The Obama administration reneged on a deal giving athletic-shoe manufacturer New Balance a shot at a contract to supply the military with American-made footwear, the company's chief executive officer said Thursday.
In response, its opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on.
"We've been against TPP from the beginning," New Balance CEO Rob DeMartini told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" program
. "We're the only guy that still makes athletic shoes in the U.S. and we're probably not going to win this. So we said we would remain silent if they would help us compete for the Barry Amendment. That's how this all got started."
Under the Barry Amendment, passed in the 1940s, almost all gear that military recruits wear is to be made in the United States. Athletic shoes were not included, however, because most were not made in the United States.
But New Balance, which employs nearly 1,500 people in its five New England factories, wanted the opportunity to compete for the footwear contracts, which would could add some 200,000 shoe orders a year to the factories and allow them to expand hires, reports The Boston Globe
To that end, New Balance worked toward making every part of its product to be made in America, including midsoles that are usually imported from overseas.
Matt LeBretton, New Balance's vice president of public affairs, told The Globe that an Obama administration representative asked New Balance to accept a compromise version of TPP, in exchange for the Department of Defense to help by purchasing U.S. made shoes. However, the government hasn't ordered the shoes, and according to the Department of Defense, the three New Balance models offered did meet cost requirements, and one did not match the department's durability standards.
DeMartini told Fox News that the TPP is bad for American workers because it "reduces tariffs at twice the rate of any previous deal."
"We're the ones remaining here making shoes," said DeMartini. "Help us compete and we'll sell it at cost to the military so the U.S. consumer won't pay an extra nickel for the shoe. This shoe is the only shoe in the world that's 100 percent sourced in the United States."
He said he does not know how the deal did not work out.
"We didn't want an earmark contract and things got quiet," said DeMartini. "In the last 60 days I've had three appointments with the undersecretary of Defense, all of them cancelled within one day of appointment happening. We simply can't get through."
And he has a message for the White House: "American workers can make great product for American soldiers. It's that simple."
Matt McAlvanah, of the Federal Trade Agency, in a statement to Fox, said that its negotiators "met extensively with New Balance to achieve a strong tpp outcome. We're disappointed that new balance has changed its position on tpp based on factors outside the agreement."
But DeMartini said his company hasn't changed its position "one inch. We've been against this from the beginning. We promised the DOD that the consumer would not pay more for the product."
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Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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