Amy Klobuchar on Free Trade

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


We need a North American trading bloc to take on China

I will never forget going to a plant and there was one worker left. That plant had been shut down because of Trump's trade policies. That worker brought out a coat rack of uniforms and he said, these are my friends, they don't work anymore. And their names were embroidered on those uniforms, These are real people hurt by Donald Trump's trade war. We need a big trading bloc with North America to take on China.
Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Supports USMCA because it improves labor standards

Q: Will you support the trade agreement among the US, Canada, and Mexico, recently passed by the House?

Klobuchar: The reason I am voting for it is I believe we have a change with this agreement. We've got better labor standards, better environmental standards, and a better deal when it comes to the pharmaceutical provision. While Senator Sanders is correct, there are some issues with it, is much better than the one originally proposed.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: I voted against NAFTA, voted against PNC with China, agreements that cost four million decent-paying jobs. I don't agree this is going to be a great job creator. This is a modest improvement that would allow Mexican workers to negotiate decent contracts. But it is not going to stop outsourcing. It is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico. We need a trade policy that stands up for workers, stands up for farmers. I will not be voting for this agreement.

Source: Newshour/Politico/PBS December Democratic primary debate , Dec 19, 2019

Trump tariffs have already cost us 300,000 jobs

Q: You've actually supported President Trump's tariffs on steel.

KLOBUCHAR: What we've got right now, though, George, it's not a focused tariff on steel. What he has done here, he has assessed these tariffs on our allies. He has put us in the middle of this trade war and he is treating our farmers and our workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos. And if we are not careful, he is going to bankrupt this country.

One forecast recently says that it has already cost us 300,000 jobs. There are soybeans that are mounting up in bins all over the Midwest, in my state of Minnesota and in Iowa. So what I think we need to do is to go back to the negotiating table--that's what I would do. I wouldn't have put all these tariffs in place.

And, yes, we want fair trade, but we must work with the rest of the world. [Trump] has made a mockery of focused trade policy, which is a competitive policy where our goal is that we are making things, inventing things, and exporting to the world.

Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston , Sep 12, 2019

China: we need credibility, would remove some tariffs

When you deal with the rest of the world you want to have credibility. You keep your promises and you keep your threats. What he does is he makes these blustering threats like kicking all of our companies out of China that people don't think really he's going to follow through on. What I would do is go back to the negotiating table with our allies [and] examine these tariffs. Some of them can come off; some of them could stay on and then make sure that we're using trade enforcement.
Source: CBS Face the Nation interview for 2019 Democratic primary , Aug 25, 2019

Demand changes to NAFTA; use tariffs to crack down

Klobuchar on NAFTA/USMCA: Demand changes to USMCA.

15 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Joe Biden; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Julian Castro; Bill de Blasio; Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris; John Hickenlooper; Jay Inslee; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson.

The majority of Democratic candidates want changes made to the agreement before it comes up for a vote in Congress. Seventeen candidates, asked by Citizens Trade Campaign, a national coalition pushing for changes to USMCA, agreed that Congress should not approve the deal until changes have been made.

Klobuchar on Tariffs: Use tariffs to crack down on certain countries.

SIX CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Wayne Messam; Seth Moulton; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren.

Some Democrats have embraced duties as a way to crack down on certain countries in some circumstances, although they're critical of Trump's approach.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Demand changes to post-NAFTA agreement USMCA

Klobuchar on NAFTA/USMCA: Demand changes to USMCA.

15 CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Joe Biden; Cory Booker; Pete Buttigieg; Julian Castro; Bill de Blasio; Kirsten Gillibrand; Kamala Harris; John Hickenlooper; Jay Inslee; Beto O`Rourke; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson.

The majority of Democratic candidates want changes made to the agreement before it comes up for a vote in Congress, focusing on labor & environmental standards.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Use tariffs to crack down on certain countries

Klobuchar on Tariffs: Use tariffs to crack down on certain countries.

SIX CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Wayne Messam; Seth Moulton; Tim Ryan; Bernard Sanders; Eric Swalwell; Elizabeth Warren.

Some Democrats, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, have embraced duties as a way to crack down on certain countries in some circumstances, although they're critical of Trump's approach.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

China trade problems are real; use allies, not broad tariffs

I would acknowledge the problem here. The surveillance, the intellectual property violations are basically stealing our blueprints, what they have done when it comes to subsidizing industries and manipulating their currency. I would do is to work with our allies and to push them. You have to keep at it methodically. I wouldn't have used the approach they've used. Yes, targeted tariffs, but they have used basically a meat cleaver.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview , Jun 30, 2019

Can't just talk about trade war with China, get it done

I'm in a very heavy ag state. Iowa, my neighbor is a heavy ag state, North Dakota. I've talked to farmers in those areas and what they tell me is they're not going to get that soybean market back in one year because that market has gone to farmers in other countries [due to Trump's tariffs]. And so that's why there's an urgency to this when we have an $891 billion trade deficit--which is the worst that we've seen--you can't just keep talking about it. You actually have to get it done.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview series , Jun 30, 2019

Increase jobs by exporting, and enforcing against dumping

A principal goal of US internationalism should be to increase American jobs through exporting our goods to international markets where trade agreements are fair and actually enforced. (I have testified in front of the US International Trade Commission for stringent enforcement of laws when foreign companies have illegally dumped their products--primarily steel--on our shores.) While I've voted for some trade agreements, I've voted against others based on the impact on Minnesota workers and businesses.
Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.266-7 , Aug 24, 2015

Immediate action on steel dumping, to protect U.S. jobs

We write to urge you to take immediate action to protect Minnesota jobs in the steel industry. Plant closures and job losses are being caused by both illegal dumping of steel products by other countries and the declining prices stemming from an excess of steel on the global market.

We were pleased that your Administration is committed to improve the standards used to determine if anti-dumping trade enforcement actions are necessary, strengthen enforcement so that determinations of unfair dumping can be made quickly, and aggressively pursue full federal benefits for workers and their families impacted by plant closures.

We believe the Administration must demonstrate its commitment to keeping steel industry jobs in the U.S. by proposing stronger enforcement measures to confront foreign dumping and respond to the low prices driven by foreign overproduction. Steel remains a critical part of the economy, and it is essential that the industry not be pushed into decline by foreign producers.

Source: Letter to Pres. Obama on Minn. gubernatorial website MN.gov , Apr 1, 2015

I will fight for fair trade

I will fight for fair trade, not just free trade. International trade can provide access to important new markets for Minnesota’s products, and it is crucial to our state’s future prosperity. But our businesses must have fair access to these markets and we must have a level playing field for our farmers and workers. I will insist that labor and environmental standards be a part of the trade agreements we negotiate with other countries.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Opposes CAFTA

I will fight to get better trade deals for Minnesota than what we got in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Back in April, I announced my opposition to CAFTA because of provisions that would harm the 30,000 Minnesotans who work in the sugar industry and because of inadequate provisions for environmental and labor fairness. Hard-working Minnesotans deserve an even playing field in the global market?and they deserve leaders in Congress who will put their interests first.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 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.

Klobuchar 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

Insist on access to post-mad-cow Japanese beef markets.

Klobuchar signed S.RES.452 & H.RES.1196

    Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that--
  1. it is not in the interest of either the US or Japan to arbitrarily restrict market access for their close partners;
  2. trade between the US and Japan should be conducted with mutual respect and based on sound science;
  3. since banning US beef in Dec. 2003, Japan has not treated US beef producers fairly;
  4. both Japan and the US should comply with guidelines based on sound science;
  5. Japan should immediately expand market access for US exporters of both bone-in and boneless beef beyond the existing standard of beef from cattle 20 months and younger; and
  6. the President should insist on increased access for US exporters of beef and beef products to the market in Japan.
Source: Resolution on Japanese trade 10-SR452 on Mar 11, 2010

Fight Chinese predatory trade practices on car tires.

Klobuchar signed fighting Chinese predatory trade practices on car tires

Excerpts from Letter from 31 Senators to the Secretary of Commerce: We are writing in strong support of the Department's decision to initiate antidumping and countervailing duty investigations of passenger vehicle and light truck tires from China.

China has targeted the tire sector for development and there are several hundred tire manufacturing facilities now operating in that country. In 2009, the United Steelworkers (USW) sought relief from a flood of similar tires from China that were injuring our producers and their workers.

Unfortunately, shortly after relief expired in 2012, imports of these tires from China once again skyrocketed. In June 2014, the USW alleged dumping and subsidies, identifying dumping margins as high as 87%. Our laws need to be fairly and faithfully enforced to ensure that workers can be confident that, when they work hard and play by the rules, their government will stand by their side to fight foreign predatory trade practices.

America's laws against unfair trade are a critical underpinning of our economic policies and economic prosperity. Given the chance, American workers can out-compete anyone. But, in the face of China's continual targeting of our manufacturing base, we need to enforce our laws.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Burning Rubber", Sept. 11, 2009) USW and the unions feel that they have earned the president's support. The president is presumed to owe Big Labor for his election last November. Will the president do what is overwhelmingly in the best interest of the country? Or will he do what he thinks is best for himself politically? The president should reject the recommendations of the USITC and deny import restrictions altogether. A decision to reject trade restraints in the tires case would be reassuring to a world that is struggling to grow out of recession. The costs of any protectionism under these circumstances could unleash a protectionist backlash in the US an

Source: Car Tire Letter 14LTR-USW on Sep 16, 2014

Voted FOR reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank.

Klobuchar voted NAY Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act

Heritage Action summary of vote# S206: The Senate voted to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. Kirk to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Sen. Kirk recommends voting NO. Heritage Foundation recommends voting YES because the "Ex-Im Bank is little more than a $140 billion slush fund for corporate welfare."

OnTheIssues explanation: Voting NO would allow a vote on reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. Voting YES would kill the bill for reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.

Sierra Club reason for conditionally voting NO (from previous bill S.819):Sen. Shaheen's bill S.824 reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank without undermining Obama's Climate Action Plan. The Sierra Club supports the bill because it makes both financial and environmental sense for the US and all of its taxpayer-backed financial institutions--including Ex-Im--to stop investing in dirty and dangerous fossil fuels like coal.

Cato Institute reason for voting YES to kill the bill:The Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization buffs contend that Ex-Im fills a void left by private sector lenders unwilling to provide financing for certain transactions. Ex-Im's critics [say that] by effectively superseding risk-based decision-making with the choices of a handful of bureaucrats pursuing political objectives, Ex-Im risks taxpayer dollars. It turns out that for nearly every Ex-Im financing authorization that might advance the fortunes of a single US company, there is at least one US industry whose firms are put at a competitive disadvantage. These are the unseen consequences of Ex-Im's mission.

Source: Supreme Court case 15-S0995 argued on Oct 19, 2015

Rated 50% by the USAE, indicating a mixed record on trade.

Klobuchar scores 50% by USA*Engage on trade issues

Ratings by USA*Engage indicate support for trade engagement or trade sanctions. The organization's self-description: "USA*Engage is concerned about the proliferation of unilateral foreign policy sanctions at the federal, state and local level. Despite the fact that broad trade-based unilateral sanctions rarely achieve our foreign policy goals, they continue to have political appeal. Unilateral sanctions give the impression that the United States is 'doing something,' while American workers, farmers and businesses absorb the costs."

VoteMatch scoring for the USA*Engage ratings is as follows :

Source: USA*Engage 2011-2012 ratings on Congress and politicians 2012-USAE on Dec 31, 2012

Other candidates on Free Trade: Amy Klobuchar on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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External Links about Amy Klobuchar:

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

Page last updated: Feb 24, 2020