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Sheldon Whitehouse on Free Trade

Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general


Opposes NAFTA and CAFTA; supports fair trade

Q: As a US Senator, would you have voted yes or no for the two largest economic treaties that the US has been involved in the last decade: NAFTA and CAFTA? Please elaborate on your position on trade.

A: I would have opposed NAFTA and CAFTA, and was disappointed in Senator Chafeeís vote for CAFTA. I believe in free trade if itís fair trade, and our trade policy should enforce tough environmental, ethics, and labor standards to prevent a race to the botto

Source: RIfuture.org blog , Sep 12, 2006

Voted NO 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

Extend trade restrictions on Burma to promote democracy.

Whitehouse 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

Review free trade agreements biennially for rights violation.

Whitehouse signed H.R.3012

    Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment Act or the TRADE Act:
  1. review biennially certain free trade agreements (including Uruguay Round Agreements) between the US and foreign countries to evaluate their economic, environmental, national security, health, safety, and other effects; and
  2. report on them to the Congressional Trade Agreement Review Committee (established by this Act), including analyses of specified aspects of each agreement and certain information about agreement parties, such as whether the country has a democratic form of government, respects certain core labor rights and fundamental human rights, protects intellectual property rights, and enforces environmental laws.
    Declares that implementing bills of new trade agreements shall not be subject to expedited consideration or special procedures limiting amendment, unless such agreements include certain standards with respect to:
  1. labor;
  2. human rights;
  3. environment and public safety;
  4. food and product health and safety;
  5. provision of services;
  6. investment;
  7. procurement;
  8. intellectual property;
  9. agriculture;
  10. trade remedies and safeguards;
  11. dispute resolution and enforcement;
  12. technical assistance;
  13. national security; and
  14. taxation.
Requires the President to submit to Congress a plan for the renegotiation of existing trade agreements to bring them into compliance with such standards. Expresses the sense of Congress that certain processes for U.S. trade negotiations should be followed when Congress considers legislation providing special procedures for implementing bills of trade agreements.
Source: TRADE Act 09-HR3012 on Jun 24, 2009

Impose tariffs against countries which manipulate currency.

Whitehouse signed Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act

[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Exchange Rate"]:

Between 1994 and 2005, the Chinese yuan renminbi was pegged to the US dollar at RMB 8.28 to $1. Countries may gain an advantage in international trade if they manipulate the value of their currency by artificially keeping its value low. It is argued that China has succeeded in doing this over a long period of time. However, a 2005 appreciation of the Yuan by 22% was followed by a 39% increase in Chinese imports to the US. In 2010, other nations, including Japan & Brazil, attempted to devalue their currency in the hopes of subsidizing cheap exports and bolstering their ailing economies. A low exchange rate lowers the price of a country's goods for consumers in other countries but raises the price of imported goods for consumers in the manipulating country.

Source: HR.639&S.328 11-S0328 on Feb 14, 2011

Other candidates on Free Trade: Sheldon Whitehouse on other issues:
RI Gubernatorial:
Donald Carcieri
Lincoln Chafee
RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Mark Zaccaria

RI politicians
RI Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Retirements 2014:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
MT:Walsh(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
OK:Coburn(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

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AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
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Page last updated: Aug 12, 2014