American apparel giant Levi Strauss & Company has hired law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld to advocate U.S. trade matters on Capitol Hill as they affect the clothing industry, as the Trump administration attempts to close a tentative new North American Free Trade Agreement pact with Canada and Mexico.
Media outlets reported yesterday that Trump wants to close the updated NAFTA deal within the next two weeks.
According to documents filed with the Justice Department, Levi Strauss has retained Akin Gump to lobby on international trade issues including NAFTA negotiations. The iconic San Francisco-based retail brand, which maintains one of its largest denim mill suppliers in Mexico, is only the latest U.S. company to retain lobbying support amid ongoing attempts by the Trump administration to redraw NAFTA’s terms, which President Trump sees as deleterious to U.S. manufacturing jobs, at one point calling the pact “the worst trade deal in history.”
Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to pull the U.S. out of the pact altogether, has now threatened to walk away from the current NAFTA talks if Mexico fails to make changes to its current immigration stance or otherwise refuses to do something to “stop people from coming through their country and into ours.”
Trump today called on the U.S. military to guard the country’s southern border with Mexico until his long-planned border wall is completed.
The Levi Strauss account will be managed by Scott Parven, a former global policy director at Aetna Life who was also formerly legal assistant to Rep. Nicholas Mavroules (D-MA); and Josh Teitelbaum, former deputy assistant secretary of commerce for textiles, consumer goods and materials with the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce. Teitelbaum, who was also former legislative counsel to Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), was also previously staff director for the HELP Subcommittee on Children & Families.