Clinton seeks to distance herself from Trump on trade

Clinton seeks to distance herself from Trump on trade

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats seek leverage for trial Davis: Trump vs. Clinton impeachments – the major differences Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' MORE on Thursday sought to distance herself from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE’s isolationist stance on global trade.

The Democratic and Republican presidential nominees both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but Clinton is casting herself as the only candidate who can steer U.S. trade policy in the right direction for workers and businesses. 

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“The answer is not to rant and rave or 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,” Clinton said during remarks at a rally in Michigan.

"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,” she said.

Clinton said she opposes the TPP now plans to maintain that view as president, a nod to progressive groups that had called for her to express a stronger opposition to voting on the deal in a lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections. 

But she didn’t detail what changes she would need to see for the deal to become acceptable. 

For his part, Trump has threatened to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TPP and even the World Trade Organization, where most trade disputes are filed.

Clinton even evoked the efforts of the U.S. Olympic team in asserting that Trump's resistance to global trade would hurt the United States.

"Mr. Trump may talk a big game on trade but his approach is based on fear, not strength” Clinton said.

“Fear that we can’t compete with the rest of the world even when the rules are fair, fear that our country has no choice but to hide behind walls," she said.

"If Team USA was fearful as Trump, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles would be cowering in the locker room afraid to come out to compete.”

Clinton said that U.S. firms selling their products overseas want to sell more abroad while creating more jobs at home. 

But she argued that under NAFTA too many companies lobbied for trade deals so they could sell their products overseas but then decided to move overseas and import their goods into the United States.

"Corporations should not abandon profitable operations here in the United States to move abroad just to give shareholders a quicker return, CEOs a bigger bonus and unions a weaker hand to play," Clinton said.

President Obama and business groups supportive of the TPP argue that the agreement will do exactly that, even as most Democrats and some Republicans line up against the deal and a vote on the agreement after the election.

She scolded Trump for making his products in places like China instead of here.

Earlier in the day, Trump told home builders at a meeting in Miami that Clinton did nothing to help workers in New York recover from the job losses incurred after her husband signed NAFTA in 1993.

“It is true that too often past trade deals have been sold to the American people with rosy scenarios that didn’t pan out,” Clinton said to the crowd in Michigan, a hub for U.S. automakers.

“Those promises now ring hollow in many communities across Michigan and our country that have seen factories close and jobs disappear,” she said.

The president has acknowledged that trade agreements of the past such as NAFTA fell short of its goals but that agreements like the TPP would mend those problems and give the United States a global edge in an increasingly competitive world.

She lost Michigan in the primaries to rival Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE who sold his anti-trade message around the state.

“It is also true that China and other countries have gamed the system for too long,” she said.

She was critical of the George W. Bush administration for failing to crack down on trade violators but skirted around any direct criticism or praise for the Obama administration's efforts.

The United States has brought 13 trade cases against China and has won all that have been decided so far.

Clinton vowed to ramp up trade enforcement in her administration by appointing a trade prosecutor — a promise she made a couple of months ago, and tripling the number of people working to bring trade cases against countries that don’t follow global trade rules.

She also said that if countries break the rules she won’t hesitate to impose targeted tariffs, which is slightly different from what Trump has said. The New York businessman has said he would impose across-the-board tariffs on all goods coming in from countries like China that try to gain a global trade advantage by breaking the rules.

Trump blasted Clinton for failing to help New York recover jobs lost after NAFTA while saying he would be much tougher with China.

But Clinton argued that as a senator from New York and as secretary of State she fought across several fronts against unfair Chinese trading practices including currency manipulation and intellectual property theft.

“As president I will stand up to China and anyone else who tries to take advantage of American workers and companies,” she said.

Earlier this week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyExpiring tax breaks set off year-end scramble Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House panel unveils rival fix for surprise medical bills | Democrats punt vote on youth vaping bill | Pelosi drug bill poised for passage after deal with progressives Ways and Means Committee announces rival surprise medical billing fix MORE (R-Texas) said that Trump needs to understand that his idea to wall off the United States won't work. 

“it's important Mr. Trump agrees that taking an isolationist approach to trade is unacceptable because if we want a stronger America it’s not enough to simply buy American, we have to sell American all throughout the world," Brady said in a statement to The Hill.

“I would advise him as presidential nominee not to withdraw from TPP because if America abandons the Asia-Pacific field then China, Japan and Europe will have a huge advantage over American companies when competing for the millions of middle-class customers in that region,” he said.  

“So America will lose out. However, if he chose to strengthen TPP, for example to better protect American intellectual property like drug breakthroughs, that makes the overall TPP agreement a significant win for American technology, agriculture and manufacturing workers."