Top Clinton official says she would likely scrap trade deals, start anew

Top Clinton official says she would likely scrap trade deals, start anew
© Getty

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up McCabe's shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on MORE would probably scrap the nation’s global trade agreements and overhaul U.S. trade policy, a top campaign official said Tuesday.

John Podesta, chairman of her campaign, said Clinton as president likely wouldn't seek to rework existing trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) but instead move to adopt a new model for global deals.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We need a new approach to trade,” Podesta said, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

“We’re not about renegotiation. We’re not kind of interested in that. We’re interested in a new approach,” he said. 

Trade is a hot topic in the presidential campaigns, with Clinton and Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE both trying to appeal to Americans who feel that global trade has hurt U.S. jobs and the economy. 

On Monday, a slew of anti-TPP signs popped up on the floor at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Clinton moved to the left during her primary campaign against Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSenate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' MORE (I-Vt.), who has vigorously opposed trade agreements throughout his career, including the TPP and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

As secretary of State, Clinton promoted the TPP, but she changed her mind and decided to oppose the sweeping 12-nation deal after it was completed in October. NAFTA was ratified by Congress under former President Clinton. 

During the past few weeks, Clinton has ramped up her calls on Congress to forgo a vote on the Pacific agreement after the November elections.

Meanwhile, President Obama is urging lawmakers to back the deal and pass it during the lame-duck session before his leaves office. Not approving it, he warned, risks strategic and economic uncertainty in the Pacific Rim, especially with China working to forge trade deals in the region. 

“What the president chooses to do, whether he thinks that that’s an effective strategy, is up to him, but that is not our strategy," said Podesta  a former member of Obama's White House team, in response to a question as to whether Clinton would try to block a lame-duck vote.

Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Kaine asks Shanahan if military families would be hurt by moving .6B for border wall Clinton on GOP promoting Trump 'stronger together' quote: Now copy my policies too MORE, who supported fast-track authority last summer for any trade deals that reach Capitol Hill, announced his opposition to the TPP over the weekend.

“They’re against it before the election and against it after the election,” Podesta said. 

On Monday, Podesta met with House Democrats, most of whom already oppose the TPP, and told them where Clinton stands.

“So they know, they well know what our position is," Podesta said.

Only 28 House Democrats supported fast-track last summer. 

Trump also is strongly opposed to the TPP and the NAFTA and has said he would pull the United States out of those deals if the agreements can’t be renegotiated to his satisfaction. 

He ramped up that talk over the weekend, threatening to withdraw United States from the World Trade Organization if he gets push back from its members on his plan to tax U.S. companies that move overseas and want to import their products.

Separately on Tuesday, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said Clinton has promised him that if elected she would renegotiate NAFTA, a point she has made in the past, according to a report by Reuters.

On Monday, Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said that Clinton is the only one who can be trusted on trade.

“Secretary Clinton opposes TPP as negotiated and has a plan to change our trade agreements and strengthen enforcement of agreements and trade laws, to specifically address China’s unfair trade practices, to change U.S. tax policy and invest in domestic jobs,” Levin said.