Topics in the News: NAFTA

John Bolton on Foreign Policy : Aug 5, 2013
International Criminal Court constrains U.S. freedom

Rather than seek discrete political, military, or trade agreements between individual nations, global governance aims to replicate the administrative state at the international level. Proponents of global governance urge vast delegations of authority to regulate domestic and world affairs to unaccountable international institutions; thus, the UN is responsible for international peace and security; and the International Criminal Court can prosecute anyone in the world for war crimes. These institutions will constrain US freedom of action by imposing international "norms" derived from consensus rather than respecting the decisions of constitutional democracy.

In 1986, Pres. Reagan wisely decided to block the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea because it creates an international authority with the right to tax private undersea mining. The Obama administration's efforts to convince the Senate to approve the agreement have proven unavailing.

Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: AEI Scholars column: Treaty by decree

Joe Biden on Free Trade : Feb 2, 2013
Permanent normal trade relations to Russia

[Recent internationally] important step enabled us to do some good things: to negotiate, ratify and implement the New START Treaty; to expand economic and trade relationships--including both Russian accession to the WTO and extension of the permanent normal trade relations to Russia; to build a bilateral presidential commission that networks Russian and American officials and publics on the broadest cooperative agenda the US and Russia have ever tried to share.

But we are not naive--neither Russia or the US. We will not agree with Russia on everything. For example, the US will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. These differences are real. But we continue to see opportunities for the US & Russia to partner in ways that advance our mutual security interest & the interest of the international community--whether by safeguarding and reducing nuclear arsenals, or boosting our trade & investment to help each other unlock the enormous innovative potential of our societies.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Speech at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany

Condoleezza Rice on Free Trade : Aug 29, 2012
China has signed 15 agreements in time Obama signed only 3

We must work for an open, global economy, and pursue free and fair trade, to grow our exports and our influence abroad. If you are worried about the rise of China, just consider this--the US has ratified only three trade agreements in the last few years, and those were negotiated in the Bush administration. China has signed 15 free trade agreements and is in the progress of negotiating as many as 18 more. Sadly, we are abandoning the field of free and fair trade and it will come back to haunt us.
Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jan 24, 2012
Double US exports via deals with Panama, Colombia, & S.Korea

Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling US exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we are on track to meet that goal--ahead of schedule. Soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago.

I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for American products.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2012 State of the Union speech

Jon Huntsman on Foreign Policy : Nov 12, 2011
80 million bloggers in China will take China down

Romney: The US should go before the WTO and bring an action against China as a currency manipulator. People say, "Well, you'll start a trade war." There's one going on right now, folks. They're stealing our jobs. And we're going to stand up to China.

Huntsman: I've tried to figure this out for 30 years of my career. First of all, I don't think, Mitt, you can take China to the WTO on currency-related issues. Second, I don't know that this country needs a trade war with China. Who does it hurt? Our small businesses in South Carolina; our exporters; our agriculture producers. We don't need that at a time when China is about to embark on a generational position. So what should we be doing? We should be reaching out to our allies & constituencies within China. They're called the young people. They're called the internet generation. There are 500 million internet users in China. And 80 million bloggers. And they are bringing about change, the likes of which is going to take China down.

Click for Jon Huntsman on other issues.   Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy

Rick Perry on Free Trade : Sep 23, 2011
NAFTA is largest job stimulus of the decade

Rick Perry has a long record of public statements in support of free trade. "NAFTA is the largest job stimulus packet to come along this decade," said then-Agriculture Secretary Perry in 1993, "Instead of building trade barriers against Mexico, we need to tear them down and make it as easy to trade with Mexico as Kansas and Nebraska."

"Export markets are the future of agriculture," Perry said in 1994. "NAFTA is one of the tools that we have gotten." In 1993, he praised the GATT Agreement as a "good deal for Texas agriculture". More recently, Perry has said that he will "be urging 'our friends in Washington' not to enact regulations that would hinder free trade.

Perry did support price supports for farmers as a candidate for Agriculture Commissioner in 1990, but he has also bashed Republicans for supporting tariffs on steel.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #10: Perry

Gary Johnson on Free Trade : Jul 21, 2011
No tariffs, no restrictions; but no corporatism

On trade, Johnson "generally supports NAFTA and other free-trade agreements," In a June 9 segment on John Stossel's program on Fox Business, Johnson "debated" Obama impersonator Reggie Brown and said he wanted "no tariffs, no restrictions" on trade. He did sound a little squishy on trade in a March 2011 interview when he said that "So much of the legislation that we pass isn't really free market at all. It's touted as free market, when the reality ends up to be very corporate. The reality ends up to be corporatism. I was always looking at business legislation from the standpoint of having it affect everyone equally as opposed to big business being further advantaged. So many of these treaties--NAFTA being one--the criticism of NAFTA should be rooted in the fact that big business became even bigger business."
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #9: Johnson

Jon Huntsman on Free Trade : Jun 22, 2011
Establish a Free Trade Area of the Americas

Huntsman served as Deputy United States Trade Representative for Pres. George W. Bush. "Promoting open markets promotes democratic values in those markets and enhances opportunities for American farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, and families," said Huntsman in a press release at the time. "With the US party to only two of the 130 free trade agreements worldwide, it is crucial to get off the sidelines by launching a new WTO trade round and establishing a Free Trade Area of the Americas. Trade Promotion Authority, the President's top trade goal, is important for both."

In 2002, Huntsman called NAFTA "a success beyond anyone's expectations. It has allowed the average family to save in terms of what they pay for goods, products that would otherwise carry a higher cost." Indeed, Huntsman seemed to demonstrate an understanding that free markets lead to economic growth. He said in May of 2011 that imposing tariffs on Chinese imports "would throw us into a depression."

Click for Jon Huntsman on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #8: Huntsman

Newt Gingrich on Free Trade : May 24, 2011
Supported NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and MFN

Gingrich has been a reliable advocate for free international trade, and a critic of both the politics and economics of protectionism.Evidence of any pro-protectionism support is scant. However, Gingrich did vote YES to keep trade-distorting peanut subsidies in 1985, although he later voted against them in 1990.
Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: Club for Growth 2012 Presidential White Paper #1: Gingrich

Deval Patrick on Principles & Values : Apr 12, 2011
Met wife, at Halloween party, while dressed as Masai warrior

A delightful old soul named Robert Hubbell invited me to a Halloween party and insisted that I dress in costume. I reluctantly agreed.

I wore a full-length caftan from Nigeria and no shoes, smeared war paint across my face, and carried a Masai spear. I thought I looked pretty good until I walked into the party and realized that I was the only one in costume. The joke was on me. Little did I know that the surprises were just beginning.

The entire party was an elaborate scheme for me to meet Diane--to engineer a chance encounter--and I was the only one out of the loop. Diane knew why she was there and had been told all about me. I, on the other hand, dressed as a mock African warrior, was blissfully ignorant.

The light finally dawned during the pumpkin carving contest, when Diane and I were paired. The prize was a single bottle of champagne. We won, of course, but the contest was shamelessly rigged. [We got engaged after dating a while.]

Click for Deval Patrick on other issues.   Source: A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick, p. 89-90

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jan 26, 2011
Double our exports by 2014; starting with South Korea

To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014--because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs here in the US. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans--and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.

Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs. That's what we did with Korea, and that's what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2011 State of the Union speech

Rand Paul on Foreign Policy : Nov 1, 2010
Exit the UN; maintain US sovereignty

Q: Do you support U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you support legislation that forbids U.S. troops from serving under United Nations command?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you support the American Sovereignty Act to restrict the Executive's ability to forge international agreements that lessen our sovereignty?

A: Yes.

Q: Will you oppose the so-called "NAFTA Superhighway" and any move toward a North American Union?

A: Yes.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Campaign for Liberty survey of 2010 Congressional candidates

Rob Portman on Free Trade : Oct 13, 2010
Pass more trade agreements to increase Ohio exports

On trade, Portman favors passing more trade agreements to increase Ohio exports and encouraging the Obama administration to get tough on China over currency manipulation. Fisher insists that trade agreements should be fair and accused Portman of not doing enough to enforce existing trade agreements when he served as President George W. Bush's trade representative.
Click for Rob Portman on other issues.   Source: Dayton Daily News coverage of 2010 Ohio Senate debate

Marco Rubio on Free Trade : Aug 11, 2010
Continue reducing barriers to free and fair trade

We must continue reducing barriers to free and fair trade. We should adopt the free trade agreements that have already been negotiated with Colombia, Panama, South Korea and other nations around the world. We should also insist that other countries reduce their own barriers to trade so that American goods can find new markets.
Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, "Reclaim"

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Oct 15, 2008
We export only 4,000 cars to Korea; that’s not free trade!

McCAIN: When Sen. Obama said he would unilaterally renegotiate NAFTA, the Canadians said, “Yes, and we’ll sell our oil to China.”

OBAMA: For far too long, certainly during the course of the Bush administration with the support of Sen. McCain, the attitude has been that any trade agreement is a good trade agreement. And NAFTA did not have enforceable labor agreements and environmental agreements.

And what I said was we should include those and make them enforceable. In the same way that we should enforce rules against China manipulating its currency to make our exports more expensive and their exports to us cheaper.

And when it comes to South Korea, we’ve got a trade agreement up right now, they are sending hundreds of thousands of South Korean cars into the US. That’s all good. We can only get 4,000 to 5,000 into South Korea. That is not free trade. We’ve got to have a president who is going to advocate on behalf of American businesses and American workers and I make no apology for that

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 third presidential debate against John McCain

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Aug 25, 2008
China trade deal does too little on fairness & compliance

For America to win, American workers have to win, too. That's why I opposed NAFTA, it's why I opposed CAFTA, and it's why I said any agreement I would support had to contain real, enforceable standards for workers.

That's why I believe the Permanent Normalized Trade agreement with China didn't do enough to ensure fairness and compliance.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama`s Challenge, by Robert Kuttner, p.173

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jul 1, 2008
NAFTA protects corporate profits; should protect labor

Here is an excerpt from the Obama speech:

"It's a Washington where George Bush hands out billions in tax cuts year after year to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest few who don't need them and don't ask for them.

"A Washington where decades of trade deals like NAFTA and China have been signed with plenty of protections for corporations and their profits, but none of our environment or our workers who've seen factories shut their doors and millions of jobs disappear, workers whose right to organize and unionize has been under assault for the last eight years.

"And it's a Washington that has thrown open its doors to lobbyists an special interests who've riddled our tax code with loopholes that let corporations avoid paying their taxes while you're paying more."

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p. 30

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jul 1, 2008
Assist workers who lose globalization's race to the bottom

Obama comments, "But the larger problem is what's missing from our prevailing policy on trade and globalization--namely, meaningful assistance for those who are not reaping its benefits and a plan to succeed in a twenty-first century economy. So far, almost all of our energy and almost all of these trade agreements are about making life easier for the winners of globalization, while we do nothing as life gets harder for American workers."

Obama adds, "But this is about more than displaced workers. Our failure to respond to globalization is causing a race to the bottom that means lower wages and stingier health and retiree benefits for all Americans. It's causing a squeeze on middle-class families who are working in this new economy. As one downstate (Illinois) worker told me during a recent visit, 'It doesn't do me much good if I'm saving a dollar on a T-shirt in Wal-Mart, but don't have a job.'"

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p.117-118

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jul 1, 2008
Peru trade OK because it includes labor & enviro protections

While Obama has been an advocate of free trade, he sees the need to make sure that it is fairly regulated. The original trade agreements written primarily by the law firms of big corporations were very careful to derive protections for international property, intellectual property rights, and the enforcement of contracts necessary to do business effectively. They were almost completely devoid of any regulation to protect the consumer, the environment, or the worker. Obama has supported trade agreements with countries like Peru that have been properly structured to include these provisions, but is insistent that trade agreements like NAFTA be renegotiated to include such provisions.

Obama understands that we cannot allow trade with countries like China if they are not going to respect the rights of workers and consumers.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p.124

Jesse Ventura on Free Trade : Apr 1, 2008
NAFTA reservations: Mexican labor conditions & US job loss

Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, hundreds of factories called maquiladoras have sprung up. There they make goods on the cheap and ship them back across the border.

President Clinton predicted this would be a boon to everyone. It certainly has been for the corporations, which have cut back their labor costs and increased their profits. Thousands of workers from Mexico's poorest southern states make the equivalent of little more than $4 a day. But it's better than having no job at all.

I'm a staunch capitalist, and I was a big supporter of NAFTA in the beginning. Today, I have a lot of reservations about what it's brought about. NAFTA has resulted in hundreds of thousands of job losses in the US, because employers moved south of the border. Half of the people working in these Mexican maquiladoras are women, and there is also child labor, and long hours, with no right to unionize. They're really nothing more than sweatshops, in a lot of cases.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: Don`t Start the Revolution, by Jesse Ventura, p. 99-100

Hillary Clinton on Homeland Security : Mar 25, 2008
Long-held pro-defense spending stance; not a move to center

As long as she has been in public life, Clinton has held many positions that are ordinarily associated with Republicans, supporting the death penalty, numerous free-trade agreements, and high defense spending, to name a few. She was also a strong and early supporter of the Iraq war (though she became a critic as the war dragged on). Yet these positions are not only not taken as evidence that she is in fact a centrist, they are used as evidence of insincere political calculation. She has often been characterized as MOVING to the center in preparation for a presidential run, even when her position on the issue in question has remained unchanged.

For Clinton, long-held positions, like a hawkish approach to military affairs, are taken as evidence of a shift. And the prevailing assumption is that when she breaks with some in her party (or even when she sticks with her party) it is for crass political purposes and not an outgrowth of genuine conviction.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Free Ride, by David Brock and Paul Waldman, p.134-135

Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Jan 24, 2008
AdWatch: Supported NAFTA in 1998; opposed CAFTA since 2005

Obama released a radio ad in S.C., in which the narrator says, “Hillary Clinton championed NAFTA even though it has cost South Carolina thousands of jobs. It’s what’s wrong with politics today. Hillary Clinton will say anything to get elected.”

The ad’s claim that Clinton “championed NAFTA” is misleading. It is true that Clinton once praised the North American Free Trade Agreement that her husband championed. As recently as 1998, she praised business leaders for mounting “a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of NAFTA.“

But her position on trade shifted before her presidential run: In 2005, for example, she voted against the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and she told Time in 2007 that ”I believe in the general principles [NAFTA] represented, but what we have learned is that we have to drive a tougher bargain.“

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: FactCheck's AdWatch on 2008 Clinton radio ad on Free Trade

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jan 21, 2008
Enforce environmental & labor provisions in trade agreements

EDWARDS: [to Obama]: The problem with the Peru trade agreement [which Obama voted for] is you are leaving the enforcement of environmental and labor regulations in the hands of George Bush. I wouldn’t trust George Bush to enforce anything, certainly not trade obligations.

OBAMA: Well, in a year’s time, it’ll be me who’s enforcing them. We’re going to make sure that the right thing is being done. It is absolutely critical for us to understand that NAFTA was an enormous problem. The permanent trade relations with China, without some of the enforcement mechanisms that were in there, that you voted for, was also a significant problem. And we’ve got to all move forward as Democrats to make sure that we’ve got trade deals that work for working people and not just for corporate profits.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate

Mike Huckabee on Free Trade : Jan 13, 2008
Supports NAFTA & CAFTA, if partners “hafta” abide by rules

Q: If you were president, you wouldn’t go forward with another version of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or any of these other free-trade agreements that are in the works right now?

A: No, I think the free-trade agreements are wonderful to have, and I supported NAFTA and CAFTA. But I always say, then you “hafta” make sure that these free trade agreements are being abided by both parties, and that’s not what’s happened.

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: FOX News Sunday tag

Mike Huckabee on Free Trade : Jan 13, 2008
Fair trade includes lead-free products & playing by rules

Q: What would you do to deal with this economic crisis?

A: The main thing we have to do is to make sure that our free trade agreements involve fair trade. And that’s something that we’ve got to do a better job of enforcing, is to make sure that those products which are coming into the US are free of lead, that they’re safe, that they’re manufactured in the same kind of standards that we expect our American companies to use when they built things. And that hasn’t happened. And one of the reasons we’re losing a lot of jobs is that we’ve been in such a rush to make sure that we exemplify the boundaries of free trade, that we forgot that we’re all supposed to play by the same rules. If somebody cheats, you’re not playing the game fairly. When the Chinese send toys that have lead, they have dog food that causes our pets to die, when we have food that comes to us contaminated, when things that are created by people who have worked in sweatshops--how does an American worker expect to compete?

Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: FOX News Sunday tag

Joe Biden on Corporations : Dec 13, 2007
We’ve yielded to corporate America on trade

Q: Given the WTO guidelines, could you actually restrict trade with China?

A: With the WTO guidelines, we could stop these [unsafe] products coming in now. This president doesn’t act. We have much more leverage on China than they have on us. The idea that a country with 800 million people in poverty has greater leverage over us is preposterous. We’ve yielded to corporate America. We’ve yielded to this president’s notion of what constitutes trade, and we’ve refused to enforce the laws that exist.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Dec 13, 2007
NAFTA needs to be amended

There’s no doubt that NAFTA needs to be amended. I’ve already said I would contact the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Canada to make sure that labor agreements are enforceable. But I did want to just go back briefly to the issue of trade and human rights that you had mentioned. We have to stand for human rights, and that should be part of the trade equation.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate

Joe Biden on Free Trade : Dec 13, 2007
Built environmental and labor standards in trade agreements

Every new trade agreement should have built into it what we all talk about. Environmental standards and labor standards. But we talk about it in terms of preserving jobs here, but it’s also about human rights. Signing an agreement knowing they’re going to exploit workers either by polluting their lungs or their drinking water and/or putting them in a position where they’re getting paid a couple bucks a week. So it should be a condition to every trade agreement that we engage in.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate

Joe Biden on Free Trade : Nov 22, 2007
Opposes fast-track to protect labor rights

Defend Workers in Trade Negotiations: Joe Biden believes that US trade negotiations must protect American workers by insisting on basic labor and environmental standards. That’s why he opposed CAFTA and fast track authority for President Bush. He will continue to fight for better labor and environmental standards in trade agreements and will oppose new trade agreements that don’t meet high standards.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2008 Senate campaign website,, “Issues”

Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Nov 11, 2007
Criticized trade pacts for weak labor standards

Now courting labor and the environmentalist crowd, Hillary Clinton has come out against a trade pact with South Korea, but as senator, she has voted in support of free trade pacts with Oman, Chile and Singapore, even though she criticized them for what she said was their weak enforcement of international labor standards. In fact, she’s voted for every trade agreement that has come before her except CAFTA, the Central American version of NAFTA, the pact the public has heard the most about.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p. 17

Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Oct 30, 2007
FactCheck: for NAFTA while First Lady; now against CAFTA

Barack Obama accused Clinton of flip-flops on trade. Obama said, “Senator Clinton in her campaign has been for NAFTA previously, now she’s against it.”

Obama is partly right concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement. Clinton’s views on NAFTA have shifted, but they shifted prior to her official run for the White House. Back in 1998, in a keynote speech given at the Davos Economic Summit, Clinton praised business leaders for mounting “a very effective business effort in the US on behalf of NAFTA,“ adding later that ”it is certainly clear that we have not by any means finished the job that has begun.“ But by 2005 she was expressing reservations about free trade agreements, voting that year against the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). And she told Bloomberg News in March 2007 that, while she still believes in free trade, she supports a freeze on new trade agreements--something she calls ”a little time-out.“

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: FactCheck on 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University

Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Oct 23, 2007
Though Bill supported it, Hillary opposed NAFTA

Liberal Democrats, including Hillary, opposed NAFTA primarily because it could take jobs away from American workers.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell smith, p.117

Mitt Romney on Jobs : Oct 9, 2007
I believe in domestic supports for our agriculture industry

Q: We subsidized farmers to the tune of $26 billion last year.

A: I believe in domestic supports for our agriculture industry. I don’t want to see our food supply be in the same kind of a jeopardy situation that our energy supply is in. And clearly there’s a responsibility of government to make sure that our farmers are treated on the same basis as farmers in Europe & other markets that we compete with. The WTO talks [may] find a way to bring down subsidies around the world, & that’ll be good news.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan

Mike Huckabee on Free Trade : Sep 17, 2007
No NAFTA Superhighway from Canada to Mexico

Q: As president, do you support the NAFTA “Superhighway” presently under construction from Mexico to Canada, portions of which shall be under foreign control?
Click for Mike Huckabee on other issues.   Source: [Xref Hunter] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate

Barack Obama on Free Trade : Aug 26, 2007
Stand firm against CAFTA for labor & environmental standards

Fight for Fair Trade:

Obama will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. He will use trade agreements to spread improved labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central Amercan Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) that fail to live up to those important standards.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, “Flyers”

Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Aug 19, 2007
Export from big agribusiness, but also from small farmers

Q: How do you protect American jobs without setting up a situation where other countries discriminate against the things we’re trying to export, particularly agricultural exports?

A: We do export a lot of agricultural goods, many of that through trade agreements. And I think we’ve got to do three things.

  1. We have to have more focus on family farms. We’ve got to do more to make sure trade agreements are not only good for the exporting of agricultural products from great, big agribusiness, but also for small farmers.
  2. We’ve got to do more to build up the agricultural and rural areas of our country.
  3. And trade needs to become a win-win. People ask me, am I a free trader or a fair trader? I want to be a smart, pro-American trader. And that means we look for ways to maximize the impact of what we’re trying to export and quit being taken advantage of by other countries.
    Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week”

    Joe Biden on Free Trade : Aug 7, 2007
    President’s job is to create jobs, not to export jobs

    Q: Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?

    A: A president’s job is to create jobs, not to export jobs, and the idea that we are not willing to take the prime minister of Canada and the president of Mexico to the mat to make this agreement work is just a lack of presidential leadership. I would lead, I would do that, I would change it.

    Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum

    Barack Obama on Free Trade : Aug 7, 2007
    Amend NAFTA to add labor agreements

    Q: Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?

    A: I would immediately call the president of Mexico, the president of Canada to try to amend NAFTA because I think that we can get labor agreements in that agreement right now. And it should reflect the basic principle that our trade agreements should not just be good for Wall Street, it should also be good for Main Street.

    Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum

    Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Aug 7, 2007
    Smart, pro-American trade: NAFTA has hurt workers

    This past weekend, you expressed some disappointment that NAFTA, in your words, did not realize the benefits that it promised. How would you fix it?

    A: Well, I had said that for many years, that NAFTA and the way it’s been implemented has hurt a lot of American workers. In fact, I did a study in New York looking at the impact of NAFTA on business people, workers and farmers who couldn’t get their products into Canada despite NAFTA. So, clearly we have to have a broad reform in how we approach trade. NAFTA’s a piece of it, but it’s not the only piece of it. I believe in smart trade. Pro-American trade. Trade that has labor and environmental standards, that’s not a race to the bottom but tries to lift up not only American workers but also workers around the world. It’s important that we enforce the agreements we have. That’s why I’ve called for a trade prosecutor, to make sure that we do enforce them. The Bush administration haven’t been enforcing the trade agreements at all.

    Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum

    Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Aug 7, 2007
    No fast-track authority for this president

    It’s important that we have good information to make judgments. And when I looked at some of the trade agreements that the Bush administration sent our way, I voted against CAFTA. I don’t want to give fast-track authority to this president.
    Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum

    Joe Biden on Free Trade : Jul 12, 2007
    No trade agreements without workers’ & environmental rights

    Q: What would you do to address the issues of unfair trade and the related global issue of unfair labor practices?

    A: Obviously, no trade agreements that do not include workers’ rights and environmental rights. But getting right to it, it seems to me that we have an incredible opportunity here to reassert America’s dominance in the world economic system, and that is by significantly investing in a health care policy that takes the burden off of employers.

    Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum

    Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Jun 28, 2007
    End tax breaks for outsourcing jobs

    Q [to Sen. Gravel]: A lot of Americans are concerned with outsourcing of US jobs. What’s your solution?

    GRAVEL: Outsourcing is not the problem. What is the problem is our trade agreements that benefit the management & the shareholders.

    CLINTON: Well, outsourcing is a problem, and it’s one that I’ve dealt with as a senator from New York. I started an organization called New Jobs for New York to try to stand against the tide of outsourcing, particularly from upstate New York and from rural areas. We have to do several things: end the tax breaks that still exist in the tax code for outsourcing jobs, have trade agreements with enforceable labor and environmental standards, help Americans compete, which is something we haven’t taken seriously. 65% of kids do not go on to college. What are we doing to help them get prepared for the jobs that we could keep here that wouldn’t be outsourced--and find a new source of jobs, clean energy, global warming, would create millions of new jobs for Americans.

    Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University

    Rahm Emanuel on Free Trade : May 8, 2007
    Pushed through the NAFTA treaty

    Leaders of the labor movement, close allies of Nancy Pelosi, were opposed to Emanuel [as head of the DCCC] because of his role in pushing through the NAFTA treaty, which they despised.
    Click for Rahm Emanuel on other issues.   Source: The Thumpin': Rahm Emanuel, by Naftali Bendavid, Chapter 1

    Hillary Clinton on Free Trade : Oct 11, 2005
    Voted against CAFTA despite Bill Clinton’s pushing NAFTA

    In June 2005, Hillary voted with the bulk of her party against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). While the vote smacked of hypocrisy for many Democratic senators, it was particularly so for Ms. Clinton, whose husband had staked his administration’s prestige on pushing NAFTA through Congress. Hillary also voted against giving the president the authority to submit trade agreements for fast-track approval--Bill Clinton pleaded with Congress annually, & in vain, for just such authority
    Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p. 85

    Rob Portman on Foreign Policy : May 17, 2005
    China’s entry into WTO makes China play by the rules

    China’s entry into the WTO was, and remains, in the best interests of the US. It brought China into a rules-based system, which is very important. It also allowed us to significantly expand US exports, good and services. But our trade relationship with China also presents challenges. We face a trade deficit that is too high, in part because the Chinese do not always play by the rules. I have already begun a top-to-bottom review of China trade issues, to see that Americans are treated fairly.
    Click for Rob Portman on other issues.   Source: Comments at USTR Ceremony

    Rob Portman on Free Trade : May 17, 2005
    Steadfast proponent of the power of open markets

    Ambassador Portman will be carrying on the superb work done by [the previous] U.S. Trade Representative, working with Congress to pass trade promotion authority. We’ve completed free trade agreements with 12 nations on 5 continents, opening a combined market of 124 million consumers for America’s farmers, small businesses and manufacturers.

    Ambassador Portman is the right man to carry on this important work. He has a great record as a champion of free and fair trade. In his early days as an attorney, he specialized in international trade law. Throughout his time in Congress, he built a reputation as a steadfast proponent of the power of open markets to spread hope and prosperity around the world. As an Ohioan, Rob knows how much American farmers and workers depend on our export markets and how the expansion of agreements around the world can contribute to our economy here at home.

    Click for Rob Portman on other issues.   Source: Pres. Bush comments at USTR Ceremony

    Rob Portman on Free Trade : May 17, 2005
    Supports Central American & Dominican Republic trade

    Our first opportunity to open new markets is the Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. It’s a classic win-win situation. We have the opportunity here to open new markets for our workers, for our farmers, for our service providers, while, at the same time, leveling the playing field with a region that already enjoys mostly duty-free access to the United States. At the same time, we can help lift people out of poverty in Central America and the Dominican Republic, and we can help solidify those fragile democracies and staunch allies.

    This is a situation where the Congress should have an incentive to move, and move quickly, to approve the agreement, because it’s good for our workers & farmers, service providers, and it’s also good for those countries. If we turn down this agreement, we are taking away opportunities for our workers, and we are turning our backs on good neighbors who need our help.

    Click for Rob Portman on other issues.   Source: Comments at USTR Ceremony

    Barack Obama on Free Trade : Jun 25, 2004
    Fair trade should have tangible benefits for US

    [Obama believes in] ensuring fair trade by enforcing existing trade agreements. Obama believes any trade agreement must have real, tangible benefits for U.S. business and workers and will work to enforce the trade agreements on the books.
    Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2004 Senate campaign website,

    Gary Johnson on Free Trade : Jan 1, 2001
    NAFTA benefits New Mexico; jobs lost are those we don't want

    Q: What is behind your support of NAFTA?

    A: NAFTA has benefited New Mexico. With each passing day, it's a bigger boom for New Mexico as a border state.

    Q: Do you disagree that NAFTA has caused the "sucking sound" Ross Perot warned of--the sound of US jobs being sucked into Mexico?

    A: My opinion is that the jobs we're talking about are those we generally don't want. What jobs are we saving?

    Q: Manufacturing jobs.

    A: There is shifting, and some companies have relocated to Mexico. But we've benefited far more than we have lost. Also, it's still settling. Intel has a new semiconductor manufacturing plant in Albuquerque, one of the most sophisticated plants on the planet. It is in the US because the workers are qualified and efficient here. If we're not competitive, we had better get competitive. We're moving toward a global economy whether we like it or not.

    Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: David Sheff interview in Playboy Magazine

    Donald Trump on Free Trade : Dec 2, 1999
    World views US trade officials as ‘saps’

    Trump said that US trade officials are viewed as “saps” around the world and have allowed the country to be ripped off in trade agreements. He called NAFTA a disaster and said leaders of other countries “can’t believe how easy it is to deal with the US.” He continued, “We are known as a bunch of saps. We need our best people to negotiate against the Japanese and many other countries.” As president, he would get the nation’s top business leaders - not diplomats - to negotiate for the country.
    Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Pat Eaton-Robb, Associated Press

    • Additional quotations related to NAFTA issues can be found under Free Trade.
    • Click here for definitions & background information on Free Trade.
    Candidates on Free Trade:
    Pres.Barack Obama
    V.P.Joe Biden
    Secy.John Kerry
    Secy.Chuck Hagel

     Related issues:
    American Exceptionalism
    Arab Spring
    Foreign Aid
    Illegal Immigrants
    Mexican Border
    North Korea
    United Nations

    2016 Presidential contenders:
    Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
    Amb.John Bolton(R-MD)
    Gov.Jeb Bush(R-FL)
    Dr.Ben Carson(T-MD)
    Gov.Chris Christie(R-NJ)
    Secy.Hillary Clinton(D-NY)
    Sen.Ted Cruz(T-TX)
    Gov.Andrew Cuomo(D-NY)
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel(D-IL)
    Gov.Bobby Jindal(R-LA)
    Gov.Nikk Haley(R-SC)
    Rep.Peter King(R-NY)
    Gov.Martin O`Malley(D-MD)
    Gov.Deval Patrick(D-MA)
    Sen.Rand Paul(R-KY)
    Sen.Rob Portman(R-OH)
    Sen.Marco Rubio(R-FL)
    Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
    2012 Presidential:
    Rep.Michele Bachmann(T-MN)
    Rep.Newt Gingrich(R-GA)
    Gov.Mike Huckabee(R-AR)
    Gov.Jon Huntsman(R-UT)
    Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
    Gov.Sarah Palin(R-AK)
    Rep.Ron Paul(R-TX)
    Gov.Rick Perry(R-TX)
    Gov.Mitt Romney(R-MA)
    Rep.Paul Ryan(R-WI)
    Sen.Rick Santorum(R-PA)
    Donald Trump(I-NY)
    Please consider volunteering for OnTheIssues!
    Click for details -- or send donations to:
    1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
    (We rely on your support!)

    Page last updated: Oct 03, 2014