Jeb Bush: Hillary Clinton’s Politically Motivated Flip Flop on TPP is Wrong

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By Jeb Bush

eu1KYXqxBack in 2012, while she was serving as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton called an emerging economic partnership with 11 Pacific Nations the “Gold Standard in trade agreements.” She said it did everything a trade agreement should do — promote free markets, provide a level playing field and protect the rule of law.

She said we need to “keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

                      Whatever happened to that Hillary Clinton?

Last week, less than four days after she announced her bid for the presidency, she cooled her enthusiasm considerably. Sec. Clinton’s campaign said trade agreements have to pass fresh tests and even greater scrutiny — and among the issues she raised were elements like currency manipulation that the Obama Administration have said were “poison pills” that would kill the negotiation. So much for the gold standard.

These new reservations are conveniently timed. Sec. Clinton wavered on support for trade the last time she ran for President as well.

It seems Secretary Clinton thinks we have a short memory.

Then: “We need to keep upping our game both bilaterally and with partners across the region through agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Sec. Hillary Clinton

I have no problem supporting TPP.

We’ve worked with some of our most important allies in negotiations to help make this possible — and asked them to take political risks of their own to open their markets to American goods, agricultural products, and services. It sends a terrible signal this late in the negotiations for Sec. Clinton to pull the rug out from under our allies for a short-term political gain.

UTAustin_logoAs governor of Florida, I led 15 trade missions to numerous countries across the globe, including Mexico, Israel, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Colombia and Germany. I know what it means to create strong agreements to help attract investment, jobs, goods and services. I saw the impact firsthand as Florida became a mecca for trade to and from Latin America and Europe. Florida benefited from these agreements.

I know there is political risk in supporting free trade. TPP is President Obama’s biggest trade initiative. I know some political constituencies in my own political party don’t favor it. But I agree with what Hillary Clinton said about TPP in 2012:

            This is a great deal for America.

It would strengthen our ties to our allies throughout the Pacific region, including our close allies and partners in Australia, Mexico and Japan. We could use more friends, frankly.

More than that, free trade is essential to creating the sustained, high rate of growth that we need to create well-paying jobs, new opportunities for American farmers and businesses, and even greater access to a global supply of goods and services.

I haven’t changed in my view even though Hillary Clinton has. It is time to move forward as even recent Democratic presidents have recognized — and Sec. Clinton shouldn’t stand in the way for political gain.

Jeb Bush was the 43rd Governor of the State of Florida

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