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Tim Johnson on Free Trade

Democratic Sr Senator (SD)


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 2007-413 on Dec 4, 2007

Voted NO on free trade agreement with Oman.

Vote on final passage of a bill to implement the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement.
Reference: United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement; Bill S. 3569 ; vote number 2006-190 on Jun 29, 2006

Voted NO on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade.

Approves the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States-Free Trade Agreement entered into on August 5, 2005, with the governments of Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (CAFTA-DR), and the statement of administrative action proposed to implement the Agreement. Voting YES would:
Reference: Central America Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act; Bill HR 3045 ; vote number 2005-209 on Jul 28, 2005

Voted NO on establishing free trade between US & Singapore.

Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the US and Singapore. The trade agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the US and Singapore. The agreement would remove tariffs on goods and duties on textiles, and open markets for services The agreement would also establish intellectual property, environmental and labor standards.
Reference: US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act; Bill S.1417/HR 2739 ; vote number 2003-318 on Jul 31, 2003

Voted NO on establishing free trade between the US and Chile.

Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the US and Chile. The agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the US and Chile. The trade pact would decrease duties and tariffs on agricultural and textile products. It would also open markets for services. The trade pact would establish intellectual property safeguards and would call for enforcement of environmental and labor standards.
Reference: US-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act; Bill S.1416/HR 2738 ; vote number 2003-319 on Jul 31, 2003

Voted NO on extending free trade to Andean nations.

HR3009 Fast Track Trade Authority bill: To extend the Andean Trade Preference Act, to grant additional trade benefits under that Act, and for other purposes. Vote to pass a bill that would enlarge duty-free status to particular products from Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador, renew the president's fast-track authority and reauthorize and increase a program to make accessible retraining and relocation assistance to U.S. workers hurt by trade agreements. It would also approve a five-year extension of Generalized System of Preferences and produce a refundable 70 percent tax credit for health insurance costs for displaced workers.
Reference: Bill HR.3009 ; vote number 2002-130 on May 23, 2002

Voted YES on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam.

Vote to grant annual normal trade relations status to Vietnam. The resolution would allow Vietnamese imports to receive the same tariffs as those of other U.S. trading partners.
Reference: Bill HJRES51 ; vote number 2001-291 on Oct 3, 2001

Voted YES on removing common goods from national security export rules.

Vote to provide the president the authority to control the export of sensitive dual-use items for national security purposes. The bill would eliminate restrictions on the export of technology that is readily available in foreign markets.
Reference: Bill S149 ; vote number 2001-275 on Sep 6, 2001

Voted YES on permanent normal trade relations with China.

Vote to give permanent Normal Trade Relations [NTR] status to China. Currently, NTR status for China is debated and voted on annually.
Reference: Bill HR.4444 ; vote number 2000-251 on Sep 19, 2000

Voted YES on expanding trade to the third world.

Vote to expand trade with more than 70 countries in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. The countries would be required to meet certain eligibility requirements in protecting freedoms of expression and associatio
Reference: Bill HR.434 ; vote number 2000-98 on May 11, 2000

Voted YES on renewing 'fast track' presidential trade authority.

Vote to proceed to the bill which establishes negotiating objectives for trade agreements, and renews 'fast track' trade authority for the President, which allows Congress to adopt or to reject a proposed trade agreement, but not to amend it.
Reference: Bill S 1269 ; vote number 1997-294 on Nov 5, 1997

Build a rule-based global trading system.

Johnson adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Write New Rules for the Global Economy
The rise of global markets has undermined the ability of national governments to control their own economies. The answer is neither global laissez faire nor protectionism but a Third Way: New international rules and institutions to ensure that globalization goes hand in hand with higher living standards, basic worker rights, and environmental protection. U.S. leadership is crucial in building a rules-based global trading system as well as international structures that enhance worker rights and the environment without killing trade. For example, instead of restricting trade, we should negotiate specific multilateral accords to deal with specific environmental threats.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC1 on Aug 1, 2000

Free & fair trade is key to economic growth .

Johnson signed the Senate New Democrat Coalition letter to Pres.-Elect Bush:

Dear President-Elect Bush,

Members of the Senate New Democrat Coalition and the House New Democrat Coalition [are] pro-growth, technology-oriented Democrats; we believe that the key to economic growth is the expansion of free and fair trade. We have provided the Democratic votes on key trade bills in the past, including the recently signed China trade bill, and the Africa and Caribbean trade initiative. We believe that granting Fast Track trading authority to the President of the United States for expansion of trade in the Americas is the next frontier. Many of our New Democrats supported Fast Track authority when President Clinton proposed it, and are inclined to support Fast Track authority should you propose it. However, in order to ensure a stronger bipartisan coalition than the one we have been able to assemble for previous free trade agreements, we need to work with you and your Administration on provisions that will provide for reasonable consideration of issues relating to labor and the environment. We also need to continue to expand the “winner’s circle” both domestically and abroad.

Source: Senate New Democrat Coalition letter to Pres.-Elect Bush 01-SNDC3 on Jan 11, 2001

Quick vote on PNTR; China into WTO.

Johnson signed a letter to Congressional Leaders on PNTR:

Dear Leaders:

We are writing to urge you to bring legislation granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status to China to the floor prior to the July 4th recess. It is important that we maintain the momentum that accompanied the passage of this legislation in the House.

In view of the unique legislative situation and the importance of avoiding a conference, we will work with the mangers of the bill to defeat all amendments. While we recognize the importance of Senate prerogatives and the right of each Member to offer amendments, this legislation merits a bipartisan effort to pass the bill as it has been sent to us from the House.

PNTR will give U.S. businesses and workers an opportunity to participate in the world’s fastest growing economy and ensure that the United States reaps the benefits that were negotiated last fall in the U.S./China World Trade Organization (WTO) Accession agreement. Access to China’s enormous population will help sustain American economic growth. In addition, having China in the WTO will force them to play by the rules of the international trade system.

With the continued strength of the U.S. economy and our leadership at stake, we pledge our support to this vital legislative initiative. Please know that we stand ready to assist you in this effort in any way.

Source: Letter to Congressional Leaders on PNTR 01-SNDC4 on Jun 6, 2000

Promote the Andean Free Trade Agreement.

Johnson adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

After a month of debate the Senate passed a The Andean Free Trade Agreement (H.R. 3009) including language to grant the president trade promotion authority. With the unanimous support of all eight Republican Main Street Partnership Senators, H.R. 3009 passed 66 to 30. Included in the legislation is an expansion of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) providing a tax credit for 70% of the cost of health insurance purchased individually after losing employment as a result of a trade agreement. While the Senate maintained its pro-trade reputation by defeating amendments by Senator Kerry (MA) and Senator Byrd (WV) diluting Trade Promotion Authority, one amendment strongly opposed by Main Street remains in the bill. An amendment offered by Senator Dayton (MN) and Senator Craig (ID) would allow the Senate to remove from fast-track consideration any provision of an agreement that would limit US trade remedy laws. Main Street firmly believes that this negates Trade Promotion Authority entirely, and supports President Bush's veto threat should this language remain intact after a House/Senate conference.

Source: Republican Main Street Partnership Legislative Agenda 02-RMSP1 on May 24, 2002

Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record.

Johnson scores 17% by CATO on senior issues

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.

Source: CATO website 02n-CATO on Dec 31, 2002

Ban Argentine meat imports to avoid foot & mouth disease.

Johnson introduced banning Argentine meat imports to avoid foot & mouth disease

To prohibit the importation of ruminants and swine, and fresh and frozen meat and products of ruminants and swine, from Argentina until the Secretary of Agriculture certifies to Congress that every region of Argentina is free of foot and mouth disease without vaccination. This Act may be cited as the 'Foot and Mouth Disease Prevention Act of 2008'.

Source: Foot and Mouth Disease Prevention Act (S.3238) 08-S3238 on Jul 10, 2008

Insist on access to post-mad-cow Japanese beef markets.

Johnson signed S.RES.452 & H.RES.1196

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--
  1. it is not in the interest of either the US or Japan to arbitrarily restrict market access for their close partners;
  2. trade between the US and Japan should be conducted with mutual respect and based on sound science;
  3. since banning US beef in Dec. 2003, Japan has not treated US beef producers fairly;
  4. both Japan and the US should comply with guidelines based on sound science;
  5. Japan should immediately expand market access for US exporters of both bone-in and boneless beef beyond the existing standard of beef from cattle 20 months and younger; and
  6. the President should insist on increased access for US exporters of beef and beef products to the market in Japan.
Source: Resolution on Japanese trade 10-SR452 on Mar 11, 2010

Promote fair trade restricting Canadian wheat.

Johnson sponsored promoting fair trade restricting Canadian wheat

Congressional Summary:Declares that the US Government should take action to address the problem of Canadian wheat imports if the Secretary of Agriculture has reason to believe that wheat is being imported from Canada under such conditions as to render ineffective any loan, purchase, or other program or operation undertaken by the Department of Agriculture. Declares that it is the sense of the Congress that:

  1. the US Government should seek an immediate understanding with the Mexican Government to define certain Canadian wheat practices as unfair;
  2. the United States, Canada, and Mexico should begin immediate consultations with a goal of ensuring free and fair trade in wheat throughout North America; and
  3. transportation subsidies and secretive monopolistic pricing should be considered unfair trading practices.

OnTheIssues Summary: Many foreign governments consider the "loan, purchase, or other program" by the USDA to be agricultural subsidies which are disallowed under international trade agreements. Agricultural subsidies are the most contentious trade issues among industrialized countries -- and the US' agricultural subsidies are no exception. The Congressmen sponsoring this bill are primarily from agricultural states where their constituents are the recipients of the USDA's "loan, purchase, or other program."

Source: H.CON.RES.172 1993-H172 on Oct 28, 1993

Other candidates on Free Trade: Tim Johnson on other issues:
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Page last updated: Aug 13, 2014