Republican Sr Senator; previously Representative (SC-3)
Make currency manipulation a key issue in trade negotiations
The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) to the Trade Act (HR 1314). The amendment would have defined currency manipulation as a key issue for US trade negotiators to take into account during trade talks with other countries.
A supporter, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said Japan and other Asian countries have used currency manipulation as a primary tactic to promote exports and discourage imports, creating an unfair trade dynamic for the US that hurts domestic manufacturers.
An amendment opponent, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called it "far too risky" because it would derail prospects for signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian countries, subject US monetary policies to the threat of sanctions from overseas,
and discourage currency exchange rate transparency by countries that export goods to the U.S. The vote, on May 22, was 48 yeas to 51 nays.
In May 2004, in anticipation of growing the business with a large customer I signed a 3-year warehouse lease. Unfortunately, the textile trade which was huge in the Upstate was draining away as a result of NAFTA and other government policies.
When that customer bailed at the last minute, I was stuck with a $15,000-per-month lease in a market flooded with the empty warehouses of once thriving textile businesses.
I had made a decision based on the expectation of growing with that customer, but I had been wrong.
By 2006, I continued to see a steady drop as more of my customers were being driven out of business. This left us with over $300,000 of unrecoverable
accounts receivable. Although not yet readily apparent to the general public, the American economy was slipping into severe recession. But, of course, the Federal government is always there to help, right?
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:
enforcement of textile and apparel rules of origin;
certain textile and apparel safeguard measures; and
enforcement of export laws governing trade of timber products from Peru.
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 YES on free trade agreement with Oman.
Vote on final passage of a bill to implement the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
International trade can confer tremendous benefits on all of its participants. Unfortunately, the Oman Free Trade Agreement fails to live up to that potential.
In 2001, the US entered into a similar trade agreement with the country of Jordan. The agreement was heralded for its progressive labor standards. However, we have recently seen in Jordan instances of foreign workers forced into slave labor, stripped of their passports, denied their wages, and compelled to work for days without rest.
These incidents have been occurring in Jordan because Jordanian labor laws preclude protections for foreign workers. My fear in Oman is that they have far weaker labor standards, and that would lend itself to even worse conditions than in Jordan.
When our trade partners are held to different, less stringent standards, no one is better off.
When Omani firms can employ workers in substandard conditions, the Omani workers and American workers both lose. The playing field is not level.
Proponents of the bill say to vote YEA because:
The Oman Free Trade Agreement sends a very important message that the US strongly supports the economic development of moderate Middle Eastern nations. This is a vital message in the global war on terrorism.
Since the end of WWII, the US has accepted nonreciprocal trade concessions in order to further important Cold War and post-Cold War foreign policy objectives. Examples include offering Japan and Europe nonreciprocal access to American markets during the 1950s in order to strengthen the economies of our allies and prevent the spread of communism.
Oman is quickly running out of oil and, as a result, has launched a series of measures to reform its economy. This free-trade agreement immediately removes Oman's uniform 5% tariff on US goods.
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:
Progressively eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations
Preserve US duties on imports of sugar goods over a certain quota
Remove duties on textile and apparel goods traded among participating nations
Prohibit export subsidies for agricultural goods traded among participating nations
Provide for cooperation among participating nations on customs laws and import licensing procedures
Recommend that each participating nation uphold the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
Urge each participating nation to obey various international agreements regarding intellectual property rights
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 withdrawing from the WTO.
Vote on withdrawing Congressional approval from the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization [WTO].
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Paul, R-TX;
Bill H J Res 90
; vote number 2000-310
on Jun 21, 2000
Voted NO on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements.
Vote to establish negotiating objectives for trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries and renew 'fast track' authority for the President.
Reference: Bill introduced by Archer, R-TX.;
Bill HR 2621
; vote number 1998-466
on Sep 25, 1998
Rated 17% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record.
Graham 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.
Graham co-sponsored for free trade with post-Orange Revolution Ukraine
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To authorize the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to the products of Ukraine.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: The recent Orange Revolution in Ukraine marked a huge victory for the advancement of democracy in the world. The Ukrainian people made clear that they would not stand idle as a corrupt regime sought to deny them their democratic rights. Now that the people of Ukraine have seized control of their destiny, the US must stand ready to assist them as they do the hard work of consolidating democracy.
The purpose of the amendment is to terminate the Jackson-Vanik amendment, with respect to Ukraine. Beyond any benefits to our bilateral trading relationship, lifting Jackson-Vanik for Ukraine constitutes an important symbol of Ukraine's new democracy and its relationship with the US. Tomorrow, Ukrainian President
Yushchenko will address a joint session of Congress, an honor which we bestow on few foreign leaders. As we have the privilege of welcoming this true hero of democracy, I can think of no better gesture than terminating the anachronistic & inappropriate Jackson-Vanik restrictions on Ukraine.
EXCERPTS OF AMENDMENT:
Congress finds that Ukraine has--
made considerable progress toward respecting fundamental human rights
adopted administrative procedures that accord its citizens the right to emigrate, travel freely, and to return to their country without restriction; and
been found to be in full compliance with the freedom of emigration provisions in the Trade Act of 1974.
[Restrictions on trade] should no longer apply to Ukraine; and Congress proclaims the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to the products of that country.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Considered by Senate on 4/6/2005; never came to a vote.
Source: Foreign Affairs Authorization (S.AMDT.267 to S.600) 05-SP267 on Apr 5, 2005
Rated 88% by the USAE, indicating support for trade engagement.
Graham scores 88% by USA*Engage on trade issues
Ratings by USA*Engage indicate support for trade engagement or trade sanctions. The organization's self-description: "USA*Engage is concerned about the proliferation of unilateral foreign policy sanctions at the federal, state and local level. Despite the fact that broad trade-based unilateral sanctions rarely achieve our foreign policy goals, they continue to have political appeal. Unilateral sanctions give the impression that the United States is 'doing something,' while American workers, farmers and businesses absorb the costs."
USA*Engage at Work
Developing the Case: USA*Engage explains the benefits of economic engagement, and the high cost of sanctions for American exports, investment and jobs.
Education: We recruit respected foreign policy and economic experts to speak out against sanctions, actively engage the media and provide outreach to key target states and Congressional districts.
Contacting Government Officials: USA*Engage directly contacts Congressional, Administration, state and local officials.
VoteMatch scoring for the USA*Engage ratings is as follows :
0%-49%: supports trade sanctions;
50%-74%: mixed record on trade engagement;
75%-100%: supports trade engagement.
Source: USA*Engage 2011-2012 ratings on Congress and politicians 2012-USAE on Dec 31, 2012