McGuireWoods Consulting, the public affairs unit of law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods, has signed a pact with Starbucks to advocate on Capitol Hill on tax and trade matters as they relate to education, civil rights and immigration.
The pact comes amid ongoing attempts by the Trump administration to renegotiate terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement, with leaders from the United States, Canada and Mexico hosting a series of meetings this year in a bid to address concerns and resolve issues.
President Trump, who has long seen NAFTA as deleterious to U.S. manufacturing jobs, has vowed to rework some of its terms, even threatening to remove the U.S. from the 1994 accord.
In July, the Trump administration said it wanted to reduce the United States’ trade deficit and bolster domestic manufacturing by increasing NAFTA's rules of origin percentages, removing provisions that prevent the U.S. from imposing import restrictions on Canadian and Mexican goods. Trump has also pushed for improved patent and copyright protections, as well as raising Mexico’s labor and environmental standards.
Trump has said that he wants a renewed agreement completed by the end of the year. Trade between the three countries was more than $1.1 trillion in 2016, according to Council on Foreign Relations estimates.
The possibility of a NAFTA pull out has some U.S. business leaders panicked. Starbucks earlier this year pledged to help Mexico and its business community — as well as thousands of the Seattle-based coffee giant’s employees — in light of the potential economic affects any changes to the trilateral pact may have.
Starbucks, which opened its first coffee shop in Mexico in 2002, now maintains more than 600 locations throughout the country, employing more than 7,000. The coffee chain acquires a large amount of its coffee from Mexican producers and even established a production support center in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas last year. It has since has donated millions to coffee producing communities throughout the country in order to support coffee growers’ livelihoods.
A three-person team manages the Starbucks account, including partner Russ Sullivan, a former staff director to the Senate Finance Committee; Patrick Martin, who was previously an aide to former Senator Evan Bayh (R-IN) and special assistant to the Director at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Radha Mohan, a Bloomberg BNA alum.
MWC staffs more than 1,000 lawyers in 23 offices worldwide.