Warren Pitches New Trade Agenda In Midwest Campaign Swing

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to media on, July 27 in Derry, N.H. (Elise Amendola/AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to media on, July 27 in Derry, N.H. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a trade agenda on Monday that would aggressively use U.S. policy as a tool to prod other countries to adopt progressive stances on climate change and labor rights.

The Massachusetts Democrat and presidential candidate proposed nine preconditions U.S. trading partners would have to meet to participate in agreements. The conditions include ending fossil-fuel subsidies and not appearing on the Treasury Department's list of countries flagged for their currency practices. She also didn't rule out tariffs, which President Trump has dangled over trading partners.

In some ways, Warren's tough approach echoes Trump's rhetoric from the 2016 campaign, when he vowed to muscle through international pacts that better protect workers. But she insists her trade plan departs from the president in promising to leverage trade agreements as a means to liberalize global policy on key issues.

"Trade can be a powerful tool to help working families but our failed pro-corporate agenda has used trade to harm American workers and the environment," she said in a post on Medium, the online publishing platform. "My plan represents a new approach to trade — one that uses America's leverage to boost American workers and raise the standard of living across the globe."

Warren launched her trade plan ahead of a campaign stop in Ohio, a state Trump won by eight percentage points in 2016 as he vowed to renegotiate or dismantle U.S. trade agreements to better protect workers. She hopes her characteristically detail-driven proposal will give her a fresh pitch to voters in the manufacturing-heavy upper Midwest for whom Trump's trade promises have resonated.

What remains to be seen is how she might use the new plan during Tuesday night's Democratic debate in Detroit, where she'll stand next to Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator whose liberal base Warren has cut into in the early days of the 2020 primary.

Both Warren and Sanders have aligned with the broad spirit of Trump's aggressive postures in U.S.-China trade talks but portrayed their approaches as far more methodical than the president's. They've slammed his administration as insufficiently concerned with outsourcing and other labor priorities.

Warren's ambitious vision for reshaping U.S. trade policy won't be easy to execute, particularly in light of Trump's own struggles to renegotiate existing pacts to achieve less far-reaching goals. She underscored the high bar her plan would set in using trade agreements as a means to shift global policy in her Monday announcement, writing: "Shamefully, America itself does not meet many of these labor and environmental standards today."



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