May 9, 2015

NATIONAL JOURNAL: At Nike, Obama Offers Loud Defense of Trade Deals: The president says trade pacts won’t undermine his efforts to rescue the economy after the great recession.

Well, you can’t undermine a sinkhole. Still, not everyone is happy:

Nike has been Exhibit A for trade-deal critics for years. It was among the first American companies to build a business based on manufacturing products in low-wage countries for sale domestically. It has faced allegations since the 1990s that it contracts with what amount to overseas sweatshops.

The company has aggressively marketed its attempts to enforce better labor standards at the 800 factories from which it buys shoes and clothing in Asia and Indonesia. Last year it reported profits of $12.4 billion and a profit margin of 45 percent.

The “fast-track” authority bill would limit congressional input on trade agreements to simple up-or-down votes, without the ability to make any changes. Most presidents in recent decades have had this latitude, but the last such law expired in 2007. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, still under negotiation, would lower tariffs and other trade barriers among the United States and 11 other countries around the Pacific Rim on four continents.

I don’t trust the deal, which has been all-too-secretive.

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