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Trade Policy Intern

*To be considered for an internship, you must apply directly through our online application here.* 

As a Cato trade intern, you will help conduct primary research on U.S. and global trade law and economics, provide initial drafts of speeches and articles, and create data visualizations to convey important policy arguments. Working closely with Cato trade scholars, you will learn about trade policy and politics from one of the preeminent trade groups in Washington.


  • Stay on top of trade policy developments and write summaries and opinions of those developments
  • Gather information from executive agency and legislative committee hearings, as well as conferences and other events hosted by think tanks, business associations, and other interest groups
  • Collect and analyze data from official sources, such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census Bureau, Federal Reserve, Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc. to buttress arguments for free trade and free markets
  • Support the work of Cato trade policy scholars by conducting background research, compiling data, and generating tables, charts, outlines, and summaries of articles and papers


  • Strong interest in supporting efforts to educate the public and policymakers about the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism
  • General familiarity with U.S. trade policy, global trade institutions, and the major trade policy issues of the day
  • Ability to multitask effectively and efficiently and to balance short‐​term and longer-term objectives
  • Capacity to think and work independently on projects without requiring too much oversight or frequent guidance
  • Understanding of where to find relevant data and how to use statistics and charts to reinforce policy arguments and positions

Cato scholars seek to promote a better understanding around the world of the benefits of market-liberal policies and institutions, openness and engagement in the global economy, and principled and restrained foreign policy. Those benefits include notable improvements in human well‐being as countries increase their levels of economic, civil, and personal freedoms. The United States should thus engage the world, trade freely, and work with other countries on common concerns, but avoid trying to dominate the globe militarily. 

About the Cato Internship Program

Cato’s paid internships are for undergraduates, recent graduates, graduate students, law students, and early-career professionals who have a strong commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace—principles that, taken together, constitute libertarianism, known alternately as “classical liberalism,” “market liberalism,” or, to many of our international friends, just “liberalism.” 

All Cato interns attend the same intensive seminar series, which covers a broad range of history, philosophy, policy, and professional development topics. Interns also aid with events and occasionally help Cato staff with other day-to-day needs. 

Interns receive competitive compensation. Part-time positions are adjusted accordingly and carry a minimum of 25 hrs./wk. Program participants must be available in person in Washington, D.C.  

For more information about the internship program and experience, we encourage you to explore our website.  

If you have any questions, feel free to email Cortez Bartolome, Programs Coordinator, at