Top Trade Stories To Watch Now: Obama Fights For TPP, Salazar Draws Liberal Skeptics

Obama Hits The Road Supporting TPP

President Barack Obama isn’t letting his economic legacy go down without a fight. The president released this week more than 30 pro Trans-Pacific Partnership events for during the remainder of the congressional recess. The goal of the events is to support at-risk Demcorats and those supporting the deal. The 12-nation trade agreement is a signature achievement for Obama, but has been stymied by anti-trade rhetoric from both leading presidential candidates. Some worry the move to push for the deal could jeopardize Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s chances at the White House.

Hillary Transition Team Draws Anti-TPP Ire

Hillary Clinton is raising eyebrows from the anti-TPP crowd with her newly named transition team leader: Ken Salazar, the former U.S. secretary of the interior who previously served as a senator and attorney general in Colorado. Salazar is pro-TPP, so this move could heighten the story line that Clinton isn’t really anti-TPP and will flip-flop back to supporting the deal if she’s elected, possibly adding fuel to Donald Trump’s popularity with blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt. The four other co-chairs include one of President Obama’s former national security advisers, Tom Donilon, and aide Neera Tanden, who is now at the Center for American Politics. Maggie Williams, director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm round out the team.

FDRA: Kids Duties Up; Call A Sneaker A Sneaker

According to two reports from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, there are big things to note in the athletic industry. In one special report released this week, the FDRA said that in the past decade, tariffs on kids’ footwear has increased 191 percent. Last year, of a $2.9 billion total footwear duty bill, children’s footwear paid $307 million. The industry organization said it was pushing hard for the TPP because with the deal, the heavy duties on children’s sneakers, boots and dress shoes would over time be cut to zero.

Additionally, the FDRA pushed hard for a reclassification of what qualifies as a true athletic shoe. Many athleisure styles, such as Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars and Keds, are classified as true athletic styles and therefore taxed at a higher rate during imports. The FDRA is asking the government to reconsider the classification and definition of true athletic footwear and exempt other more decorative or athleisure styles that are not performance-driven.

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