Video: Sneaker Wars: The Shoelace That Binds

Video: Sneaker Wars: The Shoelace That Binds


HUDSON: Next week negotiators from eight nations will join the United States in Dallas for talks on a new trade agreement. You know what that means, right, U.S. negotiators want access to hundreds of millions of global customers. What will the U.S. give up in return? Darren Gersh reports tonight it could be some of the last jobs left here at home making shoes.

GERSH: Tom, when you buy athletic shoes, you probably don`t know it but you`re most likely paying somewhere between $5 and $15 in what`s called an import tariff. It`s a tax on imported shoes aimed at protecting jobs in the United States. And that tariff has set off a sneaker war. On one side there`s New Balance, the last company to make athletic shoes in the United
States. On the other side you`ll find retailers and companies like Nike
(NYSE:NKE). They design shoes in the United States, but they manufacture them in countries like Vietnam.

MATT PRIEST, PRES., FOOTWEAR DISTRIBUTORS & RETAILERS OF AMER.: We have a 1930`s tariff structure in the 21st century and that is really hampering our ability to grow jobs.

GERSH: The Obama administration is working on a new trade deal with Vietnam and other countries called the Trans Pacific partnership. As the world`s fastest growing shoemaker, Vietnam wants the shoe tariff eliminated and so do most American footwear companies. No surprise, New Balance disagrees.

ROB DEMARTINI, PRESIDENT & CEO, NEW BALANCE: We think that the U.S. government should be working to protect U.S. jobs and Vietnam`s already winning in this category. So giving away our 1500 and the 4,000 connected jobs from our supplier base is a situation where I don`t think we`ll get them back.

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