President Obama is at the headquarters of Nike in Portland, OR, today to promote the benefits of his trade policy and show the American people why the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is good for American manufacturing. However, this trip just might backfire. It has the potential to show the American people why free-trade agreements often result in fewer benefits for U.S. manufacturing and far more benefits for the so-called "partners."
There are a number of reasons why this trip might not paint a good picture of the president's trade policy. First, as the National Journal pointed out in a May 6 commentary ("Why Is Obama Visiting Nike to Promote His Trade Bill?"), last year Nike made $12.4 billion in profits, "thanks in large part to one million subcontracted workers at factories primarily in low-wage countries in Asia."
Controversy has swirled around many large U.S. corporations that outsource manufacturing to Asian countries to take advantage of a low-wage workforce, with media accusing them of them of having factories with "sweatshop conditions and illegally low wages to produce sneakers and clothes that Nike then sells in much wealthier countries," said the National Journal.