from the wow dept
However, the Boston Globe has quite a story about one such company, the sneaker company New Balance, which was quite worried about how the TPP would increase competition from shoemakers in Vietnam. Again, I find those concerns to be overblown, but the next part of the story is where it gets interesting: New Balance is now claiming that it stopped publicly complaining about the TPP after the US government more or less promised it a big government contract, which never came through:
After several years of resistance to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact aimed at making it easier to conduct trade among the United States and 11 other countries, the Boston company had gone quiet last year. New Balance officials say one big reason is that they were told the Department of Defense would give them serious consideration for a contract to outfit recruits with athletic shoes.The US government, of course, is insisting the issue of a contract is entirely separate from the TPP, but New Balance said an explicit offer was made. The company notes that while most of the uniform worn by the military is American made, there has always been an exception for sneakers because so few were actually fully made in the US. New Balance apparently decided to change that in hopes of getting a government contract, and the administration more or less said that this would work if New Balance shut up about opposing the TPP:
But no order has been placed, and New Balance officials say the Pentagon is intentionally delaying any purchase.
New Balance is reviving its fight against the trade deal...
In 2014, the Pentagon relented. With competition among US manufacturers, officials said they were ready to consider domestically made shoes.The Globe claims that the Defense Department says the reason that it didn't give New Balance a deal was because its shoes weren't durable or cheap enough, but even if that's true, the very idea that the government more or less tried to buy off the company's opposition to the TPP seems highly questionable.
LeBretton said a representative for the Obama administration then asked New Balance to accept a compromise version of the trade deal, partly in exchange for a pledge of help getting the Department the Defense to expedite the purchase of US-made shoes.
Of course, I wonder, should the TPP get ratified and should the Defense Department then agree that it will only buy American made sneakers... one wonders if Vietnamese sneaker makers would then have an ISDS corporate sovereignty case against the US government? After all, it would be harming "future profits" that the Vietnamese sneaker-makers would have been expecting, and a "buy American" rule could clearly be seen as a non-tariff trade barrier to foreign goods, no?