The two-top candidates for the Democratic nomination for president have come out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, breaking with President Barack Obama.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who leads rival U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I.,Vermont) in national polls but lags behind him in some state and local polls, announced Wednesday that she is against TPP after vigorously supporting the 12-nation trade agreement. Sanders, an Independent, sits with the Democrats.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries. In addition to the U. S., the countries are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
“I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security and I still believe that is the high bar we have to meet,” Clinton told PBS. “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.” Before her announcement, Clinton supported TPP 45 times between 2010 and 2013, although she said she never worked for the deal.
Sanders, who came out earlier against TPP, which was recently ratified, said the deal like other trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will cost Americans manufacturing jobs. NAFTA, for example, which was pushed through by President Bill Clinton, Hillary’s husband, has cost the U.S. nearly 700,000 jobs.
In addition, the Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and the Korean Free Trade Agreement have in total cost more than 3 million jobs as manufacturers moved work to other countries.
These trade deals have been been particularly hard on black workers.
When China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, it cost black workers 281,100 high-paying manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2011, according to the 2013 research paper, “Trading away manufacturing advantage: China trade drives down U.S. wages and benefits and eliminates good jobs for U.S. workers.”
African Americans made up 25% of minorities displaced by trade with China, suffering wage losses in excess of $2.5 billion, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-non partisan think tank.
And KORUS, U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement, has resulted in the net loss of 75,000 jobs for African-American and other workers. U.S. imports from Korea surged to more than $12 billion while U.S. exports to Korea increased by less than $1 billion, EPI said.
The African-American community, however, is split over TPP.
The U.S. Black Chambers Inc., which is based in Washington, D.C., said TPP is the only trade agreement committed to breaking down exporting barriers that small businesses face.
Congressman Bobby Rush, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he voted against TPP. “As I said last month when I voted against Trade Promotion Authority, free trade agreements have shown time and time again that good-paying manufacturing jobs are being shipped abroad. Even now, 21 years after the passage of NAFTA, we are still seeing its impacts on American manufacturing.”
Congressman Rush made his comments after Mondelez International, one of the world’s largest snack companies, announced that it was relocating approximately 600 jobs from his congressional district on Chicago’s Southwest side to Mexico.
Unfortunately, most African Americans don’t have an opinion of TPP, a very important issue.