MT. VERNON, IOWA -- In yet another move that would distance herself from the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday announced her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying that “what I know about it as of today I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.”
Clinton came out against the trade agreement as it looks today in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff, adding “Trade agreements don’t happen in a vacuum. In order for us to have a competitive economy in the global marketplace there are things we need to do here at home that help raise wages. And Republicans have blocked everything President Obama has tried to do on that front. So for the larger issues and then what I know and then again I don’t have the text we don’t have all the details, I don’t believe it is going to meet the high bar I have set.”
The move comes two days after the White House announced it had reached an agreement on the deal, known as TPP. The pact sets trade rules for 40% of the world’s economy and involves 12 countries, including the United States.
Clinton has refrained from taking a stance on TPP as a presidential candidate, saying she wants to see the final provisions before deciding. In recent months, however, Clinton has appeared to distance herself from the pact, which she promoted as secretary of state.
Clinton’s opposition today puts her on the side of her Democratic presidential challenger, Bernie Sanders, who is firmly against the deal and calls it “disastrous” for consumers and U.S. job creation.
After Clinton came out against the trade agreement, another one of her Democratic opponents, Martin O’Malley, reacted saying, "Secretary Clinton can justify her own reversal of opinion on this. I didn't have one opinion eight months ago and switch that opinion on the eve of a debate."
President Obama, a fierce supporter of the deal, says the partnership "levels the playing field for our farmers, ranchers, and manufacturers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes that various countries put on our products.”
Vice President Biden, who could soon decide to challenge Clinton and Sanders in the presidential race, also supports the deal.
In June, Clinton said that pact would need to "protect American workers, raise wages and create new jobs at home" and be in “our national security interest” in order for her to support it.
“If we don't get it,” Clinton said at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, “there should be no deal.”
Today, Clinton made clear that she does not believe those provisions were met.
"I have said from the very beginning that we have to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs raise wages and advance our national security," she said. "And I still believe that’s a high bar we have to meet. I have been trying to learn as much as I can about the agreement but I’m worried.”
This move by Clinton marks her third break with the president in recent days including calling for a no-fly zone in Syria and saying the president’s increased enforcement of deportation laws was a mistake.
Prior to being a presidential candidate, Clinton made comments that seemed to be in support of TPP. Speaking in Australia in 2012, Clinton said "TPP 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 memoir “Hard Choices” Clinton called it “a strategic initiative that would strengthen the position of the United States in Asia.”
She does note that since “TPP negotiations are still ongoing, it makes sense to reserve judgment until we can evaluate the final proposed agreement.”