Will someone please explain to me HOW lowering trade barriers (Trans-Pacific Partnership) will lead Nike to manufacture shoes in the U.S. (using American labor rates)?  I had to make that last statement  so we don’t confuse things as they’ve done in Italy where “Made in Italy” frequently means made within the borders of Italy by Chinese immigrants, at Chinese wages.

I thought, okay, Nike can figure this out.

Phil Knight and his crew will build automated shoe manufacturing facilities in the Nevada desert, right next to the new Tesla battery manufacturing site!   Or maybe they’ll market a “premium” line of athletic products that are “Made in the U.S.” while continuing to market “regular” apparel manufactured overseas (of course, using overseas labor rates).  The premium shoes will sell retail for $675/pair while a pair made the traditional way will only set you back $89/pair.

TPP is up +15 percent over the prior year and currently drives an 84 media rating.  There is certainly no lack of media attention on the President’s key legislative initiative for 2015.

Nike spins a good story around its cleaned up labor practices, but the company still hasn’t signed-on to the broad global agreement to help clean up offshore manufacturing operations.  But no amount of corporate spin can erase the memories of Nike’s horrific labor practices in Asia during the 90’s.  Cheap Nike athletic apparel came at a very steep human price, something the Obama TPP team are either too young to remember, or too distracted to consider.


The Nike TPP Tour

President Obama’s recent tour through Oregon to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement raised even more questions when he used Nike as an example of how the agreement would create thousands of US jobs when/if trade barriers are lifted with our trading partners in the Asia Pacific region.

You did say U.S. jobs?

Stories about Nike, manufacturing and Asia simply lead to child labor, wages and US Job stories in the media.  Nike doesn’t exactly have the strongest track record on these issues.  But regardless of how TPP and Nike fair over the ensuing months, the media is still trying to wrap its editorial grey matter around how falling trade barriers brings jobs back to the U.S.