Last US Sneaker Manufacturer (New Balance) Wants To Maintain Balance In New Trade Pact [View all]
By Vicki Needham - 03/10/12 01:51 PM ET
The last U.S. manufacturer of athletic shoes is working with a coalition of lawmakers to convince trade officials to preserve footwear duties in an Asia-Pacific agreement that they say will allow them to continue operating on American soil.
New Balance, which still produces about 25 percent or 7 million pairs of shoes here, and a group of New England lawmakers are insistent that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) maintain about 20 duties they argue will protect five U.S. factories from closing and moving overseas — three in Maine and two in Massachusetts.
The push comes amid opposition within the footwear industry, which operates largely outside the United States, and wants to see the tariffs on shoes either eliminated or phased-out within the trade agreement.
"We're not asking for special treatment," Matt LeBretton, who heads up the government affairs team at New Balance, told The Hill.