Friday, June 12, 2015

Hillary on the TPP: "I want to judge the final agreement"

Where does Hillary Clinton stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

We don't know, because she doesn't know...because she hasn't seen it yet. Being a private citizen instead of a member of Congress means that she isn't even allowed to see the final agreement. Say what you want about this situation, but even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is at the mercy of it.

So why doesn't she speak up anyway? Well, if there's one thing we should all know about Hillary, it's that she's a detail-oriented policy wonk. If she knows only the broad outlines of the policy but not all the details, no one should expect her to take a firm stand on whether it should become law. Put simply, she has made clear that she wants to judge the final agreement.

However, we do know this much: She has reservations about this trade deal.

At a recent roundtable discussion in Iowa, a voter asked her about it. Her response:
"Any trade deal that I would support must increase jobs, must increase wages, must give us more economic competitive power around the world to sell our products — and must be good for our national security," Clinton said. "And there are questions being raised about this current agreement. It hasn't been fully negotiated yet, so I don't know what the final provisions are yet."
She insisted that the deal would need to be strong on health and environmental rules, and, she said it must address currency manipulation. "I want to judge the final agreement," Clinton said.
She also pointed to a section in her book, "Hard Choices," that criticized an international arbitration procedure that she said "gives corporations more power to overturn health, labor and environmental rules than consumers have.
And she added that the deal "hasn't been fully negotiated yet, so I don't know what the final provisions are yet. But it needs to be very strong on health and environmental rules. It needs to try to address either directly or indirectly the manipulation of currency by countries that would be our trading partners because that's been a big source of us not being as competitive as we want to be."
Here is her full response. Judge for yourself:

Also, here is the section of Hard Choices where she addresses the TPP:
Currently the United States is negotiating comprehensive agreements with eleven countries in Asia and in North and South America, and with the European Union. We should be focused on ending currency manipulation, environmental destruction, and miserable working conditions in developing countries, as well as harmonizing regulations with the EU. And we should avoid some of the provisions sought by business interests, including our own, like giving them or their investors the power to sue foreign governments to weaken their environmental and public health rules, as Philip Morris is already trying to do in Australia. The United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors.
If fast track passes, we should know pretty quickly whether Hillary Clinton gives the Trans-Pacific Partnership a thumbs up or thumbs down...because she'll be able to read the whole thing just like the rest of us. Until then, all we'll probably have is her clear-cut requirements about what kind of trade deal she would support.

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