Former White House International Economics Advisor to Join Akin Gump

Akin Gump announced that Clete Willems, former Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and a member of the National Security Council, will join the firm as a partner in its public law and policy practice. Mr. Willems is expected to join the firm in June.

Mr. Willems was a top international economic official in the White House, serving as the lead U.S. negotiator at multilateral summits, including the G7 and G20, and a key negotiator on behalf of the President and the U.S. Government with foreign governments and bodies, including China and the European Union.

At Akin Gump, Mr. Willems will advise clients, including trade associations and multinational companies, on international economic law and policy matters. He will also work closely with the firm’s international trade team on issues related to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), sanctions, energy policy and international development, among others.

About Clete Willems

While at the White House, Mr. Willems led the Office of International Economic Affairs, which includes more than 20 staff who lead White House policy and coordination on organizations such as the G7, G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and on issues such as sanctions, trade, investment, development policy, climate and energy. On behalf of President Trump and the U.S. government, he served as a key negotiator with foreign governments and bodies, including China and the European Union, among others.

Prior to joining the White House, Mr. Willems served as Chief Counsel for Negotiations, Legislation, and Administrative Law at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where he focused on trade policy issues such as the enforcement of U.S. trade remedy laws. He also held the positions of Legal Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the WTO and of Assistant General Counsel at USTR, arguing numerous dispute settlement cases before the WTO and participating in numerous international negotiations. Prior to joining USTR, Mr. Willems worked as Counsel on the House Budget Committee and in multiple positions, including Legislative Director, for then-Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).