Sunday, April 17, 2016

NAFTA And The TPP – Hillary Clinton’s Free Trade History

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Brandon Turbeville
April 7, 2016

Most even semi-informed Americans may recognize the day that NAFTA was signed into law as the day that the U.S. economy was diagnosed with rapid onset terminal cancer. A massive plan to bust unions, lower wages, remove trade protections, and generally lower living standards across the board, NAFTA was following in the footsteps of GATT and the WTO before it. While NAFTA was promoted by American oligarchs, parasitical politicians, business interests, banks, and the mainstream media, it was clear to anyone with a basic understanding of economics and trade or even a modicum of common sense that it was nothing more than a giant vacuum whose suction tube was aimed at the American economy.

In order to promote the agreement (negotiated by George H.W. Bush and signed into law by Clinton), a stupendous amount of lies and deceit were presented to the American public.

While Hillary Clinton was merely the first lady and, admittedly, not officially in charge of making public policy, she nevertheless supported NAFTA and assisted in its promotion from the position she held. In 1996, she visited a gathering of unionized garment workers and stated “I think everybody is in favor of free and fair trade. I think NAFTA is proving its worth.”[1]

During both her presidential campaigns, Clinton has attempted to scale back her past support of an agreement that outsourced American jobs so fast it created a metaphorical traffic jam of companies exiting the country. However, as recently as 2003, Clinton voiced clear support of the agreement, a striking act of defiance of the existence of reality. In her book, Living History, she wrote,

Creating a free trade zone in North America — the largest free trade zone in the world — would expand U.S. exports, create jobs and ensure that our economy was reaping the benefits, not the burdens, of globalization. Although unpopular with labor unions, expanding trade opportunities was an important administration goal.[2]

Clearly, Clinton’s doubts about the effectiveness of the NAFTA agreement are nothing more than political posturing. Clinton is banking on the short attention span and memory of the American public, an aspect of the voting population that has served her well enough over the last two decades.

Clinton’s support of the concept of Free Trade, however, continued during her tenure as NY Senator where she voted in favor of just about every single piece of legislation promoting Free Trade and every Free Trade agreement. Clinton even stated on the floor of the Senate in 2005, “During my tenure as senator, I have voted for every trade agreement that has come before the Senate, and I believe that properly negotiated trade agreements can increase living standards and foster openness and economic development for all parties.”[3]

Strangely, Clinton voted against the CAFTA deal proposed by Bush but, ultimately, her vote was shown to be meaningless political posturing against an agreement that was going to pass anyway. She was able to remain untarnished regarding her CAFTA vote with an election fast approaching for the candidates eyeing the 2008 open presidential seat. Unfortunately, American voters are generally unable to see past the “what have you done to me lately?” style of measuring their politicians.

Despite her vote on CAFTA, Clinton voted in support of a bi-lateral agreement with Chile, a Free Trade agreement between the two countries that removed tariffs and other “trade barriers” on agricultural and textile products.[4]

Clinton also voted in favor of a bilateral Free Trade agreement between the U.S. and Singapore and a Free Trade Agreement with Oman.[5] [6]She also vocalized support for Free Trade Agreements with Peru, Jordan, Morocco, and Australia.[7]

In 2005, Clinton traveled to India and defended the outsourcing of US jobs where she stated “Outsourcing will continue. There is no way to legislate against reality... We are not in favor of putting up fences.”[8]

As Domenico Montanaro wrote for NPR in his article “A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton’s Evolution On Trade,”

In 2007, for example, Clinton called the South Korea deal "inherently unfair." Yet, four years later in Seoul, South Korea, as secretary of state, she said getting a South Korea deal done was a "priority for me, for President Obama and for the entire administration. We are determined to get it done, and I believe we will." 
In April 2008, before the Pennsylvania primary, where she was trying to woo white working-class men, she said of a Colombia deal that she "will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement." 
But again, as secretary of state, she changed her tune. 
"We think it's strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States," Clinton said two years later. "And I return very invigorated ... to begin a very intensive effort to try to obtain the votes to get the free trade agreement finally ratified."[9]

In her book, Hard Choices, Clinton stealthily defended the practice of Free Trade while, at the same time, acknowledging that powers within the U.S. helped create the “global economy.” She also argued that the global economy was hindered by barriers placed in front of “emerging and developing economies (read: “low wage economies) from being able to enter the “current global trading system.” She wrote,

America worked to create a global economy. The current global trading system is distorted not only by barriers to entry in developing and emerging economies, but by the power of special interests in developed countries, including the US. To make trade fairer as well as freer, developing countries have to do a better job of improving productivity, raising labor conditions, and protecting the environment. In the US, we have to do a better job of providing good jobs to those displaced by trade.[10]

Not surprisingly, Clinton is a vocal advocate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In fact, as Secretary of State, Clinton was instrumental in helping craft, negotiate, and push through the final draft of the agreement of which we know very little due to the fact that it was negotiated in secret and its terms have largely been kept secret as well.[11] Clinton was involved so heavily in the negotiation process of the TPP that former Obama top adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC that Clinton “owned” the process.[12]

In an interview on Bloomberg TV, National Security Adviser Susan Rice stated that negotiating the TPP was one of Clinton’s biggest achievements at the State Department.[13]

While attempting to present herself as more tepid on the TPP and Free Trade in general, Clinton has spoken highly of the TPP, which she has labeled the “Gold Standard,” in at least 45 different speeches. [14] [15]

Consider what Webster G. Tarpley wrote in his article “Hillary Clinton: The International Neo-Con Warmonger,” as the debate surrounding the TPP was picking up even more steam. [16]

“There is no success story for workers to be found in North America 20 years after NAFTA,” states AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. Unlike other failures of his Presidency, Bill Clinton can not run from NAFTA. It was Vice President Al Gore, not a veto-proof Republican congress, who lobbied to remove trade barriers with low-wage Mexico. 
The record of free trade is clear. Multinational corporations and Wall Street speculators realize incredible profits, wages remain stagnant in the US, poverty persists in the developing world, and the remaining industrial corporations in America and Canada are increasingly owned by Chinese, Indian and other foreign interests. 
America’s free trade policy is upside down. Besides Canada, Australia and Korea, most of our “free” trade partners are low-wage sweatshop paradises like Mexico, Chile, Panama, Guatemala, Bahrain and Oman. The US does in fact apply tariffs on most goods and on most nations of origin – rates are set by the US International Trade Commission (USTIC), a quasi-public federal agency. 
Since a German- or Japanese-made automobile would under USITC’s schedule be taxed 10% upon importation, Volkswagen and Toyota can circumvent taxation by simply building their auto assembly plants for the US market in Mexico. In Detroit, an auto assembly worker is paid between $14 and $28/hour, ($29,120-$58,240/yr); hard work for modest pay. In Mexico, the rate varies from $2-5/hour. 
In China, all automobile imports regardless of origin are tariffed as high as 25%. This allows the Chinese to attract joint ventures with Volkswagen and Toyota, and to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “keep the jobs, the cars and the money.” 
NAFTA-related job loss is not a question of productivity, currency manipulation, “fair trade,” environmental standards, etc. While these issues are not trivial, free trade – as Lincoln’s advisor Henry C. Carey proved – is a matter of simple accounting. Can an American family survive on $4,160/year ($2/hr)? If not, cars and their components will be built in Mexico. If we want cars built in the United States, the only solution is a general tariff (import tax) reflecting the difference between those wage standards, like the very tariffs repealed by Bill Clinton. 
In the United States the “runaway shop” under NAFTA and CAFTA has sent trade deficits and unemployment soaring while wages drop relative to the cost of living. Yet Mexico and other “partners” receive no benefit either. Many manufacturing sectors in Mexico pay wages lower than the equivalent sector in China. Mexico is now the world leader in illegal narcotics exportation and weapons importation. The poverty level between 1994 and 2009 remained virtually identical. (52.4% – 52.3%). The shipping of raw materials to Mexico comprise the majority of so called American “exports”. The finished products from these exports are assembled and sold back to the United States at slave labor prices. 
Don’t expect Hillary to behave differently with the coming “Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which seeks to replace an ascendant China with less-developed Vietnam and Malaysia. Vietnam would overtake India-allied Bangladesh in the global apparel trade, and Malaysia has a high-tech manufacturing sector poised to rival China’s. With America’s manufacturing economy in shambles, the Clinton machine can now be redirected to geopolitical maneuvers..[17]

Clearly, Clinton’s grandstanding over concerns for labor protections, fair trade, and the environment are as fake as every other aspect of her political career and every statement she has ever publicly uttered. Any individual who supports Free Trade agreements such as the ones listed above should never be allowed to assume a position of power over the U.S. economy.

Brandon Turbeville’s new book, The Difference It Makes: 36 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President is available in three different formats: Hardcopy (available here), Amazon Kindle for only .99 (available here), and a Free PDF Format (accessible free from his website,
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[1] Holan, Angie Drobnic. “Clinton Has Changed On NAFTA.” PolitiFact. February 25, 2008. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[2] Holan, Angie Drobnic. “Clinton Has Changed On NAFTA.” PolitiFact. February 25, 2008. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[3] Holan, Angie Drobnic. “Clinton Has Changed On NAFTA.” PolitiFact. February 25, 2008. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[4] “Vote number 2003-319 establishing free trade between the US and Chile
on Jul 31, 2003 regarding bill S.1416/HR 2738 US-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act Results: Bill Passed 66-31: R 43-7; D 23-23.” On The Issues. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[5] “Vote number 2003-318 establishing free trade between US & Singapore
on Jul 31, 2003 regarding bill S.1417/HR 2739 US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act Results: Bill Passed 66-32: R 44-7; D 22-24.” Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[6] “Vote number 2006-190 free trade agreement with Oman
on Jun 29, 2006 regarding bill S. 3569 United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement Results: Bill passed, 60-34.” Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[7] Montanaro, Domenico. “A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton’s Evolution On Trade.” NPR. April 21, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[8] “Hillary Clinton On Free Trade.” On The Issues. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[9] Montanaro, Domenico. “A Timeline Of Hillary Clinton’s Evolution On Trade.” NPR. April 21, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[10] Clinton, Hillary Rodham. Hard Choices. Simon and Schuster.

[11] Mindock, Clark. “Hillary Clinton And Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Aide Calls Her Out On TPP Past.” International Business Times. June 19, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[12] “Axelrod: Hillary Clinton Said TPP Would Be ‘Gold Standard’ For Trade Agreements, She ‘Owned’ It.” Real Clear Politics. June 15, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[13] “Susan Rice Lists Iraq War Victory, Asia Pivot, Trans-Pacific Trade Deal As Hillary’s Top Achievements.” Real Clear Politics. June 19, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[14] Phillips, Amber. “Hillary Clinton’s Position On Free Trade? It’s (Very) Complicated.” The Washington Post. June 17, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[15] Tapper, Jake. “45 Times Secretary Clinton Pushed The Trade Bill She Now Opposes.” CNN. June 15, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[16] Tarpley, Webster Griffin. “Hillary Clinton: The International Neo-Con Warmonger.” April 13, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

[17] Tarpley, Webster Griffin. “Hillary Clinton: The International Neo-Con Warmonger.” April 13, 2015. Accessed on September 7, 2015.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 650 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)

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