Ben Nelson on Free Trade
Democratic Sr Senator (NE)
Supports expanding Free Trade
Approves of NAFTA, GATT, WTO, China’s membership to the WTO, NTR with Vietnam, and Presidential fast-track authority in trade negotiations.
, Sep 26, 2000
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:
- 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:
Reference: United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement;
Bill S. 3569
; vote number 2006-190
on Jun 29, 2006
- 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 YES 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
- 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
Voted YES 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 YES 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 YES 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.
; 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.
; 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.
; vote number 2001-275
on Sep 6, 2001
Build a rule-based global trading system.
Nelson 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.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC1 on Aug 1, 2000
- Conclude a new round of trade liberalization under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.
- Open the WTO, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund to wider participation and scrutiny.
- Strengthen the International Labor Organization’s power to enforce core labor rights, including the right of free association.
- Launch a new series of multinational treaties to protect the world environment.
Rated 58% by CATO, indicating a mixed record on trade issues.
Nelson scores 58% 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.
Nelson co-sponsored 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
Ease Canadian border-crossing rules.
Nelson signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:
Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Canadian Border 98-MGC3 on May 12, 1998
- WHEREAS, the United States and Canada share the longest undefended border in the world; and
- WHEREAS, the United States and Canada have the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, exceeding $1 billion every day; and
- WHEREAS, the rate of cross-border traffic is steadily increasing, with billions of dollars worth of goods and tens of millions of American and Canadian citizens crossing the land border each year; and
- WHEREAS, Section 110 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 requires the U.S. Attorney General to develop an automated entry-exit control system to register “all aliens” entering and departing the United States; and
- WHEREAS, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has indicated that it cannot meet the September 30, 1998 deadline for implementing the entry and exit tracking system
and that it does not have the appropriation necessary to put the system in place; and
- WHEREAS, this system will place an unmanageable requirement on border-crossing services, impose serious delays at the Canada-U.S. land border and result in unintended negative consequences for international trade, tourism, and the economies in our region; and
- WHEREAS, reports about serious congestion at the Canada - U.S. border have generated concern and uncertainty in the business community; now therefore be it
- RESOLVED, that the Midwestern Governors’ Conference calls on Congress and the President to work to enact legislation this year that suspends implementation of Section 110 until they can ensure that any entry-exit control system, if deemed necessary, does not distrupt trade, tourism or other legitimate cross border traffic at land border points of entry.
Grant fast-track authority to the President.
Nelson signed the Midwestern Governors' Conference resolution:
Source: Resolution of Midwestern Governors' Conf. on Agri. Trade 99-MGC4 on Nov 19, 1999
- WHEREAS, The Midwestern Governors’ Conference (MGC) has recognized that agriculture producers are primarily family-owned farms and cannot compete against trade barriers such as prohibitive tariffs, excessive requirements for food items unrelated to the safety of the product, and the continued existence of state trading enterprises; and
- WHEREAS, Markets such as Europe are not approving US agricultural technology rapidly enough to allow for US products to stay competitive; now therefore be it
- RESOLVED, The MGC is committed to ensuring US agricultural exports are able to move freely in all foreign markets in order to strengthen the economic situation of the agriculture industry;
- RESOLVED, That because the Seattle Ministerial is seen as a unique opportunity to highlight American agricultural products to the WTO delegates
and to insure that agriculture trade issues are not left unresolved as in previous international trade negotiations, the MGC urge US negotiators to refrain from finalizing any sector agreements, until all sector agreements are successfully negotiated;
- RESOLVED, That the MGC call upon Congress to support fast-track authority to be granted to the President;
- RESOLVED, That the MGC call for the elimination of foreign export subsidies, dumping activities, and unjustified import quotas and include these issues in negotiations with the WTO;
- RESOLVED, That the MGC urge that the United States Trade Representative focus WTO agricultural negotiations on gaining approval for new US agricultural products and technology in other markets; and
- RESOLVED, That the MGC call for the establishment of a speedy resolution process within the WTO for addressing the issues of non-tariff barriers.
Page last updated: Aug 04, 2014