Biden Won't Commit to TPP Trade Deal He Championed as VP

'His campaign press secretary declined to comment on what his position is'

Joe Biden and Barack Obama (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
June 26, 2019

Joe Biden's presidential campaign refused to defend the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal he championed as vice president to the Atlantic, which asked all the Democratic presidential candidates for their views on TPP.

Biden was front and center in the Obama administration's effort to sell the TPP trade deal President Donald Trump formally spiked just days after assuming office in 2017. He was marshaled by the Obama administration to sell the deal to skeptical Democratic lawmakers and told them it was critical to containing China's influence in Asia.

Biden's campaign, however, now refused to say he would support the trade policy, according to the Atlantic.

"Even as Biden is running explicitly as a restoration of the Obama presidency, his campaign press secretary declined to comment on what his position is, other than to point to recent remarks the former vice president has made: that he opposes President Donald Trump’s trade war, and that he’d like higher labor standards in the revamped NAFTA agreement that the current administration is hoping to get approved by Congress," it reports. "The campaign says more details on what he'd do on trade will be coming soon."

Biden's campaign, the Atlantic writes, appears to view TPP as "too tricky an issue to have a clear position on."

Of the twenty-three candidates surveyed on trade by the Atlantic, only John Delaney definitively said he would want to restart TPP negotiations if elected president in 2020. Other leading candidates, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), and Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), said they would not attempt to revive TPP and pointed to flaws they saw.

Former Obama administration cabinet official Julián Castro also abandoned the deal, saying his administration wouldn't "settle for the standards of the past."

Three candidates, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), did not respond to questions on TPP.