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James Leonard "Jim" Bacchus (born June 21, 1949) is an American politician. Mr. Bacchus currently serves as a Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs and the Director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, since September, 2017. He was a founding member and twice chairman of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland from 1995-2003. Mr. Bacchus served as a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida from 1991-1995. Bacchus has served as Chairman of the Global Trade & Investment Practice Group at Greenberg Traurig, a Miami-based international law firm. He was also Co-Chair of its Global Practice Group. Bacchus has regularly written trade related articles[2][3][4][5] for publications including Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. On February 23, 2007, Bacchus was named to a Department of Defense panel reviewing the Walter Reed Army Medical Center neglect scandal.[6]

James ("Jim") Bacchus
Jim Bacchus.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byBill Nelson
Succeeded byDave Weldon
Constituency11th district (1991–1993)
15th district (1993–1995)
Personal details
James Leonard Bacchus[1]

(1949-06-21) June 21, 1949 (age 70)
Nashville, Tennessee
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materVanderbilt University
Yale University
Florida State University


Juris Doctor, Florida State University College of Law, 1978. High Honors. Order of the Coif and served as editor-in-chief of the FSU Law Review.[7] Master of Arts in History, Yale University, 1973. Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Bachelor of Arts, Vanderbilt University, 1971. Magna Cum Laude. Phi Beta Kappa. High Honors in History. Founders Scholar.

Honorary doctorates from Rollins College, Sierra Nevada College, and the University of Central Florida. Alumnus of the year of Florida State University in 2005. Named as one of the 100 leading alumni in the history of Florida State University.


Public serviceEdit


Currently, Bacchus serves as a Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs and the Director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida. The mission of the Center is to foster links to sustainable development at every level and to explore new forms of governance at every level that further the creation of economic and environmental opportunity. The Center aims to help scale and link sustainability initiatives locally, regionally, and worldwide; help establish and strengthen the enabling frameworks of rules needed to support these initiatives and help them succeed; and help identify and advance international rules and international institutions needed for effective global economic and environmental governance.

The WTO dispute settlement system resolves international disputes involving more than 98% of all world commerce. Bacchus was nominated on a bipartisan basis by the United States and twice appointed to the Appellate Body by consensus of the now 164 countries that are Members of the WTO. Mr. Bacchus served eight years as a founding judge, the only American judge, and one of the seven judges worldwide on the highest global tribunal for world trade. He was twice elected as Chairman by his fellow judges, in 2002 and 2003. Bacchus Judged every international trade dispute and wrote landmark legal opinions along with six colleagues during the first decade of the WTO, every appellate judgment in every appeal during that time was by consensus. He helped establish the Appellate Body as a leading global tribunal and the WTO dispute settlement system as a leading framework for resolving international disputes and upholding the international rule of law. Bacchus was described by The American Lawyer magazine as “the John Marshall of the World Trade Organization” (March 2004).

Bacchus was the original co-sponsor of the implementing legislation for the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade agreements establishing the World Trade Organization and leading supporter of numerous other trade initiatives, including the North American Free Trade Agreement and normal trade relations with China.  

Writer, speaker, and worldwide advocate for addressing economic, environmental, and social issues of global governance and global concern. Among numerous and varied current and recent international pursuits in public service: Member of the High Level Advisory Panel to the President of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2014-2016. Chair of the Commission on Trade and Investment Policy of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce, since 2012. “B20” business adviser to the “G20” heads of state on the international economy, since 2014. Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Governance for Sustainability of the Davos-based World Economic Forum, 2012-2014. Member of the Global Future Council on Trade and Foreign Direct Investment of the World Economic Forum, 2011-2012, and since 2014. Member of the Board of Directors of the “E15” Initiative and chair of the global expert group on trade and climate change for the Geneva-based International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development, 2014-2015. Member of the Bretton Woods Committee, since 1995, and elected life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, since 1995. Member of the list of arbitration chairpersons under the CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Caribbean CARIFORUM states, since 2016.


Bacchus enlisted service in the United States Army, the United States Army Reserve, the Connecticut National Guard, and the Florida National Guard, 1971-1977.

In 1990, Bacchus was elected as a member of the Democratic Party to represent Florida's 11th congressional district in the 102nd Congress and Florida's 15th congressional district in the 103rd Congress in 1992. His districts included Orlando, Cape Canaveral, and much of East Central Florida. He was an active member of Congressional committees on science, space, technology, and banking and other financial services. He served as a member of select committee on children and a congressional leader and advocate on numerous trade, banking, technology, environmental, education, children, space, and other issues. He was a lead sponsor and supporter of the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle, the successful repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, and numerous other legislative initiatives involving public and private space exploration. He sponsored legislation establishing the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge for endangered sea turtles, expanding the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge (the nation’s oldest), and restoring the natural flow of the Kissimmee River into the Florida Everglades, among other environmental accomplishments.

Bacchus was Deputy Press Secretary and Chief Speechwriter for Florida Governor Reubin Askew from 1974-1976. Florida Governor Reubin Askew was named by the Kennedy School at Harvard University as one of the ten greatest American governors of the 20th century. He became Askew's special assistant from 1979 to 1981, after Askew was appointed U.S. Trade Representative. He helped craft and implement state initiatives in many areas, including ethics reform, judicial reform, international trade, economic development, education, environmental preservation, social services, and sustainable growth management. He co-authored the “Sunshine Amendment” to the Florida Constitution for open and ethical government. This led to later roles addressing the nexus of economic and environmental issues as general counsel to Florida’s state growth planning commission, 1985-1986, and as chairman of community development efforts in hometown of Orlando, 1987-1989, before election to the Congress of the United States. Bacchus assisted the USTR on trade issues and on trade negotiations worldwide, including implementation of the agreements resulting from the Tokyo Round of GATT multilateral trade negotiations, implementation of the first bilateral trade agreement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and international financial issues relating to the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

Legal careerEdit

Bacchus was Chair of the Global Practice of Greenberg Traurig, P.A. with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Washington, D.C., January, 2004-August, 2017. Principal shareholder in the largest law firm in the United States, an international law firm of about 2000 lawyers, with 35 offices in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Worldwide law practice focusing on international business, finance, trade, investment, climate change, environment, and sustainable development. He has several decades of experience as counsel on complex international matters of numerous kinds. Listed repeatedly in Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Washington DC Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America.

He was Founder and Managing Shareholder of the Orlando, Florida, office of Greenberg Traurig, 1995-2001. Started the office alone after choosing not to seek re-election to a third term in the Congress. Office now includes more than 40 lawyers. On leave of absence while serving as Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body, 2001-2003. Attorney and Partner, Akerman Senterfitt & Eidson, Orlando, Florida, 1984-1990. Attorney, Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Miami, Florida, 1979, 1981-1982. Admitted, Florida Bar and District of Columbia Bar.

Academic careerEdit

  • Pao Yu-Kong Chair University Professor, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, since 2018.
  • Adjunct Scholar, Cato Institute, Washington, D.C, since 2018.
  • Global Fellow, The Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, since 2017.
  • Global Fellows Faculty Committee of the Asia Global Institute in Hong Kong, since 2017.  
  • Honorary Professor of Law, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China, since 2010.  
  • Faculty and Chairman for sessions of the Salzburg Global Seminar on trade and on sustainability in Salzburg, Austria, beginning in 2012. Senior Counsellor, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland, 2017-2018.  
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School, 2004-2009. Taught courses on international trade law and WTO dispute settlement. Lectured elsewhere in the law school and in other university departments.  
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Politics, Rollins College, 1995-1997.  
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar in 1995. Taught courses on political philosophy and democratic governance.  
  • Frequent lecturer on public international law; on international economic, environmental, and sustainability law; and on the international rule of law in law schools and research institutes worldwide, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown, Virginia, and other universities and institutes in the United States, and leading universities and institutes in Canada, China, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and other countries.


Author of numerous newspaper, periodical, and journal articles and essays appearing in prominent publications worldwide on many aspects of international law and international political economy; of the book Trade and Freedom, published by Cameron May in London in 2004, sold worldwide, reprinted several times, and translated and published in Mandarin in China in 2014; and of the book The Willing World: Shaping and Sharing a Sustainable Global Prosperity, on global economic and environmental governance, published by Cambridge University Press in July, 2018[8], and named one of the “Best Books of the Year” for 2018 by the Financial Times.

Journalistic careerEdit

Reporter and columnist, Orlando Sentinel, in Florida and in Washington, intermittently, 1968-1973. Reporter, Sanford Herald, Florida, 1964-1967. Winner of numerous journalism awards, including the national Silver Gavel Award for Outstanding Public Service in Journalism by the American Bar Association in 1974, for a series of articles on Florida prisons which helped lead to significant state prison reforms at that time.

Electoral historyEdit

Florida 11th District U.S. House of Representatives election 1990
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jim Bacchus 120,991 51.9
Republican Bill Tolley 111,970 48.1
Florida 15th District U.S. House of Representatives election 1992
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Jim Bacchus 132,412 50.7
Republican Bill Tolley 128,873 49.3


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  8. ^ Bacchus, James (2018). The Willing World:Shaping and Sharing a Sustainable Global Prosperity Published by Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108552417. ISBN 9781108552417.

A Trade War With Zero Currency

Free Trade Should Be Part of the Stimulus Plan

Diverting A U.S.-China Trade War

China In The Dock: The WTO cracks down on counterfeiting

External linksEdit