Joseph Lieberman on Free Trade
Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
LAMONT: Senator, we just keep exporting jobs. Over the last 18 years, we have lost 40% of our manufacturing jobs and a lot of our defense-related jobs. Going forward, [we should] invest in infrastructure. That's public transportation. That's freight. That's ports. These are all things necessary to be able to build a base upon which small businesses can grow. We have been losing good-paying jobs in the state, and if Ned Lamont is a US senator, we can turn that around with a long-term strategy.
A: It was not a mistake. Twenty-two million new jobs created in the eight Clinton years. Trade was a key part of that, and NAFTA, though it's cost some jobs, has actually netted out 900,000 new jobs that were created by NAFTA. Very few of the jobs lost are going to Mexico and Canada. They're going to Asia. And there the Bush administration hasn't had the guts to stand up to China.
A: As president, I'll work to reverse the Bush manufacturing recession, break down trade barriers and open up new markets for American goods, and fight for free and fair trade. I will negotiate for fair labor and environmental standards in treaties. And when countries like China rip off our patents and products, exploit workers, and manipulate their currency, I will hold them accountable.
LIEBERMAN: We've got to reject the extremism of George Bush and the extremism of Democrats who would put back walls of protectionism. And what's the extremism of George Bush? He just sits back and lets foreign countries break the rules of trade, rip off patents and copyrights, take American jobs, play with the currency. That's wrong. As president, I'm going to fight tough against that. But we can't create jobs by building up walls of protectionism. I looked at the stats in Iowa. One-fifth of the manufacturing jobs in this state. By the number I saw, more than 100,000 are dependent on trade. The top two and three markets for goods from Iowa, both agricultural-grown goods and manufactured -- Canada and Mexico, the countries we're in NAFTA with. You break NAFTA, you're going to cut out tens of thousands of jobs here in Iowa.
A: I always remember the Kennedy line that a rising tide raises all boats. And under Bush, the tide has dropped and a lot of boats have suffered. So I've said the first thing we've got to do, stop the hemorrhaging. And what does that mean? Get tough on foreign countries that are not playing by the rules of trade. And then be even more aggressive about opening up foreign markets for goods made here to create jobs here at home.
LIEBERMAN: Made in the U.S. and sold abroad--that's what this is all about. I'm for trade because trade is all about breaking down barriers abroad so that we can sell more American-made goods there and make them here to create jobs.
DEAN: Our trade relations should rely on labor standards. It doesn't have to be American labor standards; it could be the International Labor Organization standards. We cannot continue to ship our jobs to countries where they get paid 50 cents an hour with no overtime, no labor protections and no right to organize.
LIEBERMAN: Dean, in The Washington Post, referred to American standards, not international standards.
DEAN: Either is fine with me.
LIEBERMAN: That's a reassuring change of position. I totally support the application of international labor standards to all of our bilateral trade agreements.
LIEBERMAN: There are two parts to this question. One is trade; the other is manufacturing. If we ever return to a protectionist policy on trade, we would devastate the American economy.
Americans are 4% of the world's population. There's only so much we can make and sell to one another. We've got to break down the barriers around the world to sell to the rest of the world products that are made here to create jobs for Americans.
The other problem, which is serious, is the decline of manufacturing in America. And as president, I will lead a major renewal of the American manufacturing sector, which goes to using tax credit, some of the ideas that Sen. Hollings had today. The American government, when it spends $2.25 trillion every year, ought to buy American-made goods, the extent it can. That's the place to begin.
LIEBERMAN: I certainly support the goal. American manufacturing is bleeding. The president [asked] China to stop linking their currency to the dollar, which is an unfair advantage they get over American manufacturing. Came back empty-handed. We can't do that. I'm for trade, but for fair trade. The same is true with regard to fair trade for the Americas and Latin America. We have turned our back on our allies to the south.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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