WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., N.Y.) have broadened their opposition to free trade in speeches before the AFL-CIO in Pennsylvania.
Obama and Clinton reached beyond their calls for reforming the 14-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement as they campaign for the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.
Clinton, who has urged a "time-out" on all new trade agreements and a review of existing pacts, told union members Tuesday that she would "get tough on China."
"They manipulate their currency, they give illegal subsidies, they abuse workers' rights and what do we get in return?" Clinton asked rhetorically. "Tainted fish, lead-laced toys and poisoned pet food and polluted pharmaceuticals. That is a bad deal for America. When I'm president, China will be a trade partner, not a trade master."
Clinton did not provide details of how she would change the U.S. trading relationship with China. However, she has supported legislation that would use trade remedy laws to impose higher duties on imported Chinese products if that country doesn't reform its currency policy, which critics say gives Chinese firms unfair price advantages.
Clinton also unveiled a job creation plan on Wednesday that would eliminate tax incentives for companies that outsource jobs and provide $7 billion a year in new tax benefits and investments to help companies create higher paying jobs in the U.S.
Obama, who has also supported the same China legislation, told the AFL-CIO members Wednesday that he would "refuse to accept" trade deals like one pending with South Korea because they are "bad for American workers."
"What I oppose — and what I have always opposed — are trade deals that put the interests of multinational corporations ahead of the interests of American workers, like NAFTA and CAFTA [Central America Free Trade Agreement] and permanent normal trade relations with China."
Obama said his opposition to a pending deal with Colombia is based on the assassinations of trade unionists that he said will "make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements."Labor officials have been encouraged by the deeper debate on trade between the Democratic candidates, but they remain highly critical of the pro-free trade stance of Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.
"I think [Clinton and Obama] both have staked out pretty strong positions on a variety of trade issues, particularly on the free trade agreements and on China," said Thea Lee, policy director at the AFL-CIO. "Because they have been so concrete and detailed, I do think this will have more weight [if one of them wins the White House] than in the past when glancing references were made to trade issues and the candidates weren't pinned down."
Lee asserted that McCain's trade position will not serve him well in battleground states, such as Pennsylvania, which have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, partly because of international trade.
"I think it's a huge liability for McCain," Lee said. "His position rings very hollow for our members and...it will be a hard sell."
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast