Nike Inc. has announced that it and its partners will be able to add 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. within a decade if Congress passes legislation on a new trade agreement. According to Bloomberg, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would allow for an up-or-down vote on trade deals that the president negotiated, which would essentially fast-track the president's ability to handle trade agreements.
Nike announced this just hours before President Obama arrived on its campus to speak at its headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. President Obama supports the passing of the trade agreement, but is still working to get enough members of Congress on board to make it a reality. Part of why this is becoming a difficult task is because some are wary of Nike's alleged past of providing low wages to workers overseas.
However, regardless of if Trans-Pacific Partnership is passed by Congress, Nike still plans on manufacturing more of its products in the U.S., but admit that passing the agreement would make the process easier.
Changing the model
As things currently stand, Nike is the world's largest footwear and sports apparel provider, with $28 billion in annual sales. Nearly all of the production of its items come from contracted factories overseas, the most notable being in Vietnam, China and Indonesia, according to Oregon Live. One-third of Nike's contracted factory workers can be found in Vietnam.
Nike currently has 26,000 employees in the U.S. while it employs over a million workers in other parts of the world working in over 700 factories, according to NBC News.
If approved, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could change those numbers so that more of those jobs are located within the U.S.
"We believe agreements that encourage free and fair trade allow Nike to do what we do best: innovate, expand our businesses and drive economic growth," Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker said in a news release. "Nike has always led the way in product innovation, and now we will be able to accelerate our investments to continue to drive manufacturing innovation."
All that's needed to make this transition complete is for President Obama and his supporters to convince other members of Congress to pass the legislation. Nike also made sure it was clear how much it appreciates the president's efforts.
"We commend President Obama for his strong leadership to advance these important trade initiatives," said Parker. "Our employees and our business depend on free trade and the ability to reach athletes and consumers around the world."