With 1,350 employees in its five U.S. factories, New Balance is proud it still produces 7 million pairs of shoes each year at its plants in Maine and Massachusetts, the last major athletic-footwear company that still has manufacturing jobs in the United States.
But the company says those jobs could disappear if the U.S. scraps its tariff on athletic footwear coming in from Vietnam.
It's part of the mounting anxiety over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest trade pact proposed in U.S. history. And as 400 negotiators from nine countries met privately at a Northern Virginia golf course last week in an attempt to finalize details, New Balance officials weren't the only ones fretting.
Autoworkers feared the loss of 26,500 domestic jobs and said the production of American cars would fall if Japan joins the pact and the United States drops a 2.5 percent tariff on Japanese cars, making them cheaper to buy.
Doctors worried that it will be harder to get medicines to fight AIDS and other diseases in developing countries if U.S. negotiators insist on extending patents for pharmaceutical companies.
And many members of Congress and other critics lamented that such big decisions were being made in secret at a luxury resort far from public view.
.....opponents derided the new trade pact as "NAFTA on steroids," a reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement passed by Congress in 1993 that opponents say led to U.S. jobs moving to Mexico, backers predicted the Trans-Pacific deal would increase U.S. exports, create more jobs and lower prices for American consumers.
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