Touring the New Balance plant in Skowhegan | News
SKOWHEGAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- The New Balance plant in Skowhegan got a special visitor from Washington D.C. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration Paul Piquado took a tour of the facility and got to meet some of the employees.
"To come here and see you know all the people working very hard and what is a very skilled and intensive manufacturing job. I mean it really makes you appreciate what goes into that," Piquado said.
However, seeing how shoes are made was not the only reason for Piquado's visit.
"There are ongoing negotiations right now under consideration that affect footwear and textiles and things like that are tough," Piquado said.
New Balances director of public affairs Matt LeBretton said one of the things he wants to see happen with these negotiations is to keep tariffs on shoes coming into the U.S. from other countries. LeBretton said keeping tariffs would help keep prices more competitive and allow for more competition amongst shoe manufacturers.
"The market for the cost of a pair of shoes in this country is set by the importers. It's set by people who don't make shoes here," Lebretton said. "Consumers are motivated by price and a whole number of things, but if our shoes that were made in the
U.S. are considerably higher just because they're made in the U.S. that business model wouldn't last very long."
By visiting Skowhegan Piquado was able to see how the manufacturing plant works and hear directly from New Balance what it wants to see in future trade agreements.
"As we consider promoting American manufacturing, we should certainly consider the footwear industries, as well as when we have discussions with our ongoing trading relationships that it's important to consider the concerns of American industry and American footwear association," Piquado said.
New Balance hopes that Washington D.C. makes decisions that will help New Balance remain a strong company and make shoes for years to come.