Democratic primary debate hosted by George Stephanopoulos: on Free Trade

Barack Obama: Congress subsidizes megafarms & hurts family farmers

Q: How do you protect jobs without hurting farmers?

A: Congress subsidizes these big megafarms and hurts family farmers oftentimes in the process. And we’ve got to cap those subsidies so that we don’t have continued concentration of agriculture in the hands of a few large agribusiness interests. But, on the trade issue generally, we’re not going to suddenly cordon off America from the world. Globalization is here, and I don’t think Americans are afraid to compete. And we have the goods and the services and the skills and the innovation to compete anywhere in the world. But what we’ve got to make absolutely certain of is that, in that competition, we are hard bargainers. You know, I’m always struck by the Bush administration touting that this is the MBA president and they’re such great businessmen, and they get taken to the cleaners in a lot of these trade agreements. And we’ve got to have somebody who’s negotiating on behalf of workers and family farmers

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

Hillary Clinton: 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.
    Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

    John Edwards: Trade agreements now focus on profits for big multinationals

    Q: You have criticized US trade agreements. How do you fashion trade agreements to protect American workers?

    A: I think we’ve had a failed trade policy in America. The question seems to have been, on past trade agreements like NAFTA: Is this trade agreement good for the profits of big multinational corporations? And the answer to those questions on the trade agreements we’ve entered into has been yes. It’s been very good for multinational corporations. It has not been good for American workers. And in an Edwards administration, the first question I will ask in every single trade agreement we’re considering is: Is this good for middle-class working families in America? That would be the threshold question. And, second, we will have real labor and environmental standards in the text of the agreement, which I will enforce. And then finally we will end these loopholes that actually create tax incentives for companies to leave America and take jobs somewhere else.

    Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

    • The above quotations are from Democratic primary debate on "Special Edition: This Week", hosted by George Stephanopoulos, August 19, 2007 .
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    2016 Presidential contenders on Free Trade:
    Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
    Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
    Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
    Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
    Carly Fiorina(CA)
    Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
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    Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
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    2016 Third Party Candidates:
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    Robert Steele(L-NY)
    Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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    Page last updated: Nov 30, 2018