Twenty-seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter to the country's trade representative, Ron Kirk, asking him to ensure that the footwear industry was treated fairly in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP creates a new free-trade zone and is lauded as an opportunity for the U.S. to support high-value design, engineering and marketing jobs in the industry. The easing of tariffs that were set decades ago will free up money for American companies to invest in research and development, supporters of the TPP say.