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Joseph Lieberman on Free Trade

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Connecticut jobs rely on exports

LIEBERMAN: Ned’s come out against trade now. He was always for it before. Connecticut benefits from trade. Not everybody does, some people suffer, and we need to help them with trade adjustment assistance. But we do $9 billion worth of exporting from Connecticut every year. That creates hundreds of thousands of jobs. One quarter of the manufacturing jobs in Connecticut depend on exports. If he thinks he can put a bubble over the US and stop all of that and make more jobs in Connecticut, he’s wrong.

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.

Source: 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate Primary debate , Jul 6, 2006

NAFTA has caused some job loss, but net gain of 900,000 jobs

Q: NAFTA has become the bogeyman of this campaign. It was passed by your party. Was it a mistake?

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.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC , Jan 29, 2004

Free AND fair trade, with labor and environmental standards

Q: Should the US seek more free or liberalized trade agreements?

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.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Trade” , Jan 25, 2004

Avoid pro-business extremism and protectionist extremism

Q: Your views on worker rights in trade agreements?

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.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa , Jan 4, 2004

Stop the hemorrhaging & enforce rules of trade

Q: How specifically quickly do you think you can provide actual jobs?

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.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH , Dec 9, 2003

Can’t build walls and still create jobs

I’m for trade because trade creates jobs. You cannot build a wall around America and create one more job. The last president to try to do that was Herbert Hoover, and it led to the Great Depression. Bill Clinton understood that trade creates jobs. One in five jobs in America today is dependent on trade. I want to increase trade, I want to enforce other countries to play by the rules and that’ll create more jobs.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

I’m for “Made in the USA” and sold abroad

Q: Do you wear the label “free trader” or “Made in America”?

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.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Bush Recession will become Dean Depression

LIEBERMAN: Dean said in an interview that he would not have bilateral trade agreements with any country that did not observe fully American standards. Now that would mean we’d break our trade agreements with Mexico & with most of the rest of the world. That would cost us millions of jobs. If that ever happened, I’d say that the Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression.

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.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003

Protect manufacturing by federal Buy-American policy

Q: The senior senator from SC, Ernest Hollings, worked hard against NAFTA He says these free trade agreements are job killers. You voted for them. Why is Sen. Hollings wrong?

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.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

For Fast Track & open trade, with labor safeguards

Lieberman supports efforts to increase US exports. He has been a strong supporter of renewing fast track trade negotiating authority to give the President more power to broker foreign trade agreements and open new markets. He also supports establishing permanent normal trade relations with China. Yet Lieberman recognizes that there are trade-offs to open international trade. To offset the costs exacted on labor by globalization, Lieberman is a staunch advocate of education and re-training programs.
Source: Senate web site, “Issues Focus: Budget & Economy” , Aug 7, 2000

Create incentives for China’s fairness, including WTO

Lieberman, co-author of the US-China Relations Act that would create new incentives in bilateral relations with China, spoke today of the importance of improving trade relations with China. “We have a love-hate trading relationship with China,” Lieberman said. “Our trade deficit with China will likely surpass our trade deficit with Japan this year. We can and must do better. And that fairness will come through international convention, not international confrontation, through accession to the WTO.”
Source: Press Release, “Embracing Incentive” , Mar 5, 1998

Message to Beijing: We want WTO AND human rights

Source: Press Release, “Embracing Incentive” , Mar 5, 1998


Joseph Lieberman on Voting Record

I’m for fair trade for the Americas

Q: Do you support the FTAA--the Free Trade of the Americas?

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.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003

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:

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.
Reference: United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement; Bill S. 3569 ; vote number 2006-190 on Jun 29, 2006

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

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 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.
Reference: Bill S149 ; vote number 2001-275 on Sep 6, 2001

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

Build a rule-based global trading system.

Lieberman signed 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.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC1 on Aug 1, 2000

Free & fair trade is key to economic growth .

Lieberman signed the Senate New Democrat Coalition letter to Pres.-Elect Bush:

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.

Source: Senate New Democrat Coalition letter to Pres.-Elect Bush 01-SNDC3 on Jan 11, 2001

Quick vote on PNTR; China into WTO.

Lieberman signed a letter to Congressional Leaders on PNTR:

Dear Leaders:

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.

Source: Letter to Congressional Leaders on PNTR 01-SNDC4 on Jun 6, 2000

Rated 36% by CATO, indicating a mixed record on trade issues.

Lieberman scores 36% 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

Extend trade restrictions on Burma to promote democracy.

Lieberman co-sponsored extending trade restrictions on Burma to promote democracy

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.

Source: S.J.RES.16 07-SJR16 on Jun 14, 2007

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