Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says it’s time for a critical examination of all U.S. trade agreements to ensure they protect American jobs. Clinton spoke Monday at the opening of a three-day United Auto Workers conference in Dubuque.
"I believe that we’ve got to have a time out and when I’m president we’ll have a time out to take stock of where we are with trade because I think every trade agreement has to be independently, objectively analyzed. What’s working and what’s not working?" Clinton said. "And when I say — ‘What’s working?’ — what’s working for America."
Clinton said as president, she’d work to more actively enforce labor standards in trade agreements. "We’ve got to have trade deals that are strong on workers’ rights, strong on environmental rights and they’ve got to have enforceable mechanisms," Clinton said. "…And I think that’s going to take some presidential leadership to change the rules around the world."
Clinton is one of seven Democratic presidential candidates who are scheduled to speak at the conference, including John Edwards who has already issued a statement questioning Clinton’s comments. Edwards said Clinton’s comments don’t mean much since she’s pledged to back "George Bush’s latest trade agreement with Peru."
Chris Dodd told the union members at the conference that he will vote against the trade deal with Peru. Dodd also was critical of current trade relationships with China. "I think China is an adversary on trade issues. A competitor plays by the same rules I do. I may win or I may lose, but the rules are the same," Dodd said. "The rules are not the same when dealing China and we don’t have voices strong enough that are speaking up."
The labor conference is expected to draw more than 400 UAW leaders from Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.