Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed hard dozens of times for the Pacific Rim trade deal she now opposes as a presidential candidate.
But she also urged caution, reserved judgement and called for a “trade timeout” the last time she ran for president — and sought the support of critical labor groups who oppose free trade.
That was before President Barack Obama defeated her in that election and went on to name Clinton his secretary of state. As such, she toured the world on her boss’s behalf selling the Trans-Pacific Partnership he championed. From Japan to Australia and Washington, Clinton repeatedly praised the agreement as one that would set a “gold standard” for lawful, fair international trade accords.
Then she stepped from the White House and into 2016 presidential politics and struck a more reserved and slightly skeptical tone, withholding a clear opinion on the deal. In her memoir, “Hard Choices,” Clinton wrote that while it “won’t be perfect” any such pact “should benefit American businesses and workers.”
Clinton executed a full reversal Wednesday, her most significant break with Obama since launching her 2016 campaign.
“I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions,” she said of the big trade deal in an interview with PBS’ “Newshour.” ”As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.”
Here’s a selection of Clinton’s quotes over the years in support of the so-called TPP:
“I certainly believe the Trans-Pacific Partnership holds great benefits for Japan’s economy…. I think the Trans-Pacific Partnership is one way that could really enhance our relationship.”
— Newseum, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2013.
“We also discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we shared perspectives on Japan’s possible participation, because we think this holds out great economic opportunities to all participating nations.”
— On her meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Washington, D.C. , Jan. 18, 2013.
“So it’s fair to say that our economies are entwined, and we need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP. Australia is a critical partner. This 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.
— Adelaide, South Australia, Nov. 15, 2012.
“There is new momentum in our trade agenda with the recent passage of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement and our ongoing work on a binding, high-quality Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP. The TPP will bring together economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single 21st century trading community.”
— Honolulu, HI, Nov. 10, 2011.
“Economists expect that Vietnam would be among the countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership to benefit the most. And we hope to finalize this agreement by the end of the year.”
— With Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Hanoi, Vietnam, July 10, 2012.
“Now, we’ve seen how bilateral trade benefits both sides. Our challenge now is to broaden those benefits. That means we have to look for even more opportunities to increase trade and investment between us. And it means that we work harder to broaden the benefits of trade even beyond our two countries. Australia is an important partner in negotiating the ambitious new multilateral trade deal called the Trans Pacific Partnership. Over time, we hope to deliver a groundbreaking agreement that connects countries as diverse as Peru and Vietnam with America and Australia to create a new free trade zone that can galvanize commerce, competition, and growth across the entire Pacific region.
— Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 7, 2010.