Clinton and Sanders Get Specific on Trade Before PA Primary

April 19, 2016
Contact: Amy Conahan, (412) 999-3750 or

Clinton and Sanders Detail Their Cases Against the TPP

Questionnaires on the TPP, Jobs & Trade Published One Week Before the PA Primary

Johnstown, Penn. — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders expanded on their opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in detailed questionnaires on trade policy published by the Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition (PAFTC) today, one week before the Pennsylvania primary.  The questionnaires explore their positions on the TPP, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other trade policy matters in much greater depth than earlier statements on the subject.

“For decades now, working Americans have suffered under trade deals that ship good-paying jobs overseas and that drive down wages,” said PAFTC Director Amy Conahan. “It’s exciting to see trade policy starting to receive the attention it deserves in the presidential race, and we appreciate Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders detailing their positions for the public.”

Both Clinton and Sanders explained their opposition to the proposed twelve-nation TPP trade agreement, a pact whose final text was released in November 2015, but has not yet been submitted for a vote in Congress.  If enacted, the TPP would become the largest U.S. Free Trade Agreement to date.

“I will say ’no’ to new trade agreements unless they create American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security,” said Clinton.  “After looking at the final terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, including what it contains on currency manipulation and its weak rules of origin standard for what counts as a car that can get treaty benefits, I opposed the agreement because it did not meet my test.”

Clinton also said that TPP provisions that put “the interests of drug companies ahead of patients and consumers … are one of the reasons I opposed it.”

“I have been strongly opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ever since it was first announced, and I will do everything I can to defeat the agreement,” said Sanders. “In my view, the TPP is the continuation of a failed approach to trade that began when President Bill Clinton championed NAFTA; an approach that boosts the profits of large corporations by offshoring jobs while undercutting worker rights, and environmental, health, and financial laws here and abroad.”

Among the ten questions other questions that both Democratic candidates answered are:

  • Would you support or oppose future trade agreements if they included “investor-state” dispute resolution?
  • Would you support or oppose future trade agreements if they provide drug firms extended monopoly rights?
  • Would you support or oppose future trade agreements if they limit the adoption, maintenance, or application of strong “Buy American” and “Buy Local” government procurement preferences?
  • Would you support or oppose future trade agreements if they fail to include clear carve-outs protecting future climate policies from attack under the agreement?
  • Would you support or oppose future trade policies that fail to include enforceable disciplines against currency manipulation?

Among the differences between the candidates’ responses is that Sanders committed to oppose “Fast Track” trade promotion authority, while Clinton said that “Congress should play an integral role in U.S. trade policy” and that she would “look to engage Congress as a true partner in trade negotiations.”  In general, Sanders committed to oppose trade agreements that failed to meet certain standards, while Clinton outlined what standards she would strive to achieve.

Hillary Clinton’s completed questionnaire is available online at:

Bernie Sander’s completed questionnaire is available online at:

PAFTC is a statewide coalition of labor, family farm, faith, environmental and student organizations working together in support of better trade policies.  The coalition also approached the campaigns of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich with the same questionnaire, but did not receive responses from them.


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