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New Balance's sneaker fight with Pentagon hits Congress

in Kino/Filme 18.07.2016 10:01
von Marcus | 3 Beiträge

New Balance Trainers has taken its nearly decade-long fight with the Pentagon over the sale of athletic shoes to the halls of Congress, which is currently debating the annual appropriations bill that funds the Pentagon.

According to the Massachusetts-based company, defense officials are ignoring a little-known 1941 federal law called the Berry Amendment that requires the Pentagon to outfit members of the military in uniforms and other equipment that are "100 percent made in the U.S." The Pentagon has argued that it should be exempt from the law because it says New Balance Sale shoes are too expensive and not durable enough. New Balance Mens rejects those claims.

"We went after this seven years ago because we found out what the Berry Amendment was," he said in an interview. "We had no idea what it was before that .... Doing the program at cost isn't necessarily what we are looking to do but what we want to see, though is for the Pentagon to follow the law."

A spokesman for the Pentagon didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

New Balance Unisex has found bipartisan support for its fight with the Pentagon even in the sharply partisan atmosphere in Washington, D.C. An amendment that would require the Pentagon to apply the Berry Amendment to sneaker purchases is part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). That bill recently cleared the powerful House Armed Services Committee and is expected to be voted on by the full House in the coming weeks. Members of the Senate are due to consider their version of the NDAA soon.

About 2 percent of athletic footwear sold in the U.S. is made here as manufacturers flocked to low-wage countries such as China and Vietnam decades ago. New Balance Womens and rival Wolverine Worldwide (WWW), maker of Saucony sneakers, which would also benefit from the Tsongas legislation, are the exceptions. Wolverine also makes combat boots and dress shoes for the military.

"It is unfortunate that, despite a strong outcome in TPP that advances the interest of U.S. footwear workers, New Balance now appears to be changing its position on TPP in response to the Pentagon's separate procurement process," wrote Matthew. W. McAlvanah, a USTR spokesman, in an email.

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