US: Footwear Firms Divided on TPP Trade Talks
An ongoing debate about tariffs on foreign-made shoes stepped up this week after executives from US-based athletic shoe maker New Balance lobbied for Congressional support for domestic footwear manufacturing – while officials at footwear retailers and importers urged an end to the duties.
The division between the two sides hinges on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement being discussed between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. Canada and Mexico have also been invited to join the talks and will be formally admitted in the coming months.
The inclusion of Vietnam, the world’s second largest footwear exporter to the US, is the main stumbling block. The country wants the US to remove duties on footwear as part of the agreement – but opponents claim Vietnam’s footwear industry benefits from government intervention, currency manipulation, and low labour standards. Read more here.
Date: July 19, 2012