Free trade critics hold sway during Democratic presidential primary debates

Democratic Party frontrunner Joe Biden's refusal to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership highlighted the shift. within the Democratic Party away from big trade deals back towards its traditional scepticism of free trade.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - Despite being a key advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the Obama administration, former vice-president and Democratic Party front runner Joe Biden publicly withdrew his support for the original trade pact on Wednesday (July 31) and said he would only back a renegotiated one.

"I would not rejoin the TPP as it was initially put forward," said Mr Biden during the second round of the Democratic presidential primary debates, where 20 hopefuls vied for voters and donors in their quest to clinch the party's nomination to run against incumbent United States President Donald Trump next year.

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