While President Obama presented few policy proposals in his last State of the Union address, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was one of the highlights of the night.
The deal, which was finalized in October after five years of negotiations, has the potential to be a huge economic boon for footwear. The deal eliminates tariffs on exports and imports in the 12 member countries, including Vietnam and Japan.
“[TPP] cuts 18,000 taxes on products Made in America, which will then supports more good jobs in America. With TPP, China doesn’t set the rules in that region — we do. You want to show our strength in this new century? Approve this agreement. Give us the tools to enforce it. It’s the right thing to do,” said Obama during the State of the Union.
Industry groups offered their take on the President’s last State of the Union address. Here’s what they had to say:
Matt Priest, President, Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America
“This was billed as not your typical ticker-tape list of policy proposals … so it was great to see that the TPP was one of the items included as a specific policy goal for the President. I think this will certainly help provide momentum for the deal.”
Steve Lamar, EVP, American Apparel & Footwear Association
“The President in his remarks mentioned TPP and the significance of this agreement and how it can open markets. Once it enters into force, TPP will result in the immediate elimination of about $450 million duties currently being assessed on U.S. footwear imports from Vietnam. We know there are still issues to be resolved, and the Administration and Congress will need to work together on those issues to set the stage for Congressional consideration.”
David French, SVP Government Relations, National Retail Federation
“[Almost 7] million retail and restaurant jobs in the United States are supported by international trade, and NRF is pleased the President mentioned passing TPP in his address to Congress. However, we are disappointed the President failed to mention tax reform, which is key to solving the biggest crisis facing this country: persistent lack of economic growth. Tax reform could help create 2 million jobs in the next year, and our failure to cut high corporate tax rates has trimmed $3,000 from US families’ spending power. It was a missed opportunity by the President.”