Business group: Clinton will flip on trade after election March 16, 2016


Big businesses can take comfort in the expectation that Hillary Clinton will revise her current anti-trade deal stance once she's in office, according to the head of a prominent business association.

[Al Weaver| March 16, 2016 |Washington Examiner]

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Business Roundtable president John Engler cited the Clintons' family history of changing their stances on trade deals, and downplayed the significance of Hillary Clinton's current opposition to the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by President Obama.

"There's history in the family, in the Clinton family, where President Clinton was opposed to NAFTA in its current form before the election and then was the champion … in the '90s," Engler said, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiated in the early 1990s and implemented by Bill Clinton.

"I think that there's nothing new about candidates running who are opposed to trade deals," Engler said, noting that Clinton has not spelled out specific objections to the TPP, a 12-nation trade deal.

"What would be newsworthy is if after they were elected they held the same position," Engler concluded. "That's to be determined."

The Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs of large companies, has been among the top advocates for the Pacific-nation trade pact.

In the presidential contests so far, however, the candidates have mostly turned against trade deals, including Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Clinton also came out against the TPP, despite working to advance it and repeatedly endorsing it as secretary of state.

Engler pointed to the fact that Republican John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, is running as a pro-trade candidate as a sign that businesses are likely to win on trade in the end.

"If he can do that in Ohio," Engler said, referring to Tuesday's primary in the state, "I think it indicates what you hear in the build-up of campaigns is largely aberrational."