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Charles Rangel on Free Trade

Dem./Lib./Working-Families


World Bank exerts US influence as first among unequals

The US has demonstrated that she will display and deploy her economic and military power to influence the conduct of other countries in her favor. Through diplomacy and the world trade organizations it formed and directs, the US is coordinating the commerce of smaller nations. It's ostensibly for our mutual benefit, but the truth is that these countries do not play on a level playing field with us. The international development finance institutions like the World Bank that set the criteria for participation by smaller countries are also directed by standards created by the US with our interests first among unequals.
Source: A Bad Day Since, by Charles Rangel, p.167 , Aug 5, 2008

1980s: Caribbean Basin Initiative: lower tariff barriers

It took until the 1970s for the small economies of the Caribbean to begin to emerge from colonial status and establish a foothold in the global economy. Countries like Jamaica earned precious foreign exchange from international mining companies for aluminum ore mined & shipped from the island. Most of the Caribbean was entirely dependent on raw material, tourism, and some agricultural exports. Caribbean leaders sought to develop higher-value export industries, particularly in textiles and garments. However, tariff barriers made it economically difficult for them to export to the US. I fought for the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) in the early 80s in order to create a Caribbean export market in the US by eliminating for tariffs on a preferential basis.

The CBI has been responsible for nearly two decades of unparalleled growth in trade between the US and our close Caribbean neighbors. Unfortunately, such examples [are rare recently] of using economic diplomacy for the common good.

Source: A Bad Day Since, by Charles Rangel, p.167-8 , Aug 5, 2008

Supports Chinese trade; African trade; and Caribbean trade

I want American business to have a fair advantage over foreign business. On matters of trade, I'm ready to give something up, but they've got to give up something for the larger good in return. That's what my support for the Caribbean Basin Initiative, Chinese free trade, the African trade initiative has been about. These things help these countries but they also benefit American business. They may break me away from the majority of my party, but I have more than a consensus among my committee members
Source: A Bad Day Since, by Charles Rangel, p.244-245 , Aug 5, 2008

Voted YES on promoting free trade with Peru.

Approves the Agreement entered into with the government of Peru. Provides for the Agreement's entry into force upon certain conditions being met on or after January 1, 2008. Prescribes requirements for:

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. RANGEL: It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade. I had the opportunity to travel to Peru recently. I saw firsthand how important this agreement is to Peru and how this agreement will strengthen an important ally of ours in that region. Peru is resisting the efforts of Venezuela's authoritarian President Hugo Chavez to wage a war of words and ideas in Latin America against the US. Congress should acknowledge the support of the people of Peru and pass this legislation by a strong margin.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. WU: I regret that I cannot vote for this bill tonight because it does not put human rights on an equal footing with environmental and labor protections.

Rep. KILDEE: All trade agreements suffer from the same fundamental flaw: They are not self-enforcing. Trade agreements depend upon vigorous enforcement, which requires official complaints be made when violations occur. I have no faith in President Bush to show any enthusiasm to enforce this agreement. Congress should not hand this administration yet another trade agreement because past agreements have been more efficient at exporting jobs than goods and services. I appeal to all Members of Congress to vote NO on this. But I appeal especially to my fellow Democrats not to turn their backs on those American workers who suffer from the export of their jobs. They want a paycheck, not an unemployment check.

Reference: Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act; Bill H.R. 3688 ; vote number 2007-1060 on Nov 8, 2007

Voted YES on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.

H.R.3920: Trade and Globalization Act of 2007: Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to allow the filing for trade adjustment assistance (TAA) by adversely affected workers. Revises group eligibility requirements for TAA to cover: (1) a shift of production or services to abroad; or (2) imports of articles or services from abroad.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. RANGEL: In recent years, trade policy has been a dividing force. This legislation develops a new trade policy that more adequately addresses the growing perception that trade is not working for American workers. The Trade and Globalization Assistance Act would expand training and benefits for workers while also helping to encourage investment in communities that have lost jobs to increased trade--particularly in our manufacturing sector. The bill is a comprehensive policy expanding opportunities for American workers, industries, and communities to prepare for and overcome the challenges created by expanded trade.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. McCRERY: We should be considering trade adjustment assistance in the context of trade opportunities generally for US workers. That is to say, I think we should be considering modifications to our assistance network in the context of the pending free trade agreements that are before the Congress. Unfortunately, we are not doing that. We are considering TAA in isolation. [We should instead] restructure TAA from a predominantly income support program into a job retraining program. Other problems include that H.R. 3920 would:

Reference: Trade and Globalization Assistance Act; Bill HR3920 ; vote number 2007-1025 on Oct 31, 2007

Impose tariffs against countries which manipulate currency.

Rangel signed Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act

[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Exchange Rate"]:

Between 1994 and 2005, the Chinese yuan renminbi was pegged to the US dollar at RMB 8.28 to $1. Countries may gain an advantage in international trade if they manipulate the value of their currency by artificially keeping its value low. It is argued that China has succeeded in doing this over a long period of time. However, a 2005 appreciation of the Yuan by 22% was followed by a 39% increase in Chinese imports to the US. In 2010, other nations, including Japan & Brazil, attempted to devalue their currency in the hopes of subsidizing cheap exports and bolstering their ailing economies. A low exchange rate lowers the price of a country's goods for consumers in other countries but raises the price of imported goods for consumers in the manipulating country.

Source: HR.639&S.328 11-HR0639 on Feb 14, 2011

No MFN for China; condition trade on human rights.

Rangel adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:

The Progressive Caucus opposes awarding China permanent Most Favored Nation trading status at this time. We believe that it would be a serious setback for the protection and expansion of worker rights, human rights and religious rights. We also believe it will harm the US economy. We favor continuing to review on an annual basis China’s trading status, and we believe it is both legal and consistent with US WTO obligations to do so. The Progressive Caucus believes that trade relations with the US should be conditioned on the protection of worker rights, human rights and religious rights. If Congress gives China permanent MFN status, the US will lose the best leverage we have to influence China to enact those rights and protections. At the current time, the US buys about 40% of China’s exports, making it a consumer with a lot of potential clout. So long as the US annually continues to review China’s trade status, we have the ability to debate achievement of basic worker and human rights and to condition access to the US market on the achievement of gains in worker and human rights, if necessary. But once China is given permanent MFN, it permanently receives unconditional access to the US market and we lose that leverage. China will be free to attract multinational capital on the promise of super low wages, unsafe workplace conditions and prison labor and permanent access to the US market.

Furthermore, giving China permanent MFN will be harmful to the US economy, since the record trade deficit with China (and attendant problems such as loss of US jobs, and lower average wages in the US) will worsen. For 1999, the trade deficit is likely to be nearly $70 billion. Once China is awarded permanent MFN and WTO membership, the trade deficit will worsen.

Source: CPC Position Paper: Trade With China 99-CPC1 on Nov 11, 1999

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Free Trade: Charles Rangel on other issues:
[Title7]



Lame-duck session 2012:
KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

Re-seated Former Reps:
AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

2013 Resignations and Replacements:
AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
MA-8:Stephen Lynch(D)
MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
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Newly-elected Democrats:
AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema
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MN-8: Rick Nolan
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NH-2: Annie Kuster
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NY-5: Grace Meng
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Page last updated: Jun 14, 2013