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U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman Tours New Balance Shoe Factory in Maine

July 29th 2013

New Balance Factory hosts Obama Administration Official to discuss Trans-Pacific Partnership and support for the U.S. footwear manufacturing industry

NORRIDGEWOCK, ME -

Boston-based U.S. athletic footwear manufacturer New Balance hosted a visit by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman today at the company's Norridgewock, Maine factory. Ambassador Froman toured the facility to learn about New Balance's production techniques with company President and CEO Rob DeMartini and Norridgewock Plant Manager Raye Wentworth. Froman met with members of the Maine Congressional delegation as well as New Balance associates to discuss footwear and American jobs in light of the ongoing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"I want to thank Ambassador Froman for taking time out of his schedule to visit our factory and share his vision for the domestic footwear industry. This meeting today with Mr. Froman and our Maine congressional delegation was ultimately about one thing – keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States," said DeMartini. "We appreciate the delicate nature of international trade negotiations but we hope that Ambassador Froman leaves our factory knowing there are American workers who will be directly impacted by the decisions that he and the President make during the coming days. The associates in our New England factories work every day to make great products and these jobs ensure strong communities and a stronger nation. All we ask is that any decisions made in Washington respect these American workers and ensure that the ability to manufacture in this country does not end."

"I'm grateful for the chance to meet the people of New Balance here in Norridgewock, and for their input as the United States continues to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement," said Ambassador Froman. "Our goal in negotiating the TPP is to craft a high-standard, 21st-century trade agreement that supports American jobs – including in Maine – through more exports and more trade with the dynamic economies of the Asia-Pacific. USTR is pleased to be working with American businesses like New Balance and with the members of Maine's congressional delegation to craft an agreement that achieves these important goals for Maine families and for the entire U.S. economy."

"Domestic footwear production accounts for more than 4,000 U.S. jobs, including approximately 900 jobs at New Balance's facilities in Maine. These jobs, however, depend on the ability of American firms to continue to compete on a fair playing field in the global market," said U.S. Senator Susan Collins. "Sound trade policy is imperative to maintaining and increasing the number of good manufacturing jobs in Maine and the rest of the United States. I welcome Ambassador Froman to Maine. I am confident he will work to negotiate aggressively and implement a trade policy that honors the commitment of the hardworking employees at New Balance who fulfill their end of the bargain by performing their work with painstaking precision and quality control."

"Over 1300 jobs at New Balance are at risk and my hope is today's visit is a solid step to making them more secure. Ambassador Froman was able to see firsthand the quality work that is produced and hear the concerns of the employees about the future of the industry," said U.S. Senator Angus King. "If the Trans Pacific Partnership does not address the needs of US athletic footwear manufacturers, the ramifications will be significant. It makes no sense whatsoever to support a position that reduces trade protections and takes away American jobs. We cannot undercut our own people."

"I'd like to thank Ambassador Froman for coming to Maine. We've talked a lot about trade together and it's great to have him here to see firsthand the workers and businesses his actions directly impact," said U.S. Representative Mike Michaud. "What happens with the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations will shape international trade, and our economy, for decades to come. We have to get it right. Talks between the U.S. and Vietnam have already gotten underway, so having Ambassador Froman here couldn't come at a more critical time. I know he will take what he's learned in Maine and keep up the fight for American workers and businesses as negotiations continue."

About New Balance

New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is currently the only athletic shoe company that manufactures footwear in the U.S. with 25% of our U.S. footwear shipments produced at five New England facilities. The company also operates a manufacturing facility in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than 4000 associates around the globe, and in 2011 reported worldwide sales of $2.04 billion. To learn more about how New Balance Makes Excellent Happen, please visit http://www.newbalance.com.

About Michael Froman

Michael Froman was sworn in as the 11th United States Trade Representative (USTR) on June 21, 2013. As USTR, he is President Obama's principal advisor, negotiator and spokesperson on international trade and investment issues.

Ambassador Froman leads the Office of the United States Trade Representative in its work to open global markets for U.S. goods and services, enforce America's rights in the global trading system, and foster development through trade. Key initiatives ongoing under his leadership are negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in the Asia Pacific; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union; negotiation of agreements on services, information technology and trade facilitation at the World Trade Organization; and monitoring and enforcement U.S. trade rights, including through the Interagency Trade and Enforcement Center (ITEC).

Prior to becoming USTR, Ambassador Froman served at the White House as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, where he was responsible for coordinating policy on international trade and finance, energy security and climate change, and development and democracy issues. He served as the U.S. Sherpa for the G20 and G8 Summits, and staffed the President for the APEC Leaders Meetings. In addition, he chaired or co-chaired the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, the Transatlantic Economic Council, the U.S.-India CEO Forum and the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ambassador Froman served in a number of roles at Citigroup and as a Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and a Resident Fellow at the German Marshall Fund.

In the 1990's, Ambassador Froman spent seven years in the U.S. Government. He served as Chief of Staff and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Eurasia and the Middle East at the U.S. Department of Treasury. He also worked at the White House, where he served as a Director for International Economic Affairs at the National Security Council and National Economic Council.

Ambassador Froman received a bachelor's degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, a doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University and law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He was born in California. He, his wife, Nancy Goodman, and their two living children, Benjamin and Sarah, reside in Washington, D.C.

Media Contact:

Amy Dow,
New Balance ,
amy.dow@newbalance.com,
617-746-2214

Paula Gates,
Regan Communications,
pgates@regancomm.com,
212-228-1500