Man at His Best

Hillary Clinton Says She’ll Kill TPP

POTUS-in-waiting offers strongest rebuke yet to Obama’s trade deal.

BY Jason S Ganesan | Aug 13, 2016 | Culture

Flickr / Gage Skidmore

Every conspiracy theorists’ fear of secret cabals running the world made flesh, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP or TPPA), may yet be snuffed out.

According to Politico, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said in a speech in Michigan that “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president,” which are her strongest words thus far against the leviathan trade deal.

Clinton added that promises of job safety in past US trade deals were hollow, and that American manufacturing has been screwed over as a result. “Too many companies lobbied for trade deals so they could sell products abroad, but then they instead moved abroad and sold back into the United States. It is also true that China and other countries have gamed the system for too long.

“Enforcement— particularly during the Bush administration—has been too lax. Investments at home that would make us more competitive have been completely blocked in Congress, and American workers and communities have paid the price.

“But the answer is not to rant and rave—or to cut ourselves off from the world. That would end up killing even more jobs. The answer is to finally make trade work for us, not against us. So my message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages—including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Back when Barack Obama was busy championing TPP—to the extent of making an unprecedented second visit to Malaysia, and turning a blind eye to our human trafficking record—Clinton was famously non-committal about her opposition to the trade deal.   

For countries that aren’t the US, like Malaysia, many feared that the TPP would provide corporations with the power to override national legislation and protections for essential drugs, with the latter turning out to not be entirely true. But in the US, many initially opposed the deal because it would mean the outsourcing of jobs (and probably because it was viewed as Obama’s baby).

That’s why Donald Trump is opposed to the TPP as well. So much so that he’s been accusing Clinton of lying about the extent of her opposition to the deal, on which the latter has been hedging rhetoric on throughout her campaign.

With both candidates setting out to out-anti-TPP each other—particularly with Trump’s core demographic being blue-collar, and Clinton’s need to assuage the fears of Bernie Sanders’ supporters—the future of the deal is interesting, to say the least.

A number of signatory countries who have painted themselves into an FDI-or-die corner have already approved the current version of the TPP in their respective parliaments despite national backlash. They had to accept the deal whole or not at all, and probably won’t be too happy that the ones who came up with the nightmare deal in the first place are being less decisive than Ross and Rachel.

Then there is the whole business of jockeying in the South China Sea, with the deal initially mooted as an American response to China’s aggressive manspreading in the region.

So eyes peeled until November at least, because the outcome of the US presidential election will be of grave import to us over here. Pun intended.