New Balance Takes a Run at Trans-Pacific Partnership to Protect Investment in Made in USA” Branding

Kelley Drye

Massachusetts-based New Balance has long made Made in the USA” a cornerstone claim for their athletic wear. The graphic below, from the company’s website, explains exactly what New Balance means by Made in the USA” – but recently, the company has taken further steps to make clear the importance of this claim to their brand.


As reported on NPR, New Balance has developed a shoe that is 100% made in the USA. However, the company fears that the potential finalization of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade agreement that would reduce or eliminate tariffs for certain goods flowing to and from the U.S. and eleven other countries, including countries where many competitors make athletic shoes, could create new competitive pressures. Because of the TPP, tariffs on shoes from countries such as Vietnam will eventually be eliminated, thereby making it cheaper to bring those products to the U.S. Per New Balance’s argument, this would make it harder to compete with its U.S.-based factories – thus, the decision to oppose the deal. Notably, TPP has yet to be finalized and there are hotly-contested views regarding trade on both sides of the political aisle.

This is just one example in which a trade deal can impact a company’s business decisions, including advertising claims. If your company is interested in learning more about the potential impact of the TPP on your business, please contact us to learn how Kelley Drye’s nationally-ranked International Trade Practice Group can help.