In an interview with PBS’s Judy Woodruff in between campaign events in Iowa, Hillary Clinton announced her opposition to President Obama’s major trade deal: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The Democratic frontrunner came out in opposition because of too many “unanswered questions” surrounding the backdoor deal with 11 Pacific Rim nations including Japan:
As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about. I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security. And I still believe that’s the high bar we have to meet. I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement. But I’m worried. I’m worried about currency manipulation not being part of the agreement. We’ve lost American jobs to the manipulations that countries, particularly in Asia, have engaged in. I’m worried the pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits — and patients and consumers fewer. I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
For months, Democrats and progressives have been demanding Clinton take a formal stand on the trade deal. Back in 2012, Clinton referred to the deal as a “gold standard” of trade. In her memoir “Hard Choices” she expressed opposition to a public provision of the deal known as “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” which allows for corporations to challenge domestic laws and regulations before a trade court.
Clinton also admitted the Obama Administration’s push to open up better markets with a South Korean trade agreement failed, saying:
I know when President Obama came into office, he inherited a trade agreement with South Korea. I, along with other members of the Cabinet, pushed hard to get a better agreement. We think we made improvements. Now, looking back on it, it doesn’t have the results we thought it would have, in terms of access to the markets, more exports, etc.
Now that Clinton has — finally — taken a position on the Keystone Pipeline and now the TPP, her standing with progressives (who are not eyeing her with suspicion) will make her now as competitive with environmental-friendly challengers Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley. The position will also throw a wrench in the Republican talking point that Clinton is a mouthpiece for the Obama Administration, or will be an Obama 2.0.
Watch Clinton’s remarks, courtesy of PBS:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jeh-14A8Rbc]
Featured image a screen caption from PBS