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Steve Forbes on Free Trade

2000 Republican Primary Candidate for President


Replace WTO with free trade to UK, Australia, & Pacific Rim

KEYES [to Forbes]: I’m very concerned with the surrender of America’s national sovereignty. Joining the WTO subjects the American people directly to decisions that will be applied without the intervention of elected representatives. Would you join me in a pledge, to withdraw from the WTO?

FORBES: If the WTO can’t get its act together, let it stay on the side & we take direct action in reducing trade barriers with our partners starting with the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, with Ireland & Britain. And we should do the same thing with Australia & other countries in the Pacific Rim. That way we can stop this discrimination against our products and the WTO can go its own way.

KEYES: [The WTO] violates the constitutional principle of no legislation without representation. Will you withdraw us from this unrepresentative body?

FORBES. I’m not going to withdraw us from that body. it’s supposed to be there to help reduce barriers. If it doesn’t, then we bid it goodbye.

Source: (X-ref to Forbes) GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Hopes for WTO as worldwide arbiter & lowering barriers

Forbes expressed skepticism about the the World Bank, and of the US Agency for International Development. But Forbes said he did not oppose all international agencies and had hopes that the World Trade Organization would be successful in its mission of lowering trade barriers and arbitrating trade disputes among nations.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A14 , Oct 5, 1999

IMF policies caused world economic crisis & must change

[IMF policies led to currency collapse, which causes] rip-roaring inflation; workers find their wages effectively cut in half; businesses are bankrupted and unemployment rises; and ethnic tensions rise. Incredibly, in several countries, the IMF also advocated doing away with fuel and food subsidies, just at the time when millions could no longer afford necessities. The IMF also [inappropriately] pushes for tax increases. The IMF remains haughtily unhumbled by these disasters.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Free Markets” , May 21, 1999

US job security depends on global economy

America cannot be an island of prosperity in a sea of global poverty. Forbes understands that the economic security and prosperity of the American people is directly linked to a strong and growing global economy. If people in other countries are doing well, then they can afford to buy more US goods and services. But if they are impoverished, then American workers are going to suffer. Now is not the time to retreat from the global economy.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Free Markets” , May 21, 1999

Supports Fast Track presidential trade authority

[Fast track] should have been renewed in 1994.
Source: CNN “Inside Politics” , Nov 22, 1997


Steve Forbes on China

Lay out rules; then repeal MFN if China breaches rules

BAUER [to Forbes]: China is in the middle of a massive arms build-up. They’ve taken technology from the US. We’ve got threats on Taiwan. This Chinese defense minister said: War with the US was inevitable. Will you repeal MFN status for China? I will in my first week in office.

FORBES: We must let the Chinese know what the rules of engagement are. On human rights abuses: We will criticize them. In terms of trade, it has to be two-way.. If they don’t adhere to those rules, then you take the appropriate steps including taking trade sanctions.

BAUER: Will you repeal MFN status for China or not?

FORBES: If China violates those rules of engagement, then trade is going to be on the table including MFN. But you must first lay out what those rules are. If they want a relationship with us, here’s how you can have it. If not, they can have that confrontation and we’ll win against them just as we did against other tyrants.

BAUER: You’re ignoring 10 years of history. The verdict’s already in.

Source: (X-ref from Bauer) GOP Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

End religious persecution before joining WTO

China feigns apathy about joining the WTO, forcing the Administration to cave in to lure China back to the table. This is no way to build a long-term relationship based on mutual respect & the rule of law. The Administration must stop rolling over. The Chinese people must enjoy basic human rights, including freedom from religious persecution and forced abortion, as a minimum requirement for joining the WTO. Eradication of protectionist trade barriers & transition to a market economy is also needed.
Source: Press Release on China in WTO , Sep 3, 1999

China: Put commerce second to human right & proliferation

Until freedom at home renders it a benign power, deterrence and determination are essential for coping with the Chinese Communist dictatorship. We must get China to live by the rules in two vital areas: human rights and arms proliferation. [Via] the UN Human Rights Commission, [we should re-initiate] censuring China for restricting basic freedoms. China has a terrible record on arms proliferation, [especially with] Pakistan and Iran. But commerce has taken precedence over national security.
Source: “American Leadership” speech at Casey Inst., NYC , May 4, 1998

China: Block WTO entry until trade barriers fall

The US should deny China’s membership [in the WTO] until its has eliminated practices contradicting norms of free trade. [In particular]: tariffs ten times that of comparable US rates, unpublished regulations serving as non-tariff barriers, state subsidies, and unfettered intellectual property piracy. In the WTO, the US should not be in the business of bending the rules to appease Chinese ambitions. We should not reward precisely the behavior that we want China to move away from.
Source: “American Leadership” speech at Casey Inst., NYC , May 4, 1998

  • Click here for 2 older quotations from Steve Forbes on Free Trade.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Free Trade.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Steve Forbes.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Steve Forbes.
Other candidates on Free Trade: Steve Forbes on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

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V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2014