Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has reassured her supporters that she would oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement if elected president.
“I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Clinton said during a speech on Thursday in Michigan.
“I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president,” Clinton said, adding that she would appoint a trade prosecutor to ramp up enforcement of existing trade deals.
Clinton’s hard line to the TPP came after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday attacked her over trade deals. Trump said Clinton “will enact the TPP” if elected president, which he claimed would have a devastating impact on the US auto industry, Xinhua news agency reported.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe had also previously said that Clinton would support the TPP deal or seek to renegotiate it if elected president.
But John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign, responded at the time that “she is against it before the election and after the election.”
Clinton supported the TPP while she was secretary of state, but came out against it after the deal was completed last year. She said the TPP in current form did not meet her “high bar” for creating good American jobs, raising wages and advancing national security.
President Barack Obama has vowed to push Congress to approve the TPP deal during the so-called lame-duck session of Congress after the November general election, the final time window before he leaves White House on January 20, 2017.
But many lawmakers have cast doubt on a vote for the TPP in the lame-duck session. House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week that the TPP would not get a vote in Congress this year because there was not enough support.
“As long as we don’t have the votes, I see no point in bringing up an agreement only to defeat it,” Ryan said, adding “I have my own problems with TPP, it is not ready, the president has to renegotiate some critical components of it.”
The TPP deal involves Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. It was formally signed by ministers from these 12 countries in February after more than five years’ negotiation.
The TPP now undergoes a two-year ratification period in which at least six countries, which account for 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic production of the 12 TPP countries, must approve the final text for the deal to be implemented.