John Kerry on Free Trade
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
John Kerry delivered a nice applause line when he spoke of "Benedict Arnold CEOs," but he did not have a coherent policy to match (and his fundraisers directed him to stop using the line, which offended his donors). Clinton largely carried out the business agenda of globalization, tempered by only the most modest gestures on labor standards. The nation's boardrooms can make huge profits wherever production is located, and have ceased identifying their own economic interests with those of the country.
John Kerry delivered a nice applause line when he spoke of "Benedict Arnold CEOs," but he did not have a coherent policy to match (and his fundraisers directed him to stop using the line, which offended his donors). Clinton largely carried out the business agenda of globalization, tempered by only the most modest gestures on labor standards.
A: I support free trade, but I donít support what the Bush administration calls free trade. I will order an immediate 120-day review of all trade agreements to ensure that our trading partners are living up to their labor and environment obligations and that trade agreements are enforceable and are balanced for Americaís workers. I wonít sign any new trade agreements unless they contain strong labor and environmental standards.
KERRY: Yes, it is fair, because Gov. Dean has said very specifically that we should not trade with countries until they have labor and environment standards that are equal to the US. That means we would trade with no countries. It is a policy for shutting the door. Itís either a policy for shutting the door, if you believe it, or itís a policy of just telling people what they want to hear.
DEAN: I supported NAFTA, I supported the WTO. We benefited in Vermont from trade. But in the Midwest, our manufacturing jobs are hemorrhaging. We have to go back and revise every single trade agreement that we have to include labor standards, environmental standards & human rights standards. If we donít, the trade policy that we seek to help globalize and help workers around the country & the world is going to fail.
KERRY: It would be a terrible mistake for the US to suddenly try to button up and move away from globalization. Itís happening, no matter what.
We have to manage it more effectively. What we need is not to cancel NAFTA. We need trade. Fritz Hollings had a great article in the paper today with a number of things that would make sense to do. Whatís missing is a president who is prepared to negotiate to keep it from being a rush to the bottom, to raise the standards for people.
We can negotiate a raising of the standards of labor and environment. The US could be the marketer of sustainable development practices, and still open markets for us.
We need to export our capitalism and our democracy. They go hand in hand. But we need a president who is prepared to negotiate the tough trade agreements that protect people.
That has all changed. In strategy, sophistication, and reach, the criminal organizations of the late 20th century function like transnational corporations and make the gangs of the past look like mom-and-pop operations. No global enterprise, legitimate or criminal, is possible without high-level communication and logistical coordination. Today's transnational criminal cartels use high-speed modems and encrypted faxes.
Globalization occurred when political and technological conditions allowed for worldwide movement of information, capital, goods, and services. Crime has been globalized along with everything else except our response to it.
Over the past decade, the new reality of relations with China [has become]: We abhor human rights abuses but need multilateral actions to effectively have a significant impact on them.
KERRY: I have been fighting to have labor and environment standards in trade agreements. I worked to make sure we had it in the Jordan agreement and in the Vietnam side agreement. You didnít need it in Chile is because they have high standards and they enforce them. The important thing is, I would not support the Free Trade of the Americas Act or the Central American Free Trade Act until they have stronger standards in them. If they sent them to my desk, Iíd veto them.
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.
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.
A joint resolution approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003. The original act sanctioned the ruling military junta, and recognized the National League of Democracy as the legitimate representative of the Burmese people.
Legislative Outcome: Related bills: H.J.RES.44, H.J.RES.93, S.J.RES.41; became Public Law 110-52.
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