26 May Trade Pitch Turns Obama into Salesman for Vietnam Shoes
Each year, tens of millions of pairs of shoes made in Vietnam find their way into stores in the United States, from Macy’s and Nike to Target and Walmart.
And if President Barack Obama uses his first trip to Vietnam to sell a sweeping 12-nation trade pact – slashing tariffs on products imported to the United States – Americans could see even more Vietnam-made shoes in their local stores, kicking up concerns by those already uneasy about the still sluggish American economy.
Though Japan has received much of the attention, it’s actually Vietnam, with one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economies, that has the most to gain from the Trans Pacific Partnership. The deal would allow Vietnam’s manufacturing industry – already booming because of low labor costs – to export more products to the United States, primarily clothes, textiles and shoes.