Obama, Clinton take stand on China at manufacturing forum
Democratic candidates for president senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York spoke to a diverse audience of more than 1,600 union workers, manufacturers, and local elected officials at a forum Monday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.
Appearing separately, each candidate spoke about trade and manufacturing issues before fielding questions from the audience. Both vowed to hold China and other offending countries accountable for unfair trade practices that disadvantage U.S. workers and manufacturers.
“China must stop manipulating its currency because it’s not fair to American manufacturers; it’s not fair to you,” Obama said. He also criticized trade agreements like NAFTA and pledged to, “fight for manufacturing, modernize the steel industry, strengthen our manufacturing base, and have a manufacturing policy to open as many markets as we can for American workers.”
Clinton highlighted national security concerns related to unfair trade as she outlined her trade agenda.
“I’m calling for changing our laws to send China a message,” Clinton said. “If you subsidize your exports and hurt our manufacturers, you’ll pay a price.” She also argued that, “you cannot be a strong nation without a strong manufacturing sector.”
The forum was sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing , and its executive director, Scott Paul, applauded the candidates for their willingness to engage on the issues before a largely Pennsylvania audience one week before that state’s Democratic primary election.
“Senators Obama and Clinton faced an audience who believe that jobs and manufacturing issues are at the heart of this election, and they were gratefully received,” he said.