational corporations in customs audits and disputes.  

Matt served on the board of the Canadian American Business Council from 2006 to 2012. He served as a member of the Board of Advisors at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University from 2001 to 2015.

Client Work

Matt has worked extensively for multiple clients on steel trade dispute issues involving antidumping, countervailing duty, safeguards, and the recent 232 investigations. His work includes representing companies and governments in dispute proceedings, and organizing advocacy efforts before government agencies and Congress. He has worked for clients in Canada and Mexico (for both government and private sector clients) on issues related to NAFTA and WTO disputes. He has worked for major US and foreign corporations on export control and sanctions matters; section 301 investigations; customs audits and focused assessments; NAFTA verification audits by US, Mexican, and Canadian authorities; civil and criminal investigations on export, import, and FCPA issues; development, implementation, and audits of internal compliance programs; and advising on trade policy initiatives. He has also worked with companies in a range of industries, including softwood lumber, steel, oil exploration and production, chemical products, beverage and snack foods, life sciences, computer electronics, defense, airlines, textiles, tobacco, banking, telecommunications, and insurance.

Previous Work

Before joining ArentFox Schiff, Matt practiced at a nationally recognized law firm where he was chairman of the international department from 1999 to 2003.

Professional Activities

Matt’s professional activities include:

  • Chairman, Board of Trustees of World Partnerships
  • Member, Global Advisory Council at International Research and Education Exchange (Irex)
  • Member, Board of Advisors of the Gulf States Partnership
  • Chair, Board of Trustees, St. Anselm's Abbey School

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

Matt is an author and speaker on issues pertaining to the WTO, NAFTA, trade litigation issues, and US trade embargoes.

His publications include:

  • “Treatment of Post-Importation Adjustments to Transfer Prices," Practical Trade and Customs Strategies (Thomson Reuters), October, 15, 2012
  • “Customs Valuation and Multinational Transfer Pricing: Can they Co-exist?" Practical Trade and Customs Strategies (Thomson Reuters), September 15, 2012
  • “At the Border Fees are Hurting Trade,” Legal Times, February 23, 2009
  • “Obscure NAFTA Clause Empowers Private Parties,” National Law Journal, April 6, 1998
  • “US Sanctions Laws: A Complex Web for US and Foreign Companies,” Oil & Gas Law and Taxation Review (Sweet & Maxwell), March 1998


  • Recognized as a leading international trade attorney by Chambers USA
  • Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2008-2024)
  • The Legal 500 (2023)
  • Selected for Who's Who of Trade and Customs Lawyers
  • Selected as a Leading Trade Lawyer by Legal 500

His presentations include:

  • “Debate: How the US steel industry moves forward in 2021," 15th Annual Conference, New Horizons in Steel Markets, December 2, 2020
  • “Expectations for post-pandemic trade policy and protectionism,” Steel Orbis COVID-19 Webinar Series, May 27, 2020
  • US trade measures and their potential impact on world trade rules and steel trade, the 'new normal' in US trade policy,” SteelOrbis Fall 2018 Conference & 79th IREPAS Meeting, September 16, 2018 
  • “Critical Changes Expected in Global Long Steel Markets,” SteelOrbis Spring 2017 Conference & 76th IREPAS Meeting, March 27, 2017
  • “Trade Treaties,” NABCA’s 24th Annual Symposium on Alcohol Beverage Law & Regulation, March 13, 2017
  • “Trumping Trade Orthodoxy Conference,” George Washington University’s Institute for International Economic Policy, February 3, 2017
  • "Rebar & Wire Rod conference" SteelOrbis, February 2, 2015
  • "Border Crossing Issues for Products," SFIA Litigation & Risk Management Summit, February 2-3, 2015
  • “Deciphering Complex Country of Origin and Marking Rules,” ACI's US Custom's Compliance Bootcamp, December 2-3, 2014
  • “Complex Valuation and Transfer Pricing Issues: Can We Find Common Ground,” ACI 7th National Forum on Import Compliance and Enforcement, June 2012
  • “Recent Trends in Global Trade Compliance & Enforcement,” Association of Corporate Counsel’s Pittsburgh Chapter, October 2011
  • “Developing a Product Safety Management Program That meets Regulator Expectations,” American Conference Institute’s (ACI) 6th Advanced Forum on Import Compliance and Enforcement, May 2011
  • “Implementing Product Safety Standards Across Your Global Supply Chain,” ACI 6th Advanced Forum on Global Customs Compliance, June 2010
  • “What Ever Happened to the North American Market?” Canadian American Business Council, June 2010
  • “Strategies for Managing a Customs Trade Audit in the US & Canada,” ABA International Section Spring Meeting, April 2010
  • “Defense Electronics: Import/Export Challenges,” Military and Aerospace Electronics Forum, March 2010, Amsterdam; June 2010, San Diego
  • US Customs Compliance and Enforcement Conference, April 2010, University of Pittsburgh Law School
  • “Focused Assessments and Single Issue Audits; Tips and Observations from Counsel,” ACI Import Compliance and Enforcement Forum, October 2009
  • “Complying with the Lacey Act: Minimizing Reporting Burdens and Enforcement Risks,” ACI Imported Product Safety Compliance Conference, April 22, 2009
  • “US trade policy in the Obama Administration - Conflict Management,” Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, February 17, 2009
  • “Developing Effective Country of Origin Marking Procedures,” ACI Advanced Forum on Import Compliance, September 22, 2008
  • “Defending Trade Actions,” La Barra Mexicana; 2007 (Mexico City)
  • “Prior Disclosure Workshop,” ACI Import Compliance Forum; March 15, 2007
  • “Developing a Worldwide Country of Origin Marking Program,” ACI Global Customs seminar; September 26, 2006
  • “An International Perspective on Trade Remedies,” La Barra Mexicana, June 28, 2006 (Mexico City)
  • “Developing the Best in Class Import SOPs,” ACI Import Compliance Forum, March 21, 2006
  • “Customs Business Rule,” ACI Customs Conference, 2005
  • “WTO, Doha Developments,” Mexico conferences on La Empresa en El Comercio Internacional; June 2005 (Mexico City and Monterrey)
  • “Free Trade Agreements: The New Rules and Practical Strategies,” ACI Global Customs Compliance Conference, September 2004
  • “WTO and NAFTA Developments,” Tax Executives Institute, January 22, 2004
  • “The New Security Environment and Trade,” Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, April 2004

Life Beyond the Law

Matt spends his spare time enjoying his family, collecting and tasting fine wines with friends, working on his cabin in Maine, and traveling.



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