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Michaud to Join U.S. Trade Rep. at New Balance Factory Tomorrow
Will press to keep tariffs to preserve 900 Maine footwear jobs
WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., Congressman Mike Michaud will join U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk for a tour of the New Balance factory on Depot Street in Norridgewock. After the tour, Michaud will join with New Balance associates to demonstrate to Kirk how critical current tariffs are to the preservation of U.S. jobs and specifically the ones at three New Balance facilities in Norway, Skowhegan, and Norridgewock. Kirk accepted Michaud’s invitation to visit Maine in July.
“I look forward to having Ambassador Kirk hear firsthand from New Balance,” said Michaud. “If anyone can convince this administration that these tariffs must be preserved it’s going to be our workers who would be directly impacted. I’ve fought by their side for months and look forward to this unique opportunity tomorrow to demonstrate how critical this issue is to Maine’s economy.”
Michaud has been leading the fight in Congress to preserve current footwear tariffs that are threatened by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multination free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated. In September of last year and May of this year, Michaud wrote letters to Kirk urging him to ensure that new trade agreement doesn’t undermine the American footwear industry. In July, Michaud joined with New Balance associates in Washington, DC to urge the administration to fight to preserve footwear tariffs.
In addition, Michaud has introduced the “American Shoes for American Servicemembers Act,” which would clarify that the Berry Amendment has always and continues to apply to footwear. The Berry Amendment law has been on the books for decades and requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy certain categories of products from American companies. Passage of this bill, or executive action by President Obama, would force DOD to comply with the law and would provide a major boost to domestic footwear makers, including New Balance. To press his case on this issue and the TPP tariffs, Michaud has presented Maine-made New Balance sneakers to the President and First Lady during visits they’ve made to Maine.