Press Releases

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Tours New Balance Shoe Factory in Maine

September 13th 2012

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 Ron Kirk today at the company’s Norridgewock, Maine factory. Ambassador Kirk toured the facility to learn about New Balance’s production techniques with company President and CEO Rob DeMartini and Norridgewock Plant Manager Raye Wentworth. Kirk also met with 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 the people at New Balance for giving me the opportunity to visit their Norridgewock factory, and for their willingness to engage with USTR as we negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Our negotiators are working to get a strong deal for American workers and businesses, and we intend to negotiate a high-standard agreement that supports and retains American jobs," says Ambassador Kirk.

“Making shoes in America is what we stand for at New Balance and today Ambassador Kirk had an opportunity to see our manufacturing firsthand, says DeMartini. “We greatly appreciate the Ambassador’s willingness to travel to Maine and talk to the people that make our shoes. We are hopeful that the Ambassador will take with him what he learned today - that making shoes in America provides good jobs, supports our local communities and our nation, and needs to be preserved. As the free trade negotiations move forward, we will continue to advocate on behalf of our more than 1300 manufacturing associates and the 38 small businesses in the U.S. that supply our domestic manufacturing. We are encouraged by the Ambassador’s visit and by his openness to hearing our perspective on this crucial matter of public policy, manufacturing and American jobs.”

Ambassador Kirk’s visit to New Balance’s Norridgewock facility was prompted by an invitation extended during a meeting with Kirk and New Balance associates during “Made in America Footwear Day” on Capitol Hill this past July.

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

About Ron Kirk

Ambassador Ron Kirk is the United States Trade Representative (USTR), a member of President Obama’s Cabinet who serves as the President's principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues.

Since Ambassador Kirk was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2009, he has led the Obama Administration’s market-opening negotiations and dialogue with trading partners around the world, including advancing regional Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, and sustaining U.S. engagement at the World Trade Organization.

Ambassador Kirk brings both public service and private sector experience to USTR. He served two terms as the first African-American mayor of Dallas. Prior to becoming mayor, he served as Texas Secretary of State under Governor Ann Richards. In addition, Ambassador Kirk has practiced law as a partner in the international law firm Vinson & Elkins, LLP. He was named one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal in 2008.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Ambassador Kirk graduated from Austin College and earned his law degree at the University of Texas School of Law. Ambassador Kirk is married to Matrice Ellis-Kirk and they have two daughters.

Media Contact:

Amy Dow,
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Paul Gates,
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