Robert Mueller’s law firm WilmerHale has been working for China for long time. It has a large office in Bejing, the only WilmerHale office outside of the US and the EU. (https://archive.is/Wgabw, https://archive.is/2v8fG).
WilmerHale lobbied for China and legally represented China, but didn’t register as a foreign agent under FARA. WilmerHale achieved some of the most spectacular trade benefits for China (emphasis added):
With respect to China, our team includes the chief US architect and negotiator of China’s entry into the WTO and one of the leading regulatory lawyers in Beijing (and a member of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce—People’s Republic of China).
In advising on trade policy and trade negotiations, we have helped develop or shape key trade initiatives and legislation both in and outside government, including Congress’ landmark grant of Permanent Normal Trade Relations to China; negotiating priorities in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement negotiations; congressional implementation of various US free trade agreements; and trade-related provisions in internet, patent and drug importation legislation.
08/06/2023 update: content of this page on WilmerHale website have changed. They also get the original content removed from archive.org in late 2019 – early 2020 in a way raising suspicions of the destruction of evidence. The same might have happened to other pages, too. The 2018 original copy of the above link remained, though: International Trade Investment and Market Access _ WilmerHale.pdf. /end of the update/
Note that Trump trade policy threatens these achievements. WilmerHale also represents Chinese firms in the US, and non-Chinese firms in China. It boldly advertises its close relationships with the Chinese government:
The China team provides critical policy, regulatory and government relations advice that complements our clients’ commercial objectives. We have represented clients across a broad range of industries in all aspects of their business dealings across China… Among the China practice’s recent triumphs on behalf of its clients are the execution of copyright cooperation agreements for the publication of local editions of several of the world’s leading magazines; assistance in securing approvals for several of the largest and most novel foreign investments in China; favorable outcomes for Chinese producers in anti-dumping investigations in the United States; and successful litigations and investigations of intellectual property infringements. With the depth and breadth of our US and European offices, we have also advised Chinese entities on their outbound commercial and trade relations, particularly in obtaining regulatory approvals, structuring transactions and defending against trade actions.
To assist clients with these challenges and opportunities, our China Trade Practice offers a unique combination of services bringing together prominent policy, regulatory and government relations capabilities in China with premier in-country business and transactions experience.
Our commitment to the China market, its Fortune 100 and major multinational clientele doing business in or exporting to China, and Chinese entities doing business abroad is deep and growing. The firm’s establishment of a Beijing office demonstrates this commitment.
The team possesses … strong relationships with political, private sector, media and opinion leaders throughout China and East Asia as a whole.
The China team includes professionals who have operated at the highest levels of the US Executive Branch …
The unsurpassed combination of talents of the firm’s China team, supported by the depth and breadth of our United States and European offices, allows the firm to marshal superior resources on behalf of our clients.
WilmerHale is a leading, full-service international law firm with lawyers located throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Our lawyers work at the intersection of government, technology and business … (https://archive.is/VpvUE)
In assisting companies in unfair trade investigations, we obtained the lowest duty rate among the Big Three auto companies in an antidumping and countervailing duty case brought by China; … in the biggest US anti dumping case against China to date, our clients were the only Chinese producers that were found to be not subject to duties.
Relationships with the government of China is one of WilmerHale’s most valuable assets. One should not be surprised if WilmerHale dispatched one of its partners to do a little favor for its big friend. BTW, WilmerHale is part of “the resistance.” These are some “pro bono” cases that WilmerHale highlights: (https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/about/public-service-and-pro-bono).
On behalf of the creator of Pepe the Frog, enforced intellectual property rights to shut down distribution of a controversial children’s book that featured a character named Pepe the Frog … [good to know that Pepe the Frog was banned on Facebook for copyright infringement]
For several years, along with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, represented a single plaintiff challenging Texas’ unduly restrictive and racially discriminatory voter identification requirements. [The law protecting the right of citizens to vote, and not to have their votes canceled by votes of non-citizens, frequently illegal immigrants]
In August 2017, filed suit on behalf of five Jane Doe plaintiffs seeking to declare that the US president’s directive to categorically exclude transgender people from military service is unconstitutional and to enjoin its enforcement.
An unusual feature of WilmerHale is its “alumni network.” I don’t know whether Robert Mueller counts as an alumni or a current partner on a special assignment.
We work to maintain strong relationships with our WilmerHale alumni. WilmerHale welcomes former colleagues to the firm’s alumni network. Here we are committed to maintaining close ties with those of you who have contributed to our firm’s success over the years. (https://archive.is/2rXH)
WilmerHale’s website makes archiving by third parties difficult or impossible, so I downloaded some of the mentioned pages to preserve them as evidence: Archived-Pages-WilmerHale
Same day update: Robert Mueller immediately selected three other WilmerHale attorneys for his Special Counsel team: Jeannie Rhee, who formerly represented a top Obama aide and the Clinton Foundation; James Quarles, the head of the WilmerHale DC office, and thus probably the point man for the Chinese government; and Aaron Zebley.
Originally published on 10/14/2018.