State of Iowa Archives: on Free Trade


Bob Krause: Focus trade policies on middle-class incomes

A policy to break our stagnant incomes cycle: As your US Senator, i will work to break the cycle of stagnant wages that is hitting all but very upper-income Americans.
Source: 2016 Campaign website for Iowa Senate, krauseforiowa.com Nov 11, 2015

Bernie Sanders: I strongly opposed NAFTA and DOMA from their inception

I have strongly criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Defense of Marriage Act since a certain presidential couple enacted them back in the 90's. Six months ago, when I began my campaign and announced we were going to take on these types of legislation, as well as the political and economic establishment of this country, very few people knew who I was. Well, in the last six months, things have changed.
Source: ABC News on 2015 presidential Democratic hopefuls in Iowa Oct 25, 2015

Tom Fiegen: I am concerned about lopsided trade agreements

I am concerned about the downward economic spiral of working people, lopsided trade agreements, the ruthless big banksters aka gangsters like JPMorgan Chase, which dominate our economy and politics. I am equally concerned about the lack of access and affordability of health care and prescription drugs for Americans, and the $1.2 trillion student loan debt which is preventing our young people from getting married, buying a home or starting a family.
Source: 2016 Iowa Senate campaign website, FiegenForUSSenate.com Oct 9, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Trans Pacific Partnership isn't fair trade or free trade

Huckabee complained that American wages have been stagnant since Chinese trade agreements went into effect over the past few decades: "People are working hard, and they have less to show for it," he said. "We need to quit apologizing for being America, and we need to start making it so that Americans can prosper and not just so that the Chinese can buy Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags."

The comments came in response to questions about why the government has kept the embargo in place against Cuba, even as trade barriers with China have been lifted. "We have basically surrendered to the Chinese market," Huckabee said. "We've not put the pressure on them."

Huckabee expressed doubts over the Trans Pacific Partnership. "If it's not fair trade," he said, "it's not free trade."

Source: Politico.com coverage of 2015 Iowa Agricultural Summit Mar 7, 2015

Rick Perry: China practices communism at night & capitalism in daytime

Perry said trading with Castro's Cuba was unlikely to change the communist nation's ways. Improving trade relationships elsewhere, he added, would best serve American interests. Perry proposed China as a better trading partner. Increasing US ties with Beijing, he said, could lead the Asian nation towards democracy.

"China's different," Perry said of both countries. "China basically practices communism at night and capitalism in the daytime. There's a chance for our trade to engage with them and possibly change the culture."

Source: The Hill weblog coverage of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Rod Blum: Fast-track free trade to expand agricultural markets

I support expanding markets for Iowa's agricultural products and will fight for common sense free trade agreements that open up new markets for Iowa farmers. I also support measures like Fast Track Trade Authority that help expedite the approval process for free trade agreements.

I am proud to have been named a "Friend of Agriculture" by the Iowa Farm Bureau and am proud to support Iowa farmers and agricultural producers.

Source: 2014 Iowa House campaign website, RodBlum.com Nov 4, 2014

Doug Butzier: Free trade is the very foundation of prosperity

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Support & expand free trade. Absolutely"?

A: Free Markets and Free Trade are at the very foundation of economic growth and prosperity.

Source: E-mail interview: 2014 Iowa Senate race with OnTheIssues.org Sep 17, 2014

Joni Ernst: Keep markets open to exports for Iowa goods

Growing Iowa's Economy: Joni will fight to continue to help Iowa's economy grow--meaning an influx of even more businesses to the state and a resulting increase in jobs. She believes that by ensuring markets remain open to exports for Iowa goods and promoting innovation that makes Iowa more competitive in today's global marketplace, Iowa will continue its current upward economic and job growth trajectory.
Source: 2014 Senate campaign website, JoniForIowa.com, "Issues" Sep 9, 2013

Ron Paul: Trade sanctions never worked on Cuba, and won't work on Iran

Q: You said about Iran: "Sanctions are not diplomacy; they are a precursor to war and an embarrassment to a country that pays lip service to free trade."

A: Countries that you put sanctions on, you are more likely to fight them. I say a policy of peac is free trade. Stay out of their internal business. Don't get involved in these wars. And just bring our troops home.

Q: So your policy towards Iran is, if they want to develop a nuclear weapon, that's their right, no sanctions?

A: No, that makes it much worse. Why would that be so strange, if the Soviets and the Chinese have nuclear weapons? We tolerated the Soviets; we didn't attack them. And they were a much greater danger. You don't go to war against them. This whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions. This is why we still don't have trade relationships with Cuba. It's about time we talked to Cuba and stopped fighting these wars that are about 30 or 40 years old.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Terry Branstad: Letter to Obama: Pass trade agreements

With an increasingly competitive global economy, it is important for President Obama and Congress to enact the pending trade agreements. These agreements deserve bipartisan support, because trade is one of the best ways to grow our economy through high-paying jobs for American workers and increased opportunities for American farmers, ranchers, and business owners. In the beef, pork and poultry industries alone, an estimated 5,000 new Iowa jobs would be created by these trade agreements.
Source: 2011 Iowa Gubernatorial press release May 23, 2011

Roxanne Conlin: Stop helping big corporations ship jobs overseas

The days of bail outs for the big banks on Wall Street are over. We need a senator who will help small businesses in Iowa, not big corporations that ship jobs overseas. Fight for relief on Main Street, not more bailouts for Wall Street. And preserve the jobs we have, while also creating new ones with a renewable energy revolution--in wind, solar, ethanol, and biomass.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.RoxanneForIowa, "Issues" Jul 20, 2010

Bob Krause: Emergency legislation emphasizing fair trade

In 2008, Krause spent four months abroad, working on proposals to reduce traffic congestion in the United Arab Emirates. Those experiences propel his drive to stop the outflow of jobs to foreign countries.

Topping Krause's policy agenda are promises of job growth, worker-focused trade policies and support for veterans.

Specifically, Krause says he would introduce emergency legislation emphasizing "fair trade" policies in all agreements with foreign companies. He said he would work to reverse a law that allows American companies overseas to avoid taxes if they keep their profits outside the United States.

Ask Krause about Grassley--his experience, his influence in the U.S. Senate, the federal money he delivers to Iowans--and the Democrat scoffs.

Source: Des Moines Register on 2016 Iowa Senate race Apr 22, 2010

Christopher Reed: NAFTA harms the US

Q: What is your view on NAFTA and other free trade agreements as a whole?

A: Whatever the original intentions behind NAFTA, I think it only serves to harm the United States. The United States is the best in the world. We have the best workers, the most creative minds and best companies in the world. We cannot keep exporting our labor and manufacturing out of the country if we are going to stay on top of the world. We must keep Americans doing the work if we want to stay there.

Source: The Iowa Brigade, email questionnaire Apr 2, 2008

Carol Moseley-Braun: We need balance between trade and labor protection

Q: Your views on labor and environmental rights in trade agreements?

MOSELEY BRAUN: Isnít the issue really one of balance? We canít afford to go the route of just protectionism that will jump-start a depression in this country nor can we afford to just give away the store, as has happened under this administrationís leadership with our trade agreements. You have to have environmental and labor standards and human rights standards in order to level the playing field for American companies so that we arenít hemorrhaging jobs as a result of our engagements with the rest of the world. But to stand and tell the American people that protectionism will somehow or another keep jobs in this country is just not true.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Dennis Kucinich: President has authority to cancel NAFTA and WTO-I will

KUCINICH: I will cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Weíve lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs in this country. The president has the authority and power to cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Will you, Governor Dean?

DEAN: I did not vote for NAFTA or the WTO, because I have never served in Congress. But I did support Chinaís entry into the WTO in 1999 because I believed it was an issue for national security. I believe in constructive engagement. That doesnít mean these agreements donít need to be changed. We have stood up for multinational corporations in these agreements, but we have not stood up for workersí rights, environmental rights and human rights. And until we do, trade doesnít work.

GEPHARDT: Look, Howard, you were for NAFTA. You came to the signing ceremony. You were for the China agreement. Itís one thing to talk the talk, itís another thing to walk the walk. Weíve got to get labor and environment in these treaties, when the treaties are before the Congress. Thatís when it counts.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Dick Gephardt: Iím for labor rights and NAFTA supporters are not

GEPHARDT: I got a trade treaty with Jordan that really paid attention to labor & environmental rights. The Gephardt amendment is in law in the country, and it got markets open, like in Japan, where weíve had to face unfair trade practices. Now, everybody up here, except Kucinich, voted for NAFTA and voted for the China agreement. They did the wrong thing. We need to bring up conditions in these other countries so that we work toward a global marketplace that works for everybody. You canít do that if you give in to bad trade deals, like most of these candidates did.

EDWARDS: I didnít vote for NAFTA. I campaigned against NAFTA. I voted against the Chilean trade agreement, against the Caribbean trade agreement, against the Singapore trade agreement, against final passage of fast track for this president. Gephardt has sent out mailings attacking and identifying all of us and putting us in the same category.

GEPHARDT: Well, you werenít in Congress when NAFTA came up. But you voted for China.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Dick Gephardt: Walk the walk of labor and environmental standards-by voting

KUCINICH: I will cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Weíve lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs in this country. The president has the authority and power to cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Will you, Governor Dean?

DEAN: I did not vote for NAFTA or the WTO, because I have never served in Congress. But I did support Chinaís entry into the WTO in 1999 because I believed it was an issue for national security. I believe in constructive engagement. That doesnít mean these agreements donít need to be changed. We have stood up for multinational corporations in these agreements, but we have not stood up for workersí rights, environmental rights and human rights. And until we do, trade doesnít work.

GEPHARDT: Look, Howard, you were for NAFTA. You came to the signing ceremony. You were for the China agreement. Itís one thing to talk the talk, itís another thing to walk the walk. Weíve got to get labor and environment in these treaties, when the treaties are before the Congress. Thatís when it counts.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Howard Dean: We need China trade as a national security issue

KUCINICH: I will cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Weíve lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs in this country. The president has the authority and power to cancel NAFTA and the WTO. Will you, Governor Dean?

DEAN: I did not vote for NAFTA or the WTO, because I have never served in Congress. But I did support Chinaís entry into the WTO in 1999 because I believed it was an issue for national security. I believe in constructive engagement. That doesnít mean these agreements donít need to be changed. We have stood up for multinational corporations in these agreements, but we have not stood up for workersí rights, environmental rights and human rights. And until we do, trade doesnít work.

GEPHARDT: Look, Howard, you were for NAFTA. You came to the signing ceremony. You were for the China agreement. Itís one thing to talk the talk, itís another thing to walk the walk. Weíve got to get labor and environment in these treaties, when the treaties are before the Congress. Thatís when it counts.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Howard Dean: Weíve globalized corporations; now globalize worker rights

Q: Americaís farmers need open markets for their crops around the world, but other American workers want a level playing field. How would you balance those interests?

DEAN: Thereís no reason we canít do both. NAFTA and the WTO only globalized the rights of multinational corporations, but they did not globalize the rights of workers. They are not going to globalize human rights, environmental rights, the right to organize. That needs to happen. And if it doesnít happen, NAFTA and the WTO simply arenít going to work. Right now, weíre exporting jobs.

We need to have a level playing field. We need to have the same kinds of environmental protections, labor protections, human rights protections and worker protections if weíre going to have open borders. That will not disadvantage exports.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

John Edwards: Against NAFTA, against Chile trade, against Singapore trade

GEPHARDT: I got a trade treaty with Jordan that really paid attention to labor & environmental rights. The Gephardt amendment is in law in the country, and it got markets open, like in Japan, where weíve had to face unfair trade practices. Now, everybody up here, except Kucinich, voted for NAFTA and voted for the China agreement. They did the wrong thing. We need to bring up conditions in these other countries so that we work toward a global marketplace that works for everybody. You canít do that if you give in to bad trade deals, like most of these candidates did.

EDWARDS: I didnít vote for NAFTA. I campaigned against NAFTA. I voted against the Chilean trade agreement, against the Caribbean trade agreement, against the Singapore trade agreement, against final passage of fast track for this president. Gephardt has sent out mailings attacking and identifying all of us and putting us in the same category.

GEPHARDT: Well, you werenít in Congress when NAFTA came up. But you voted for China.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

John Kerry: Veto FTAA and CAFTA until they have stronger standards

Q: Your views on labor rights?

KERRY: I have been fighting to have labor and environment standards in trade agreements. I worked to make sure we had it in the Jordan agreement and in the Vietnam side agreement. You didnít need it in Chile is because they have high standards and they enforce them. The important thing is, I would not support the Free Trade of the Americas Act or the Central American Free Trade Act until they have stronger standards in them. If they sent them to my desk, Iíd veto them.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Joseph Lieberman: Avoid pro-business extremism and protectionist extremism

Q: Your views on worker rights in trade agreements?

LIEBERMAN: Weíve got to reject the extremism of George Bush and the extremism of Democrats who would put back walls of protectionism. And whatís the extremism of George Bush? He just sits back and lets foreign countries break the rules of trade, rip off patents and copyrights, take American jobs, play with the currency. Thatís wrong. As president, Iím going to fight tough against that. But we canít create jobs by building up walls of protectionism. I looked at the stats in Iowa. One-fifth of the manufacturing jobs in this state. By the number I saw, more than 100,000 are dependent on trade. The top two and three markets for goods from Iowa, both agricultural-grown goods and manufactured -- Canada and Mexico, the countries weíre in NAFTA with. You break NAFTA, youíre going to cut out tens of thousands of jobs here in Iowa.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Al Sharpton: Repeal NAFTA and GATT: too business-friendly

Too many Democrats agreed with deregulating big business. Too many Democrats allowed big business to have us swayed with these trade agreements. We need to repeal NAFTA. We need to repeal GATT. We need to criminalize those that donít just go off shore for business reason, it is their criminal intent not to have to pay their share in an America that they want to be a part of.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

Bill Bradley: All refugees should be granted rights to stay in US

Q: Should the wet-foot-dry-foot law be expanded to include groups other than Cubans? A: People who come to our shores as refugees have a right to remain because theyíre fleeing tyranny, not just Communist tyranny. We ought to ensure that they can stay and have the same legal rights as everybody else. The 1996 Immigration Law created some problems that we need to rectify. Weíre all immigrants in this country. So I think immigration is what we are as a country. It should be celebrated.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

Bill Bradley: Rely on the WTO to export beef to Europe

Q: What would you do to ensure that all American farm products have access to all markets? A: I think the most important thing we can do is to use our authority under the WTO in order to petition to get access to markets. When, for example, Europe blocked our beef because of beef hormones, we went to the WTO. We formed a dispute settlement mechanism. We presented our case, and they ruled in our favor. Thereís still delay in the entry of that beef into Europe, but the decision was made.
Source: Democrat Debate in Johnston Iowa Jan 8, 2000

Alan Keyes: WTO allows dictators to decide our future - US out

Everybody else is busy arguing about whether China should be in the WTO. I look at an organization that is unrepresentative, elected by no one, where dictators and tyrants have the same right to send representatives to make substantive decisions that will affect our jobs & livelihood in a fashion totally contrary to our constitution. The question isnít whether China should belong to the WTO. The question is whether the US should belong to an organization that violates our constitutional principles.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

Gary Bauer: Europeans fight to protect their farmers; so should we

The politicians pulled another fast one. They said to farmers: Weíre going to put you more at risk in the international marketplace. But in exchange, weíre going to fight to open up markets around the world. They did not keep their end of the bargain. Europeans keep our beef out with this excuse about growth hormones. They keep Iowa corn out because of genetic engineering. European governments fight to protect their farmers. We need a government that will fight to protect American farmers.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

George W. Bush: China in WTO is good for US farm exports

BAUER [to Bush]: I will stop allowing China to play us for suckers. Weíve given them Most Favored Nation status 10 years in a row. They dump their goods here. And Iowa farmers are selling less to China now than they did 10 years ago. The time of them playing us for suckers will end in my presidency.

BUSH: Iím glad you brought it up. Youíre not for China getting into the WTO. I am. And let me tell you something-the amount of corn thatíll be moved if China gets in the WTO will rise from 250,000 metric tons, to 7.2 million metric tons. Opening up Chinese markets is good for our farmers.

BAUER: Governor Bush, hereís your fallacy: You believe the Chinese government will keep their agreements. They havenít kept their agreements for 20 years.

BUSH: Thatís why we let them in the WTO. Thatís part of agreement keeping.

BAUER: That just gives them another agreement to break, Governor.

Source: (cross-ref. from Bauer) Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

Steve Forbes: Do free trade ourselves, without WTO

Q: Should be a part of the WTO? A: I believe we should, but I have no illusions about it. Iíve compared to the WTO to a wooly mammoth without the charm. The Uruguay Round took 13 years. This roundís going to take probably 25 or 30 years. I think we should take action on our own - for example, doing a North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement with Ireland and Britain. Bring in on the Pacific side Australia, New Zealand & other nations. Do it ourselves. We canít wait for the WTO. Itís useless.
Source: Des Moines Iowa GOP Debate Dec 13, 1999

George W. Bush: The fearful build walls; the confident demolish them.

Iíll work to end tariffs and break down barriers everywhere, entirely, so the whole world trades in freedom. The fearful build walls. The confident demolish them. I am confident in American workers and farmers and producers. And I am confident that Americaís best is the best in the world.
Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Jun 12, 1999

  • The above quotations are from State of Iowa Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Free Trade.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Free Trade:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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