Hillary Clinton has finally weighed in on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership and says that she is against it in its current form.
“As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” Clinton said in an interview with PBS News Hour’s Judy Woodruff. “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”
Clinton’s opposition puts her at odds with President Obama, who is aggressively pushing the deal, which sets up trade pacts between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific and Asian nations. In touting the deal, the Obama administration claims that it will eliminate 18,000 tariffs on American exports while solidifying the U.S.’s leadership role in the global economy.
But Clinton faces pressure from progressives within the Democratic party who oppose the measure out of fear that it will benefit corporations and send American jobs overseas. Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly opposes the deal and has recently called for Clinton to weigh in.
“I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement, but I’m worried,” Clinton said, laying out several of concern with the deal, which was finalized on Monday but still faces approval from Congress.
“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,” Clinton said.
She said that the deal does not address currency manipulations undertaken by many Asian countries which have cost American jobs. She also asserted that the deal provides more benefits to pharmaceutical companies than it does to patients and consumers.
She also cautioned that trade agreements often fail to live up to expectations.
“We’ve learned a lot about trade agreements in the past years. Sometimes they look great on paper,” she said, while pointing out that a South Korean trade agreement enacted during her tenure in the Obama administration “doesn’t have the results we thought it would have in terms of access to the markets, more exports, etc.”
While Clinton opposes the deal now, she was much more supportive of it before launching her 2016 presidential campaign.
During a speech in Australia as secretary of state in 2012, Clinton praised TPP saying that it “sets the gold standard in trade agreements to “open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment.”
And in her 2014 book, “Hard Choices,” Clinton asserted that TPP helps Americans by removing “trade barriers while raising standards on labor, the environment, and intellectual property.”
“It was also important for American workers, who would benefit from competing on a more level playing field. And it was a strategic initiative that would strengthen the position of the United States in Asia,” she added.
In June, CNN published a list of 45 times that Clinton claimed she supported TPP.