Q: Would you call for tariffs to protect American consumers from unsafe products from China? Are you willing to go there?
A: Iím not. No, Iím not willing to go there.
You donít need to start a tariff war. All you have to do is enforce the law. Enforce the law.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic debate
Dec 13, 2007
Built environmental and labor standards in trade agreements
Every new trade agreement should have built into it what we all talk about. Environmental standards and labor standards. But we talk about it in terms of preserving jobs here, but itís also about human rights. Signing an agreement knowing theyíre going
to exploit workers either by polluting their lungs or their drinking water and/or putting them in a position where theyíre getting paid a couple bucks a week. So it should be a condition to every trade agreement that we engage in.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate
Dec 13, 2007
Q: What do you think the toughest choice you have left to make is? What havenít you made up your mind on yet? And why havenít you?
A: I know exactly what Iíd do in those foreign policy issues. But quite frankly,
I think that the toughest choice for me, the thing Iím most unsure about, is how you rationalize competition and trade policy. I think thatís the single most difficult challenge that I will have as president.
Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR
Dec 4, 2007
Opposes fast-track to protect labor rights
Defend Workers in Trade Negotiations: Joe Biden believes that US trade negotiations must protect American workers by insisting on basic labor and environmental standards. Thatís why he opposed CAFTA and fast track authority for President Bush.
He will continue to fight for better labor and environmental standards in trade agreements and will oppose new trade agreements that donít meet high standards.
Source: Campaign website, www.joebiden.com, ďIssuesĒ
Nov 22, 2007
Shut down any imports of toys from China
If I were president, Iíd shut down any imports from China, period, in terms of their toys -- flat shut it down. Imagine if this was Morocco selling us these toys, we would have shut it down a year ago.
They have mortgage on our house because Bush mortgaged us to a $1 trillion to them. He is responsible for this. This is outrageous.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University
Oct 30, 2007
Presidentís job is to create jobs, not to export jobs
Q: Would you scrap NAFTA or fix it?
A: A presidentís job is to create jobs, not to export jobs, and the idea that we are not willing to take the prime minister of Canada and the president of
Mexico to the mat to make this agreement work is just a lack of presidential leadership. I would lead, I would do that, I would change it.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum
Aug 7, 2007
No trade agreements without workersí & environmental rights
Q: What would you do to address the issues of unfair trade and the related global issue of unfair labor practices?
A: Obviously, no trade agreements that do not include workersí rights and environmental rights.
But getting right to it, it seems to me that we have an incredible opportunity here to reassert Americaís dominance in the world economic system, and that is by significantly investing in a health care policy that takes the burden off of employers.
Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum
Jul 12, 2007
Voted NO on free trade agreement with Oman.
Vote on final passage of a bill to implement the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
International trade can confer tremendous benefits on all of its participants. Unfortunately, the Oman Free Trade Agreement fails to live up to that potential.
In 2001, the US entered into a similar trade agreement with the country of Jordan. The agreement was heralded for its progressive labor standards. However, we have recently seen in Jordan instances of foreign workers forced into slave labor, stripped of their passports, denied their wages, and compelled to work for days without rest.
These incidents have been occurring in Jordan because Jordanian labor laws preclude protections for foreign workers. My fear in Oman is that they have far weaker labor standards, and that would lend itself to even worse conditions than in Jordan.
When our trade partners are held to different, less stringent standards, no one is better off.
When Omani firms can employ workers in substandard conditions, the Omani workers and American workers both lose. The playing field is not level.
Proponents of the bill say to vote YEA because:
The Oman Free Trade Agreement sends a very important message that the US strongly supports the economic development of moderate Middle Eastern nations. This is a vital message in the global war on terrorism.
Since the end of WWII, the US has accepted nonreciprocal trade concessions in order to further important Cold War and post-Cold War foreign policy objectives. Examples include offering Japan and Europe nonreciprocal access to American markets during the 1950s in order to strengthen the economies of our allies and prevent the spread of communism.
Oman is quickly running out of oil and, as a result, has launched a series of measures to reform its economy. This free-trade agreement immediately removes Oman's uniform 5% tariff on US goods.
Voted NO 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:
Progressively eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations
Preserve US duties on imports of sugar goods over a certain quota
Remove duties on textile and apparel goods traded among participating nations
Prohibit export subsidies for agricultural goods traded among participating nations
Provide for cooperation among participating nations on customs laws and import licensing procedures
Recommend that each participating nation uphold the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
Urge each participating nation to obey various international agreements regarding intellectual property rights
Reference: Central America Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill HR 3045
; vote number 2005-209
on Jul 28, 2005
Voted NO on establishing free trade between US & Singapore.
Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the US and Singapore. The trade agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the US and Singapore. The agreement would remove tariffs on goods and duties on textiles, and open markets for services The agreement would also establish intellectual property, environmental and labor standards.
Reference: US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill S.1417/HR 2739
; vote number 2003-318
on Jul 31, 2003
Voted NO on establishing free trade between the US and Chile.
Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the US and Chile. The agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the US and Chile. The trade pact would decrease duties and tariffs on agricultural and textile products. It would also open markets for services. The trade pact would establish intellectual property safeguards and would call for enforcement of environmental and labor standards.
Reference: US-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill S.1416/HR 2738
; vote number 2003-319
on Jul 31, 2003
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Rated 42% by CATO, indicating a mixed record on trade issues.
Biden scores 42% 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.
Extend trade restrictions on Burma to promote democracy.
Biden 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.