SKOWHEGAN — Import tariffs on foreign-made footwear and the impact on jobs in Maine will be the topic of discussion Wednesday at a public forum on trade.

The forum, hosted by the Citizen Trade Policy Commission, is set for 5:30-8 p.m. in the Skowhegan Community Center on Poulin Drive, off U.S. Route 2.

Hundreds of jobs at three New Balance shoe company plants in Maine — including one in Skowhegan and another in Norridgewock — are at stake, said state Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan.

“The meeting is another opportunity to hear from workers about how important these local jobs are,” McCabe said in a release.

McCabe and Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, have been advocating for existing tariffs to remain in place. On the table, is an international free trade agreement, the Transpacific Partnership, which is under negotiation among the U.S. and 10 other countries.

The goal of the partnership is to create jobs in the U.S. by increasing exports of industrial goods, agricultural products and textiles to parts of Asia and the Pacific Rim. The agreement, also could lift some tariffs, or import duties, on goods such as athletic footwear, making imported, foreign-made shoes cheaper to buy than those made in the U.S., hurting American workers.

The trade policy commission monitors the impact of international trade policy on Maine residents. It is made up of legislators, businesses and labor representatives, who make policy recommendations designed to protect Maine jobs.

In September, McCabe and Treat met with trade negotiators in Virginia to discuss the potential impact the trade agreement could have on Maine.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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