In advance of President Obama’s summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week, Scott Parven was working round the clock to pave the way for an announcement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free-trade agreement that would include a dozen countries around the Pacific Rim.
“These two countries need each other,” said Parven, a lawyer with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld who represents the Embassy of Japan. “With the ascendance of China in the region, the U.S.-Japan relationship is critical not just economically but geopolitically. There’s much at stake beyond economics in these talks. The [Trans-Pacific Partnership] has implications for the relationship generally.”
To Parven’s chagrin, Obama left Tokyo without having persuaded Japan to join the TPP. Nonetheless, Parven is hopeful that a deal is forthcoming, especially as trade negotiators exert more pressure on recalcitrant stakeholders like Japanese rice-growers and the U.S. auto industry.
“Because of the importance of the deal, and the importance of the relationship, both governments are asking their core constituencies to stretch a little bit for the benefit of all,” he said.
Parven — who has made a living explaining U.S. domestic politics to Japan, Korea, Panama, Peru, and other foreign governments — noted the irony of Obama’s zeal for the TPP. During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Obama lambasted another free-trade deal, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he blamed for high unemployment in the industrial Midwest.
A native of Hartford, Conn., Parven attended Vassar College and later earned a law degree from the University of Virginia. “At the time, all I really wanted to do was work for Major League Baseball and run a club,” he said. “And I might have done it had I not been turned down for an internship” with then-Commissioner Fay Vincent.
Instead, Parven returned to Hartford and was hired by Aetna, helping the insurance giant establish public-private partnerships around the world and expand its operations in Asia and Latin America. Parven’s crowning achievement was helping Aetna secure a life-insurance license in China.
Before coming to Akin Gump, he was the founder and president of Parven Pomper Strategies.
Parven, 49, is bullish on the prospect of a stronger U.S.-Japanese relationship, which he said was reinforced by Obama’s decision last year to appoint Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan. He believes that the TPP has the potential to be a template for 21st-century trade agreements.
“We all want the TPP to be the gold standard,” he said, adding, “The real prize would be the inclusion of Japan.”
What We're Following See More »
Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.