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Obama makes case for Asia trade pact

Friday, May 08, 2015 - 02:11

''If we don't write the rules for trade around the world, guess what: China will,'' Obama said as he outlined trade deal during visit to Nike. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: President Barack Obama on Friday pressed fellow Democrats to support his push for a trade deal with Asian countries, promoting the benefits he sees as attainable in a visit to sneaker maker Nike on Friday. Obama wants the U.S. Congress to give him "fast-track" authority so he can finalize the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership deal. He needs support from Democrats, many of whom are wary the deal would help companies move operations to cheaper offshore locales. The president, in a speech at Nike headquarters, said, "Some folks think we should just withdraw and not even try to engage in trade with these countries. I disagree." "If we don't write the rules for trade around the world, guess what: China will," Obama said. "We're not going to be able to isolate ourselves from world markets, he added." The Beaverton, Oregon-based company produces its shoes at more than 700 contract factories, a third of which are in Vietnam, a participant in the Pacific trade pact. Labor and environmental groups protested Obama's appearance at Nike, which they argued epitomizes the problems with trade deals. Nike was reviled in the 1990s for using Asian sweatshops, but it says it has worked to address poor working conditions at its contract plants. Nike has 26,000 U.S. employees and more than 1 million workers in its contract factories worldwide that manufacture its shoes. Its top-end soccer and baseball shoes retail for more than $300. An administration official said an approach by Nike to the White House about the trade deal led to the trip. White House aides have been coy all week about why they chose Nike, which suffered for years from a tarnished image for using Asian sweatshops.

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Obama makes case for Asia trade pact

Friday, May 08, 2015 - 02:11