In regards to passing the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Obama says, “Just do it.” Obama addressed a packed house at Nike’s world headquarters in Beavertown, Oregon on Friday to show support for the trade deals. Nike has been a giant advocate for TPP, as it is responsible for one percent of all duties collected by the U.S. The deal has the potential to end all footwear import taxes from TPP partners.
Leading up to Obama’s visit, Nike announced plans to accelerate investment in advanced footwear manufacturing in the United States if TPA is passed and a TPP agreement is finalized. Nike said the tariff relief would allow the company to place more resources toward the development of new advanced manufacturing methods and a domestic supply chain to support U.S.-based manufacturing. Nike estimates the manufacturing model would lead to the creation of up to 10,000 manufacturing and engineering jobs in the U.S., in addition to construction jobs, indirect supply chain and service jobs. A Nike spokesperson said it was too soon to know when and where facilities would open.
Nike president Mark Parker said free trade is critical for driving future growth. “Nike is a company that stands for a lot of things: innovative products, pursuing athletic potential-but we are also proof that trade works. And we believe that companies should see that kind of success, all companies. We see it every day at Nike,” he said. “Free trade opens doors. It removes barriers, it creates jobs. It lets us invest more in the things that matter. And that’s innovation. It’s creativity, and people.”
Parker added, “A free flow of goods in the global economy unleashes our capacity to invest and to innovate.”
Nike contributes an annual economic impact to Oregon of more than $2.5 billion. It currently manufactures footwear air soles in Oregon and Missouri and has relationships with manufacturing partners across the country, and employs 26,000 Americans, including 8,500 in Oregon.
President Obama was gifted with a collection of custom Nikes. In an interview with CNBC, Parker said the President will get the first pair of Jordan MTM shoes, a collaboration between himself, Tinker Hatfield and Michael Jordan. Nike also designed a pair of one-of-a-kind hybrid Nike Air Force 1 sneakers in red white and blue, and a pair of custom Nike Flyknits for the POTUS.