U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday she does not support the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), rejecting a central tenet of President Barack Obama's strategic pivot to Asia, according to Reuters.
Clinton, who backed the developing trade pact when she was secretary of state during Obama's first term, said she was worried the agreement would not do enough to crack down on currency manipulation or protect consumers from excessively high drug prices.
"The bar here is very high and, based on what I have seen, I don't believe the agreement has met it," Clinton said in a statement issued during a campaign swing through Iowa.
"I don’t believe we can afford to keep giving new agreements the benefit of the doubt. The risks are too high that, despite our best efforts, they will end up doing more harm than good," Clinton said.
The TPP deal, reached on Monday after marathon talks between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, aims to liberalize commerce in 40 percent of the world's economy and would be a legacy-defining victory for Obama.
Clinton's opposition, however, could help her shore up support from labor groups and liberal Democrats who oppose the pact out of concern it will cost manufacturing jobs and weaken environmental laws.
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Editors Insight: If Hillary Clinton and other opponents of this measure think it needs more assurances to create jobs, raise wages and protect national security, they should propose suggestions to this effect. According to today’s reports, Hillary Clinton has not done this. What’s even more troubling about her opposition is that according to The Wall Street Journal, candidate Clinton has not even read the text of the agreement and has not seen all of the details. While admitting as much, in her prepared statement she says “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”
Candidate Clinton says she opposes the agreement because it falls short of what she sees as its goals: to create jobs, to raise wages and protect national security. What someone needs to advise her is that the agreement will also increase the availability of affordable food to developing nations.
What we do know about the agreement is that it will lower trade barriers to 12 countries around the Pacific, including developing economies such as Vietnam and Malaysia. Food Logistics yesterday reported that agriculture exporters were planning to gear up for increased business because of the trade agreement’s progress.
Unfortunately, candidate Clinton’s opposition in and of itself will undermine the process and will encourage other lawmakers to join her in opposing the agreement.
This week’s excitement over the agreement might have been premature. But this does not mean the deal is dead. The food and logistics industries need to keep the pressure on their elected officials to support the trade agreement. 10-8-15 By Elliot Maras