John Edwards on Free Trade
Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator
SHARPTON: I want to cancel it.
EDWARDS: I think we do need to renegotiate it. The problem with NAFTA is these side agreements don't work. You have to put these labor/environmental protections in the text of the agreement.
Q: Will that be enough?
SHARPTON: No, I don't think so. This cost jobs for Americans. And it is unequivocal evidence that it costs Americans jobs. People were unemployed. It also went below labor and human rights standards abroad. We need to cancel NAFTA unequivocally. We need to have standards that we would not deal with nations that would put laborers in those kinds of situations. We cannot protect American corporations and call that patriotic and not protect American workers and call that protections.
A: I believe we need trade that works for America and the world, and have outlined a new approach to trade agreements that will protect American jobs and require labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. My approach would also establish an international 'right to know,' so that consumers know if corporations have moved jobs overseas or engage in abusive environmental and labor standards. I would also take aggressive measures to make sure foreign markets are open to US goods and include strong environmental and labor standards in all trade deals.
EDWARDS: I didn't 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 weren't in Congress when NAFTA came up. But you voted for China.
A: We have lost over 3 million private sector jobs under President Bush. Two and a half million of those are manufacturing jobs. In order to protect the jobs we have I would do the following.
EDWARDS: I supported the tariffs as the time. I think they were important, given the surge of steel that had come into the US. I think it was the right thing to do. I supported it at the time. We've just gotten a new report, which we're examining right now. My initial reaction is it may be time to ease off on the tariffs. It may actually be the right thing to do, given the result of the report.
But it's not enough to just protect the jobs that we have. We have to create jobs, and particularly in those communities where the job loss has been greatest. First, I would stop these tax loopholes that give American businesses a reason to go overseas. Instead, we ought to give tax breaks to companies that'll keep jobs right here in America. Then I would identify those places in America that have been hit the hardest, particularly by trade, and create a national venture capital fund for businesses that will locate there, give tax incentives to existing business and industry that will come there.
Edwards says, "Sen. Edwards voted NO on the final passage of this bill and has expressed his opposition to the Andean Free Trade agreement. "
The mission of the Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies is to increase public understanding of the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism.
The Cato Trade Center focuses not only on U.S. protectionism, but also on trade barriers around the world. Cato scholars examine how the negotiation of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements can reduce trade barriers and provide institutional support for open markets. Not all trade agreements, however, lead to genuine liberalization. In this regard, Trade Center studies scrutinize whether purportedly market-opening accords actually seek to dictate marketplace results, or increase bureaucratic interference in the economy as a condition of market access.
Studies by Cato Trade Center scholars show that the United States is most effective in encouraging open markets abroad when it leads by example. The relative openness and consequent strength of the U.S. economy already lend powerful support to the worldwide trend toward embracing open markets. Consistent adherence by the United States to free trade principles would give this trend even greater momentum. Thus, Cato scholars have found that unilateral liberalization supports rather than undermines productive trade negotiations.
Scholars at the Cato Trade Center aim at nothing less than changing the terms of the trade policy debate: away from the current mercantilist preoccupation with trade balances, and toward a recognition that open markets are their own reward.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
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