Fashion Counsel with Anthony V. Lupo

Arent Fox's fashion law blog offers news, analysis, and insights for the industry from fashion attorney Anthony Lupo.

Fashion Counsel with Anthony V. Lupo

Birgit Matthiesen

Birgit Matthiesen
Birgit Matthiesen
Director of Can.-US Cross Border Business Affairs
Washington, DC

Birgit has a strong and unique perspective of the issues facing Canadian and American cross-border supply chains. She began her career as a Canadian Customs and later as an immigration regional manager along the Quebec/Vermont border, followed by 25 years at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Prior to joining Arent Fox, she served as the eyes and ears for Canada's largest business association. In short, Birgit knows the border and beyond.

At Arent Fox, Birgit works with a team of lawyers to assist companies and business groups with cross-border business interests, ranging from import risk assessment to broader trade competitive objectives. This unique team builds upon specialty practices already offered by Arent Fox and adds a distinct perspective on the challenges and opportunities for Canadian business interests in the US marketplace.

Birgit's specialties reflect a career building a network of cross-border interests. She has worked within the Canadian Government, has represented Canadian business interests to American officials and members of Congress, and has built a solid record of advocacy in the United States for Canadian companies and their American business partners. Her distinguished professional portfolio offers Arent Fox clients a vantage point unmatched in North America.

* Birgit is not a member of the legal practice.

Previous Work

Before joining Arent Fox, Birgit served as the Special Advisor to the President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) as their Washington representative. Her responsibilities included advising CME members on US Congressional and Executive Branch actions that would have ramifications for Canadian companies with operations on both sides of the border. While at CME, Birgit cultivated a close working relationship with US business associations, federal and state government offices, and Washington think tanks to advance a North American Manufacturing Common Cause advocacy effort.

Before CME, Birgit was on the Trade and Economic Policy staff at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC, where she served under a number of distinguished Canadian Ambassadors. During her tenure at the Embassy, Birgit worked directly with Canadian companies and associations to identify and ease US legislative and regulatory barriers for their cross-border interests. While at the Embassy, Birgit also became well known in Washington for her exceptional advocacy reach and her unique capacity to showcase and promote the importance of North American competitiveness in a challenging global environment.

Professional Activities

Birgit serves as a board member of The Global Business Dialogue, Inc. (GBD).

Publications, Presentations, and Recognition

  • Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for Public Service 2012
  • Monthly columnist for 2020 Magazine, a publication of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
  • Interviewed by US and Canadian media (C-SPAN, CTV, CBC, Canadian radio)
  • Invited to speak at numerous business meetings in Canada and the United States
  • Co-authored with former Canadian Ambassador Michael Kergin a report for the Canadian International Council titled “A Border Between Friends”

Blog Posts by Birgit Matthiesen

International Corporate, Importation & Immigration
Mitigating Risk and Protecting Your Company’s Brand in the US Marketplace

Recent Developments in US Import Requirements

In September 2014, Arent Fox reported about a US court case with which every corporate officer of a company doing business in the United States should become familiar. The decision involves responsibility for compliance with US import regulations which, heretofore, has typically been relegated to a company’s customs and logistics divisions. The Trek Leather decision rendered by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that a corporate officer of an importer of record could be personally liable for gross negligence penalties where the importer understated the value of the goods.

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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.