Washington (CNN)Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, seems reluctant to take a firm position on an issue dividing her party: whether President Obama should have fast-track trading authority for the immense trade deal he has been negotiating, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With some progressive voters eyeing her with some skepticism, and facing a challenge (such as it is) from candidates on her left, she is being advised to tack in that direction.
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45 times Secretary Clinton pushed the trade bill she now opposes
President Obama has been pushing hard for the deal, while Democrats in the House of Representatives on Friday revolted and voted against a key part of the legislation. One told me, "there was a very strong concern about the lost jobs and growing income inequality," adding, pointedly: "Ms. Clinton should take notice."
She clearly did. After first dodging the issue, on Sunday in Iowa, Clinton said that "the President should listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi, who have expressed their concerns about the impact that a weak agreement would have on our workers, to make sure we get the best, strongest deal possible. And if we don't get it, there should be no deal."
Clinton said, "there are some specifics in there that could and should be changed. So I am hoping that's what happens now -- let's take the lemons and turn it into lemonade."
But as members of the Obama administration can attest, Clinton was one of the leading drivers of the TPP when Secretary of State. Here are 45 instances when she approvingly invoked the trade bill about which she is now expressing concerns:
"First and foremost, this so-called pivot has been about creative diplomacy:Like signing a little-noted treaty of amity and cooperation with ASEAN that opened the door to permanent representation and ultimately elevated a forum for engaging on high-stakes issues like the South China Sea. We've encouraged India's "Look East" policy as a way to weave another big democracy into the fabric of the Asia Pacific. We've used trade negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership to find common ground with a former adversary in Vietnam. And the list goes on."
"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."
"...let me offer five big-ticket agenda items that we absolutely have to get right as well. This starts with following through on what is often called our pivot to the Asia Pacific, the most dynamic region in our rapidly changing world. Much of the attention so far has been on America's increasing military engagement. But it's important that we also emphasize the other elements of our strategy. In a speech in Singapore last week, I laid out America's expanding economic leadership in the region, from new trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to stepped-up efforts on behalf of American businesses."
"...We are welcoming more of our neighbors, including Canada and Mexico, into the Trans-Pacific Partnership process. And we think it's imperative that we continue to build an economic relationship that covers the entire hemisphere for the future."
"And with Singapore and a growing list of other countries on both sides of the Pacific, we are making progress toward finalizing a far-reaching new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The so-called TPP will lower barriers, raise standards, and drive long-term growth across the region. It will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and establish strong protections for workers and the environment. Better jobs with higher wages and safer working conditions, including for women, migrant workers and others too often in the past excluded from the formal economy will help build Asia's middle class and rebalance the global economy. Canada and Mexico have already joined the original TPP partners. We continue to consult with Japan. And we are offering to assist with capacity building, so that every country in ASEAN can eventually join. We welcome the interest of any nation willing to meet 21st century standards as embodied in the TPP, including China."
"...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."
"Our diplomats work side by side at regional organizations to address shared security challenges and hammer out new economic agreements, and we congratulate Australia upon becoming a new nonpermanent member of the Security Council. Our growing trade across the region, including our work together to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, binds our countries together, increases stability, and promotes security."
"That means finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will lower trade barriers, raise labor and environmental standards, and drive growth across the region. And it includes, of course, working closely together at the upcoming East Asia Summit to advance a shared agenda."
"That means pushing governments to support high-standard trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to drop harmful protectionist policies. It means playing by the rules, respecting workers, and opening doors qualified women. And most of all, it means doing what you do best: build, hire, and grow."
PRIME MINISTER KEY: "Secretary Clinton and I discussed the broad range of issues in the Asia Pacific region as we look towards the APEC summit in Russia in around 10 days time. New Zealand warmly supports the United States rebalancing towards the Asia-Pacific and we welcome the opportunities to cooperate further. In that context, we discussed our ongoing efforts to negotiate, alongside a number of other countries, a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement."
SECRETARY CLINTON: "I'm also very committed to expanding investment and trade in the region, in pursuit of sustainable economic growth. Later today, I'll meet with local pearl vendors from here in the Cook Islands who are running their businesses while also protecting marine resources."
"We've also made workers rights a centerpiece of a new far-reaching trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We are working with Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and others in these negotiations."
"So we're working on expanding it through a far-reaching, new regional trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would lower trade barriers while raising standards on everything from labor conditions to environmental protection to intellectual property. Both of our countries will benefit. And in fact, 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."
"Domestic and international businesses alike continue to face rules that restrict their activities, and that, in turn, deters investment and slows growth. So we are encouraging the Government of Vietnam to keep on the path of economic and administrative reform to open its markets to greater private investment. And through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we're working with Vietnam and seven other nations to lower trade barriers throughout the region, as we ensure the highest standards for labor, environmental, and intellectual property protections. Vietnam was an early entrant to the TPP, and we're hoping we can finalize the agreement this year. And the economic analysis is that of all the countries that will be participating -- Australia, Canada, Mexico, others -- of all the countries participating in the TPP, Vietnam stands to benefit the most. So we're hoping to really see this agreement finalized and then watch it take off."
"We also discussed the opportunity to strengthen our economic relationship, and the United States welcomes Japan's interest in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we think will connect economies throughout the region, making trade and investment easier, spurring exports, creating jobs. The TPP is just one element of our increased focus on the Asia Pacific, but it is important that we recognize that the Japanese-American relationship is really at the cornerstone of everything we are doing in the Asia Pacific. We are not only treaty allies; we are friends and partners with common interests and shared values."
"Finally, we discussed the maturing economic relationship between our countries as well as our shared commitment to enhanced development, trade, and investment. We would like to see the Philippines join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade community. The foreign secretary raised the Philippines' interest in seeking passage of the Save our Industries Act, and we have conveyed that message to the United States Congress."
"Now President Obama and I have said many times that this will be America's Pacific century, and we are focused on the broader Pacific. But remember, the Pacific runs from the Indian Ocean to the western shores of Latin America. We see this as one large area for our strategic focus. That's why we're working with APEC; that's why we're creating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We recognize the mutual benefits of engagement between the Americas and the rest of the Pacific."
"As part of that same trip last November, the President built momentum for a new far-reaching trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership that we are negotiating with eight other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This agreement is not just about eliminating barriers to trade, although that is crucial for boosting U.S. exports and creating jobs here at home. It's also about agreeing on the rules of the road for an integrated Pacific economy that is open, free, transparent, and fair. It will put in place strong protections for workers, the environment, intellectual property, and innovation -- all key American values. And it will cover emerging issues such as the connectivity of regional supply chains, the competitive impact of state-owned enterprises, and create trade opportunities for more small-and-medium-sized businesses."
"Big or small, we're standing up for an economic system that benefits everyone, like when our Embassy in Manila worked with Filipino authorities on new intellectual property protections or when our negotiators ensure that the new Trans-Pacific Partnership requires that state-owned enterprises compete under the same rules as private companies."
"This is a very consequential relationship. The multidimensional growth of our relationship with Singapore is an example of the importance that the United States sets on strengthening our engagement in the Asia Pacific. We are working together on a full range of issues, including moving forward on a high-quality trade agreement through the Trans-Pacific Partnership process."
"The minister and I also discussed a number of bilateral and regional issues and reviewed the close and ongoing collaboration between Japan and the United States in the aftermath of last March's earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis. We discussed Japan's recent move to pursue consultations on joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to resolve longstanding trade concerns in order to deepen the economic ties to the benefit of both our countries. I also urged that Japan take decisive steps so that it accedes to The Hague Convention on International Parental Child Abduction and address outstanding cases."
"Now let me describe briefly four ways that we want to work with you: first, by lowering trade barriers; second, by strengthening the investment climate; third, by pursuing commercial diplomacy; and fourth, by supporting entrepreneurs. We're excited about the innovative trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. That would bring economies from across the Pacific, developed and developing alike, into a single trading community, not only to create more growth, but better growth."
"Together we hope to deliver an array of benefits to the people, including more foreign investment to create new jobs, a more streamlined court system that can deliver justice and protect local businesses, better services, and more resources to fight poverty. Over time, these steps will better position the Philippines to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we hope will dramatically increase trade and investment among the peoples of the Pacific."
"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. A rules-based order will also be critical to meeting APEC's goal of eventually creating a free trade area of the Asia Pacific."
One of America's great successes of the past century was to build a strong network of relationships and institutions across the Atlantic -- an investment that continues to pay off today. One of our great projects in this century will be to do the same across the Pacific. Our Free Trade Agreement with South Korea, our commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, are clear demonstrations that we are not only a resident military and diplomatic power in Asia, we are a resident economic power and we are there to stay."
"We are working to encourage trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and through APEC, whose leaders the President will be hosting this fall in Hawaii. Together, we are strengthening regional institutions like the East Asia Summit and ASEAN. And as Secretary Panetta will explain, our military relationship is deepening and becoming even more consequential."
"That is the spirit behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the so-called TPP, which we hope to outline by the time of APEC in November, because this agreement will bring together economies from across the Pacific—developed and developing alike—into a single trading community."
"The United States is pushing forward on comprehensive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and our free trade agreement with South Korea. We are also stepping up our commercial diplomacy and pursuing a robust economic agenda at APEC. India, for its part, has concluded or will soon conclude new bilateral economic partnerships with Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and others. The more our countries trade and invest with each other and with other partners, the more central the Asia Pacific region becomes to global commerce and prosperity, and the more interest we both have in maintaining stability and security. As the stakes grow higher, we should use our shared commitment to make sure that we have maritime security and freedom of navigation. We need to combat piracy together. We have immediate tasks that we must get about determining."
"We looked ahead to the East Asia summit where President Obama will participate for the first time, and the United States will send our largest, most senior delegation ever to the Pacific Island Forum in New Zealand later this year. We talked about developments in Fiji, and both New Zealand and the United States agree that the military junta must take steps to return Fiji to democracy. And we agree on the importance of pursuing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will provide a free trade agreement for nine countries across the region, including both of ours. We're making steady progress on this. We hope to be able to have the negotiations complete by the time we all meet in Hawaii for APEC toward the end of this year."
"And both of us understand the benefits of deeper economic integration and fair trade. Minister Rudd was very influential in helping us to work toward a greater, more relevant involvement in the Pacific-Asian institutions, such as joining the East Asian Summit. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is exploring ways to expand opportunity, is critical, and APEC and ASEAN are two other organizations where we work together."
"We will be hosting the 2011 APEC summit in Hawaii later this year. We are pushing to advance economic integration, remove trade barriers, and make sure that our national regulations line up in a way that encourages trade. We are also working hard on the trans-Pacific partnership, a cutting edge regional free trade agreement that would eventually cover an area responsible for over 40 percent of global trade."
"As countries step up on the global stage, they will make essential contributions to helping all of us meet some of those most important challenges. Mexico, for example, made a crucial contribution to the fight against climate change through its remarkable leadership in Cancun last year. Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina in the G-20; Chile and Mexico in the OECD; Chile and Peru in the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and along with Mexico in APEC, these are all helping to build a foundation for balanced global growth, a transparent global economy, and broad-based opportunity. "
"The United States is also making important progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will bring together nine APEC economies in a cutting-edge, next generation trade deal, one that aims to eliminate all trade tariffs by 2015 while improving supply change, saving energy, enhancing business practices both through information technology and green technologies. To date, the TPP includes Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and the United States."
"We are taking steps to ensure that our defense posture reflects the complex and evolving strategic environment in the region and we are working to ratify a free trade agreement with South Korea and pursuing a regional agreement through the Trans-Pacific Partnership to help create new opportunities for American companies and support new jobs here at home. Those goals will be front and center when we host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Hawaii later this year."
"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."
"To continue this progress, we are both pressing ahead on something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's an ambitious multilateral free trade agreement that would bring together many more nations of the Pacific Rim. Australia and the United States are helping to lead those negotiations and we're also working through APEC, which the United States will host in Hawaii in 2011. We see that as a pivotal year to drive progress on internal economic changes that will open more markets and make sure that any growth is more sustainable and inclusive. And finally, we believe that the United States and Australia have been at the forefront of organize the entire region for the future."
"We are looking for ways to broaden and deepen our economic ties and build on the strong foundation we already have. And we think that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a very exciting opportunity. This multilateral free trade agreement would bring together nine countries located in the Asia Pacific region -- New Zealand and the United States, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Vietnam, and Malaysia. By eliminating most tariffs and other trade barriers, and embracing productive policies on competition, intellectual property, and government procurement, we can spur greater trade and integration not only among the participating countries, but as a spur to the entire region."
" Well, let me say that we discussed at some length, both the foreign minister and I and then the prime minister and I, the way forward on trade. We are very committed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and New Zealand, again, is playing a leading role. And we want to expedite the negotiations as much as possible. So we are exploring ways that we can try to drive this agenda. I am absolutely convinced that opening up markets in Asia amongst all of us and doing so in a way that creates win-win situations so that people feel that trade is in their interests."
"That is why the United States is very pleased by Malaysia's decision to join the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership. This regional trade agreement will promote shared success by expanding markets and building a level playing field for workers in every country that participates."
"Finally, we are pleased that Malaysia joined last month's negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That is a pact that would expand markets and create a level playing field for people in every country that does participate. I know there are tough issues to work out, as there always are with these agreements, but Malaysia's leadership in this region for greater economic growth is absolutely essential."
"And I think we have tremendous opportunities here. But I know when I leave tomorrow, the work to make those opportunities into realities falls to all of you. So I know a lot is expected of you, but we're going to be doing even more in Malaysia. We have a lot of plans for educational exchanges. We have some very exciting work on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, enhancing trade and investment (inaudible) that will promote closer cooperation."
"So in our meetings with your government officials and even in my conversation with the prime minister earlier today, we of course talked about our bilateral relationship but we also talked about the role that Malaysia is playing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new free trade agreement that will enhance market access, but also working to support Afghanistan and the people there with training and medical services."
"I n trade, our two countries have already made great progress. Fifteen years ago, our bilateral trade was about $450 million. Last year it was more than $15 billion. And the foreign minister and the prime minister and I talked about how to expand this trade relationship, including through the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The United States, Vietnam, and seven other countries finished a third round of negotiations on the TPP this month and we hope that Vietnam can conclude it in internal process and announce its status as a full member of the partnership soon."
"We are also pressing ahead with negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an innovative, ambitious multilateral free trade agreement that would bring together nine Pacific Rim countries, including four new free trade partners for the United States, and potentially others in the future. 2011 will be a pivotal year for this agenda. Starting with the Korea Free Trade Agreement, continuing with the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, working together for financial rebalancing at the G-20, and culminating at the APEC Leaders Summit in Hawaii, we have a historic chance to create broad, sustained, and balanced growth across the Asia Pacific and we intend to seize that."
"On the economic front, we've expanded our relationship with APEC, which includes four of America's top trading partners and receives 60 percent of our exports. We want to realize the benefits from greater economic integration. In order to do that, we have to be willing to play. To this end, we are working to ratify a free trade agreement with South Korea, we're pursuing a regional agreement with the nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and we know that that will help create new jobs and opportunities here at home."
"And I am very much supportive of Vietnam's participation as a full member in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As Vietnam embarks on labor and other reforms, the American businesses that are investing in Vietnam can provide expertise that will aid Vietnam's economic and infrastructure development."
"In addition, the United States is engaging in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations as a mechanism for improving linkages among many of the major Asia-Pacific economies. And to build on political progress, we must support efforts to protect human rights and promote open societies."