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US Trade Rep. Accepts Michaud’s Invitation to Visit Maine New Balance Factory
WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, during a meeting he set up between New Balance and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk, Congressman Mike Michaud was informed that Kirk will be visiting a Maine New Balance factory this fall. The USTR is a cabinet-level officer and has the responsibility to negotiate trade deals on behalf of the White House.
“I’m pleased that Ambassador Kirk accepted my invitation to tour a Maine New Balance facility,” said Michaud. “It will be extremely valuable for him to see firsthand how important these jobs are to not only our workers but also to our state. I really appreciate him taking the time to come up to Maine. It’s critical that we make sure this new trade agreement doesn’t disadvantage our domestic manufacturers and threaten the thousands of jobs they support.”
Earlier today, wearing a pair of New Balance sneakers made in Norridgewock, Maine, Michaud participated in a news conference on Capitol Hill he helped organize with Maine New Balance workers and a bipartisan group of members of Congress. The group rallied together to urge the Obama Administration to fight to preserve footwear tariffs as the negotiations continue over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
Under free trade agreements, tariffs are generally phased out. If that happens, Vietnam’s currency manipulation, state-owned enterprises, and low labor and environmental standards will give its footwear factories a significant and unfair advantage over American producers like New Balance.