A new alliance of 11 trade associations and business groups has hired a lobbyist to help “hold US trade partners accountable.”
The Alliance for Trade Enforcement (AFTE) hired Cypress Advocacy to lobby on “enforcement of existing trade agreements” effective June 1, according to a newly disclosed lobbying registration. Former House Financial Services Committee senior counsel Brant Imperatore is registered to lobby on the account.
The alliance was announced in May as US businesses reeled from the impact of COVID-19. It is an expansion of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India, which was created in 2013. Members include the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Foreign Trade Council and trade groups representing the drug, movie, music, software and telecommunications industries.
“The United States benefits from fair and open trade. At a time when American businesses are facing unprecedented challenges, it’s critical to hold our trading partners accountable for the commitments they’ve made,” Brian Pomper, the group’s executive director, said in a May statement. “By highlighting the unfair trade barriers that limit export opportunities for American businesses — and working to eliminate those barriers — AFTE will work to ensure that trading opportunities around the globe benefit American workers.”
Earlier this month, the alliance wrote to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer coinciding with the visit by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to mark the entry into force of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The letter urged Lighthizer to continue enforcing intellectual property protections, improving enforcement of Mexico’s anti-piracy strategy and reducing barriers to the Canadian market for US dairy farmers.
In addition to Cypress, Akin Gump is registered as a lobbyist for the alliance after representing its India-focused precursor since 2013. Akin Gump has been paid $60,000 per quarter for its work on behalf of the Alliance for Fair Trade with India in recent years.
“The Alliance for Trade Enforcement is committed to removing barriers to trade and holding US trading partners accountable across the globe,” Pomper told Foreign Lobby Report in an emailed statement. “With this global focus in mind, Akin Gump will work with the Alliance for Trade Enforcement on a day-to-day level in the same capacity it worked for the Alliance for Fair Trade with India.”
Pomper, the head of the Alliance for Trade Enforcement, is a partner with Akin Gump and was a registered lobbyist on the Alliance for Fair Trade with India account until the first quarter of 2020. He is also registered to lobby for Action for Trade Japan, another US business alliance.
Update: This post was updated at 1:05 p.m. on July 21 with comment from Alliance for Trade Enforcement Executive Director Brian Pomper.