April 13, 2016—Over the past year, presidential candidates have used the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, to strike blows against President Barack Obama. But none of them discussed the fact that the Obama administration may have been engaged in some level of corruption all in the name of the so-called trade agreement.
According to several news sources, American shoemaker New Balance is accusing the current administration of promising the company a contract in exchange for support for the TPP. According to the company, the government urged New Balance to rethink its opposition to the trade agreement between Pacific Rim countries and promised executives it would give the company’s proposal a closer look. Once New Balance went quiet on TPP, however, the contract was never produced.
From my piece for The Advocates for Self-Government:
“According to New Balance, an American footwear company from Boston, Massachusetts, the US government allegedly promised the shoe company would get a ‘big government contract’ if the company stood by TPP.
Unfortunately for New Balance, the deal never came through.
According to the Boston Globe story, It wasn’t until 2015 that New Balance chose to stop criticizing the deal. Until then, the company resisted supporting the pact for years. If what New Balance now alleges is true, executives only chose to change their tune after the Department of Defense claimed it would consider choosing New Balance for a contract to outfit recruits.
So far, New Balance hasn’t received any official contract proposal, and New Balance now says Pentagon officials are intentionally delaying the purchase.
While the US government claims that the contract problem is not associated with TPP in any way, the company is now renewing its battle against the TPP. For all the wrong reasons.
According to Tech Dirt, New Balance claims that while most of the uniform purchased for the military is made in the United States, sneakers are the exception. With that in mind, New Balance decided to offer its products to the government, hoping to obtain a contract. That’s when a representative for the current administration ‘more or less’ asked New Balance to accept a compromise version of the trade deal in exchange for a pledge of help in pressuring the Department of Defense to expedite the government’s purchase of American-made shoes.
According to the Defense Department, New Balance didn’t get the contract because its sneakers aren’t durable or inexpensive enough. Regardless of what the government alleges, Tech Dirt claims, the idea that the government may have offered the company deal if it sided with its trade deal is ‘highly questionable.'”
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Image credit: Mike Mozart.