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New Balance claims Defense Dept. reneged on agreement

Officials at New Balance told The Boston Globe that the Department of Defense has reneged on a promise to give the shoe company a shot at securing a lucrative military contract.

New Balance executives told the Globe the Pentagon said the shoemaker would be one of several American companies in the running for a lucrative contract to outfit recruits if the company agreed to “either support or remain neutral” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal New Balance believes would lower tariffs and effectively kill the company’s New England factory jobs.

The shoe company said its renewed opposition comes after the military reneged on this deal, according to the Globe. For the military to use an American shoe maker would be a first: A piece of 1940s-era legislation called the Berry Amendment requires nearly every piece of military gear to be made in the United States, but athletic shoes were exempt from this rule.

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The Department of Defense said that New Balance’s shoes were not selected because they didn’t meet desired quality standards.

“It is unfortunate that, despite a strong outcome in TPP that advances the interest of US footwear workers, New Balance now appears to be changing its position on TPP in response to the Pentagon’s separate procurement process,” Pentagon spokesman Matt McAlvanah said in a statement to the Globe.

Read the full story here.

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