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Fred Thompson on Free Trade

Former Republican Senator (TN)


Free and fair trade is the backbone of our economy

Free and fair trade is the backbone of our economy. It’s been just as good for us as it has Mexico. They export or send more people out of the country every year than we do, in terms of illegal aliens. So it’s been a good thing for both countries. We nee to make a commitment to free and fair trade and enforce the agreements. But too many people close their markets to us. They want to trade with us, but they want to place undue restrictions to our manufacturers and to our farmers. We can’t stand for that.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate Dec 12, 2007

Focus on protecting infrastructure for national security

Q: Should we allow a Dubai company to buy 20% of NASDAQ?

A: : The answer is yes. Dubai would own 20% of NASDAQ, but NASDAQ, under this deal, as I understand it, would gain more than 30% of the Dubai company. It all depends on national security issues. Doesn’t seem to be one there. But we should look at all these deals carefully because we have a vast infrastructure. The great portion of it is in private hands. There’s no way, frankly, we can protect it all. So we need to do everything that we can to make sure that we’re doing all that we can to protect the infrastructure we’ve got and scrutinize these deals, number one, first and foremost, from a national security standpoint.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

More trade helps South America and Africa

If we want to help our friends in South America and Africa for example and other places, we need to lower our trade barriers, we need to have more trade. Democracy is a good thing, sometimes though we need to focus on the basics on which democracy can operate. Democracy sometimes means one vote, one time and it’s over with. We need to promote things like the rule of law, open market, and free trade. Any country that has ever tried that has prospered, any country that hasn’t, has not.
Source: Address at the Lincoln Club 45th Annual Dinner Aug 3, 2007

Don’t raise specter of protectionism on globalization

I look at things like globalization, the new millions of employees that are coming online in places like India and China that are going to be competing with our people. And some people want to raise the specter of protectionism.
Source: Fox News “Hannity & Colmes” interview Jun 6, 2007

Market does more for freedom & prosperity than planners

Global competition and a growing economic disparity among our citizens are challenges. But how we react to them is more important than the challenges themselves. Some want us to withdraw from the world that presents us with so many problems, in the hope they will go away. Some would push us towards protectionist trade policies. Others see a solution in raising taxes and redistributing the income among our citizens.

Wrong on all counts. These are defensive, defeatist policies that have consistently been proven wrong. They are not what America is all about.

We’re not afraid of globalization. It works to our benefit. We innovate more and invest in that innovation better than anywhere else in the world. Same thing goes for services. Free trade and market economies have done more for freedom and prosperity than a central planner could ever dream and we’re the world’s best example of that. So, why do we want to take investment dollars out of growth, and invest it in government?

Source: The Fred Factor, by Steve Gill, p.170 Jun 3, 2007

Protectionist trade policies are defensive & defeatist

How we react to challenges is more important than the challenges themselves. Some want us, to the extent possible, to withdraw from the world that presents us with so many problems, in the hope they will go away. Some would push us towards protectionist trade policies. Others see a solution in raising taxes and redistributing the income among our citizens.

Wrong on all counts. These are defensive, defeatist policies that have consistently been proven wrong. They are not what America is all about.

Source: Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner, Orange County CA May 4, 2007

Markets do more for freedom than any central planner

On globalization -- we’re not afraid of it. It works to our benefit. We innovate more and invest in that innovation better than anywhere else in the world. Same thing goes for services, which are increasingly driving our economy. Free trade and market economies have done more for freedom and prosperity than a central planner could ever dream and we’re the world’s best example of that. So, why do we want to take investment dollars out of growth, and invest it in government?
Source: Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner, Orange County CA May 4, 2007

Protectionist trade policies are defensive & defeatist

Securing our nation’s borders is secondarily an immigration issue. It’s primarily a national security issue. We were told twenty years ago if we produced a comprehensive solution, we’d solve the illegal immigration problem. Twelve million illegals later, we’re being told that same thing again. I don’t believe most Americans are as concerned about the 12 million that are here as they are about the next 12 million after that. Prove you can secure the border and then sit down and work out the rest of it.
Source: Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner, Orange County CA May 4, 2007

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.
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 NO 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

Voted YES on imposing trade sanctions on Japan for closed market.

Resolution supporting sanctions on Japanese products if car parts markets don't open up; and seeking sharp reductions in the trade imbalances in car sales and parts through elimination of restrictive Japanese market-closing practices.
Reference: Bill S Res 118 ; vote number 1995-158 on May 9, 1995

Other candidates on Free Trade: Fred Thompson on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010