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Why claims about the “unprecedented” labor and environmental protections of the Trans-Pacific Partnership sound so familiar

“The North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] is the first agreement that ever really got any teeth in environmental standards, any teeth in what another country had to do with its own workers and its own labor standards… There’s never been anything like this before.”
— Bill Clinton, 1993

“CAFTA has the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any trade agreement ever negotiated by the United States. CAFTA is light years ahead of NAFTA, more practical and effective than current law, and is far stronger than earlier agreements.”
— Rob Portman, Bush’s trade representative, 2005

“This [Korea Free Trade] agreement includes groundbreaking protections for workers’ rights and for the environment. In this sense, it’s an example of the kind of fair trade agreement that I will continue to work for as president, in Asia and around the world.”
— Barack Obama, 2010

“This [Trans-Pacific Partnership] will end up being the most progressive trade bill in history. It will have the kinds of labor and environmental and human rights protections that have been absent in previous agreements.”
— Barack Obama, 2015

Source: “Broken Promises: Decades of Failure to Enforce Labor Standards in Free Trade Agreements,” prepared by the staff of Sentator Elizabeth Warren, available online here.

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