Press Release

Hon. Nazak Nikakhtar, Senior Commerce Department Official, Joins Wiley

Legal, Policy, and Economic Advisor to U.S. Government and Private-Sector Organizations on Complex Trade and National Security Matters
February 16, 2021

Washington, DC – Wiley is pleased to announce that the Honorable Nazak Nikakhtar, former senior U.S. Department of Commerce official, has joined the firm’s International Trade Practice as a partner and the National Security Practice as co-chair. Ms. Nikakhtar will advise clients on trade and national security matters involving complex legal and policy dimensions.   

Since 2018, Ms. Nikakhtar had served as Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), where she was the primary liaison with U.S. industries to address trade competitiveness concerns and shaped U.S. policies to promote industry growth in the domestic and export markets. Ms. Nikakhtar advised on international trade agreements, played central roles in numerous bilateral trade and national security exchanges with U.S. allies, and led large U.S. industry delegations in global trade missions. Through her work, Ms. Nikakhtar shaped important international trade, national security, and economic policy decisions to advance the global competitiveness of U.S. businesses in the manufacturing, services, e-commerce, data privacy, cybersecurity, and emerging technology sectors, including the high-tech fields of artificial intelligence, aerospace, semiconductors and communications equipment, and financial technology.

“A powerful advocate for U.S. businesses throughout her career, Nazak has served with distinction as a senior government executive,” said Wiley Managing Partner Peter D. Shields. “She is a demonstrated team leader, whose innovative work solving critical trade, national security and export control matters will benefit our clients and enhance our core capabilities across the board.”

During her time in government, Ms. Nikakhtar also served as the Department of Commerce’s lead on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), where she played a key role in implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) of 2018, including analysis of foreign direct investment trends for Congress. Working with federal agency colleagues, Ms. Nikakhtar shaped important U.S. investment policy decisions and developed comprehensive assessments of strategies to mitigate national security risks.  

“We’re thrilled to have Nazak join our team. Our lawyers hold her in the highest regard, having already worked extensively with her on transformative trade matters related to domestic competitiveness and national defense,” said Alan H. Price, chair of Wiley’s International Trade Practice. “Her critical leadership in managing trade, economic security, and policy matters will be invaluable in assisting clients on matters of international importance.”

In 2019, Ms. Nikakhtar served as the Department’s Under Secretary for Industry and Security (performing the non-exclusive functions and duties), where she implemented groundbreaking legal and policy initiatives on export control matters concerning dual-use items with commercial and military applications. In 2020, Ms. Nikakhtar led the U.S. government’s national security supply chain strategy, working with federal agencies to assess supply chain vulnerabilities and developing recommendations to strengthen the national security industrial base. Ms. Nikakhtar has been a prolific speaker on law, economics, trade and national security to U.S. government officials, research institutions, private sector businesses, business associations, and Congress.

“I am honored to join Wiley’s team of exceptional attorneys and policy advisors,” said Ms. Nikakhtar. “The firm has been an influential leader on trade and national security issues – with a unique combination of regulatory, policy, and litigation strategies – in critical sectors such as steel and aluminum, clean energy, and a broad range of defense-related sectors.”

Ms. Nikakhtar, who will co-chair the National Security Practice along with partner Daniel B. Pickard, brings years of international trade and national security experience from private practice – including high-profile trade remedy litigation and complex matters involving export controls, international and bilateral trade agreements, customs issues, trade and economic policy, and World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement. In addition to private practice, Ms. Nikakhtar had previously served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

During her prior tenure at the Commerce Department in 2002 through 2007, Ms. Nikakhtar served as a Senior Advisor at the agency’s China/Non-Market Economy Office, where she conducted complex international trade remedy investigations, advised on trade policies, and audited numerous multinational firms on compliance matters. Ms. Nikakhtar also served at Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security as an industry analyst, where she performed statistical analysis for the U.S. government’s defense industrial base surveys. Ms. Nikakhtar received several award medals for her work on cutting-edge trade policy issues.

Ms. Nikakhtar received her J.D. and an M.A. in economics from Syracuse University. She served as the editor-in-chief of the Syracuse Journal of International Law and Commerce, and as a judicial extern for the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

As one of the largest and most wide-ranging international trade practices in the country, Wiley’s legal and policy team helps companies and industries succeed in today’s highly volatile global trade environment. The group works with clients across every level of commerce – from domestic manufacturers to vast global multinationals and emerging industry innovators – to win high-stakes trade litigation, navigate complex regulatory barriers, and advance innovative policy initiatives.

Read Time: 4 min


Maria Woehr Aronson
Director of Communications

Molly Peterson
Senior Communications Manager

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