Elizabeth Warren on Free Trade

Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger


USMCA makes things somewhat better for workers

This NAFTA provision, makes things somewhat better for workers and for farmers and when I see a law that makes things somewhat better for hardworking people in this country, I'm saying, I'll sign up for that and then I'll get up tomorrow morning and I'll start working hard for a better trade deal on climate, a better trade deal that has a basic coherence to it. Everyone wants to get to the American market. We should be raising standards on climate around the world to get access to our market.
Source: 8th Democrat 2020 primary debate, St. Anselm College in NH , Feb 7, 2020

China trade deal will help farmers, then work to improve it

Q: You support the USMCA?

WARREN: I led the fight against the trade deal with Asia and the deal with Europe, because I didn't think it was in the interests of the American people. But we have farmers who are hurting. They are hurting because of Donald Trump's initiated trade wars. This new trade deal is a modest improvement. It will give some relief to farmers. It will give some relief to workers. I believe we accept that relief, and we get up the next day and fight for a better trade deal.

Sen. Bernie SANDERS: It is not so easy to put together new trade legislation. If this is passed, I think it will set us back a number of years. Senator Warren is right in saying we need to bring the stakeholders to the table, the family farmers here in Iowa and in Vermont and around the country, the environmental community, and the workers. I am sick and tired of trade agreements negotiated by the CEOs of large corporations behind doors.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Multinational corporations have no loyalty to America

The data show that we've had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principle reason has been bad trade policy. The principle reason has been a bunch of corporations, giant multinational corporations who have been calling the shots on trade, giant multinational corporations that have no loyalty to America. They have no loyalty to American workers. They have no loyalty to American consumers. They have no loyalty to American communities. They are loyal only to their own bottom line.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Countries want to trade with us; so push for human rights

Q: The current administration maintains financial relationships with countries that have terrible human rights records--what's your stance on working with these countries?

WARREN: Our responsibilities are not just to each other in this country. Our responsibilities run worldwide. And that's true whether we're talking about the AIDS epidemic or it's true whether we're talking about human rights violations. I believe what we need to do as a country, we need to bring more pressure to bear. On trade policy: Everyone around the world who has something to sell wants to get to the American consumer. Why? Because we buy a lot of stuff. We need to use that leverage to say, "if you want to come and sell here, then you have to meet some basic standards." Now, some of those are going to be labor standards, what you pay people. You can't be producing these products with prison labor. We want to use the leverage of our markets to raise human rights standards all around the globe.

Source: CNN LGBT Town Hall 2020 , Oct 10, 2019

Giant corporations set our trade policy; add in activists

Q: President Obama signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In part, it was designed to rein in China. What do you think he got wrong?

WARREN: So our trade policy in America has been broken for decades, and it has been broken because it works for giant multinational corporations and not for much of anyone else. These are giant corporations that, shoot, if they can save a nickel by moving a job to a foreign country, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

And yet for decades now, who's been whispering in the ears of our trade negotiators? Who has shaped our trade policy? It's been the giant corporations. It's been their lobbyists and their executives.

The way we change our trade policy in America is, first, the procedures. Who sits at the table? I want to negotiate trade with unions at the table. I want to negotiate it with small farmers at the table. I want to negotiate it with environmentalists at the table. I want to negotiate with human rights activists at the table.

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

Everybody wants access to American market; so leverage China

Q: How would you pressure China?

Secretary Julian CASTRO: I would immediately begin to negotiate with China to ratchet down that trade war. We have leverage there.

Q: What leverage can America bear to pressure China?

Senator Elizabeth WARREN: Are you kidding? Everybody wants access to the American market. That means that we have the capacity to say right here in America, you want to come sell goods to American consumers? Then you got to raise your standards. You've got to raise your labor standards. You've got to raise your environmental standards, so our companies can compete on a level playing field. We can use trade not to undermine American workers and not to undermine American farms and not to undermine small businesses in this country. We can use trade to help build a stronger economy.

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

Climate adjustment fee on imports based on carbon use

I think that we need a climate adjustment fee on products that are imported to the United States. Think about it this way. There's something that takes a lot of carbon to produce. We can't simply export our pollution and say as long as they produce it across the border or somewhere else, then it's OK with us. The answer is, you want to import something here in the United States, we want to know, how much carbon was used to produce that? And let's think about how we have to equalize pric
Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

NAFTA 2.0 is about Big Pharma extending exclusive profits

Look at the new NAFTA 2.0. What's the central feature? It's to help pharmaceutical companies get longer periods of exclusivity so they can charge Canadians, Americans, and Mexicans more money and make more profits. That's what trade deals have become. They have become a way for giant multinationals to change the regulatory environment so they can suck more profits out for themselves and to leave the American people behind. We have to have the courage to fight back against that corruption.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Trade policy written by corporations to help corporations

For decades, we have had a trade policy that has been written by giant multi-national corporations to help giant multi-national corporations. They have no loyalty to America. They have no patriotism. If they can save a nickel by moving a job to Mexico, they'll do it in a heartbeat. If they can continue a polluting plant by moving it to Vietnam, they'll do it in a heartbeat.

I have put out a new comprehensive plan that says we're not going to do it that way. We're going to negotiate our deals with unions at the table, with small businesses at the table, with small farmers at the table, with environmentalists at the table, with human rights activists at the table. And then, we're going to use the fact that everybody in the world wants to get to America's markets. They want to sell to you.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Having workers in trade negotiations is not extreme

Rep. John DELANEY: Senator Warren's plan, basically, that she put out, we would not be able to trade with the United Kingdom. We would not be able to trade with the E.U. It is so extreme that it will isolate the American economy from the world.

WARREN: What the congressman is describing as extreme is having deals that are negotiated by American workers for American workers. American workers want those jobs, and we can build the trade deals that do it. People want access to our markets all around the world. Then the answer is, let's make them raise their standards. Make them pay workers more. Let their workers unionize. Raise their environmental standards before they come to us and say they want to be able to sell their products.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

We need to do trading deals differently & help workers

Q: Obama wanted to unite U.S. allies against China with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but you oppose TPP, right?

Warren: I think that was a trading deal that was not good for the American people and not good for the American worker. It was a trading deal that was written in order to help giant corporations. Over and over the United States has been negotiating one deal after another that helps giant multi-national corporations but does not help American workers, does not help Americans small businesses, does not help American farmers. We need to do our trading deals very differently.

Source: NPR Morning Edition, "Election 2020: Opening Arguments" , Mar 15, 2019

We need allies to stand up to China on trade issues

[Trump] is right that we have a problem with China. What he hasn't seemed to figure out is what's the strategy to deal with it. If you wanted to push back, your first move would not be to pick a fight with Canada and other allies. We have a lot of trading partners who are good allies, and we should make sure that ... we are working with our allies. That's what makes us stronger internationally. Many of our allies are just as worried about China as we are. We need to be working with them.
Source: NPR Morning Edition: Election 2020 Special Series , Mar 15, 2019

Alternative to bad trade deals is not to shut down all trade

Most of the pro-trade guys act like everyone who opposes a trade deal is some medieval troll who thinks we'll survive by crushing our own berries, weaving our own cloth, and eating raw squirrels. But the alternative to a bad trade deal is not to shut down all trade. The alternative to a bad trade deal is a trade deal that works for everyone and not just for a handful of corporate executives and big investors.

If labor representatives had a substantial number of seats at the table , I guarantee that the trade deals would be written differently and that the promises that were made would have some serious muscle to back them up.

There's so much more we could do if we actually had a trade policy that was about making the economy work better for

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p.186-7 , Apr 18, 2017

Why can corporations sue on trade deals, but workers can't?

Trade deals are complicated. They are sort of like very long contracts with lots and lots of fine print. They include all kids of promises about things that countries will and won't do, but not every country follows up on every one of those promises. Deep in the fine print of our trade deals is a provision saying that if a multinational corporation thinks a country has not one what it promised to do under the terms of the deal, then the corporation can go to an arbitration panel, get a quick judgment, and, if the corporation wins, it can demand immediate payment from the government. No appeals, not nothing, just pay up.

Nut what if that country violates other terms of the agreements, such as those that prohibit companies using prison labor or dumping toxic waste into rivers? Can workers or environmental groups go to that same high -speed arbitration panel? No. They have to do to their own government and try to persuade it to bring a lawsuit to an international court.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p.186-7 , Apr 18, 2017

Middle-class are angry at trade deals

Coming out of the Great Depression our country built the greatest middle class the world had ever known. But now, that great middle class is on the ropes. All across the country, people are worried--worried and angry.

People are angry because trade deals seem to be building jobs and opportunities for workers in other parts of the world, while leaving abandoned factories here at home. Angry because young people are getting destroyed by student loans, working people are deep in debt, and seniors can't make their Social Security checks cover their basic living expenses. Angry because we can't even count on the fundamentals--roads, bridges, safe water, reliable power--from our government.

People are angry, and they are RIGHT to be angry. Because this hard won, ruggedly built, infinitely precious democracy of ours has been hijacked.

Today this country works great for those at the top. It works great for every corporation rich enough to hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers.

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p. 3-5 , Apr 18, 2017

Strong export economy means influence around the world

Our economic power at home is linked to our strength around the world. A strong economy at home enables us to have the best-trained and most advanced military in the world--and the standing in the world such that we don't always need to use it. A strong economy at home enables us to export goods to foreign customers. A strong economy at home gives us influence over events occurring all around the world. And a strong economy at home enables us to spread the values of democracy and human rights. We are one of the most powerful countries in the history of the world precisely because we are one of the strongest economies in the history of the world.

As a Senator, I will never forget the link between our economic power and our global power, and I will fight to make sure we build a strong economy, so we can remain a powerful force for good around the world.

Source: 2016 Veepstakes: campaign website ElizabethWarren.com , Jul 2, 2016

Key is fair, enforceable agreements that protect workers

6/23/2015 Tariffs today are generally low. As a result, modern trade agreements are less about reducing tariffs and more about writing new rules for everything from labor, health, and environmental standards to food safety, prescription drug access, and copyright
Source: Boston Globe 2016 Veepstakes: Warren OpEd , Jun 23, 2015

Against a Pacific Trade Deal that only works for rich

Warren and the progressive left, scarred by trade deals past like the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, have launched a vocal fight against granting the president so-called "fast-track" authority to negotiate a 12-country Pacific trade deal. "Are you ready to fight? No more secret deals. No more special deals for multi-national corporations. Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fight any more deals that say we're going to help the rich get richer and leave everyone else behind?"
Source: National Public Radio on 2016 Veepstakes , Apr 22, 2015

Make trade deals transparent, even if that causes opposition

I have hear the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative's policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant. In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.
Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p. 11 , Nov 18, 2014

Trade deals are Christmas gifts for big corporations

For big corporations, trade agreement time is like Christmas morning. They can get special gifts they could never pass through Congress out in public.

Fair trade: If we are going to sell our products to the rest of the world, we need to strengthen trade laws and ensure their enforcement. We need to make sure that those we compete with also respect workers' rights and environmental rules.

Source: Quotable Elizabeth Warren, by Frank Marshall, p. 77&145 , Nov 18, 2014

No secrecy in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations

[Regarding] the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), many proponents of the agreements argue that negotiations need to take place in secret in order to protect the fragile interests of participating countries. This has not sat well with public interest groups and more liberal members of the Democratic Party, including Warren.

Last year, she went to far as to vote against Obama's then-nominee for the head of the Office of the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, because of that lack of transparency as the 10 countries involved in the TPP discuss terms. "I have heard the argument that transparency would undermine the Trade Representative's policy to complete the trade agreement because public opposition would be significant," she said. "In other words, if people knew what was going on, they would stop it. This argument is exactly backwards. If transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement, then that trade agreement should not be US policy."

Source: Megan R. Wilson in TheHill.com weblog, "Clinton vs. Warren" , Aug 24, 2014

Make things & sell things to the rest of the world

We need a 21st century manufacturing base and expanded service capacity. We need a set of workable rules that don't tangle up those who are trying to create something new. We need to be able to invent things, make things, and sell things to the rest of the world. We did that once, and we can do it again.
Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, elizabethwarren.com , Dec 10, 2011

Fair trade respecting worker rights and environment

Fair trade: If we are going to sell our products to the rest of the world, we need to strengthen trade laws and ensure their enforcement. We need to make sure that those we compete with also respect workers' rights and environmental rules.
Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, www.elizabethwarren.com , Sep 15, 2011

Fight Chinese predatory trade practices on car tires.

Warren 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.

Warren 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: Congressional vote 15-S0995 on Oct 19, 2015

Implement USMCA for improved North American trade.

Warren voted YEA USMCA Implementation Act

Summary from Congressional Record and Wikipedia:Vote to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and establish the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Rather than a wholly new agreement, it has been characterized as "NAFTA 2.0"; final terms were negotiated on September 30, 2018 by each country. The agreement is scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2020.

Case for voting YES by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL); (Dec. 19, 2019)The USMCA includes stronger protections for American workers and enforceable labor standards, as well as environmental protections. It eliminates the Trump Administration's threat that the US could walk away entirely from the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, which would devastate US jobs and our economy.

Case for voting NO by Jared Huffman (D-CA); (Dec. 19, 2019) Democratic negotiators did a lot to improve Donald Trump's weak trade deal, especially in terms of labor standards and enforcement, but the final deal did not reach the high standard that I had hoped for. The NAFTA renegotiations were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift labor and environmental standards across the continent--to lock in serious climate commitments with two of our largest trading partners and dramatically improve labor standards and enforcement to slow the rise of outsourcing.

Legislative outcome: Bill Passed (Senate) (89-10-1) - Jan. 16, 2020; bill Passed (House) (385-41-5) - Dec. 19, 2019; signed at the G20 Summit simultaneously by President Trump, Mexican President Enrique Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nov. 30, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 19-HR5430 on Dec 19, 2019

Other candidates on Free Trade: Elizabeth Warren on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

2020 GOP and Independent primary candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
CEO Howard Schultz (Independent-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (Green-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

2020 Democratic Veepstakes Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D-GA)
Rep.Val Demings (D-FL)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
Gov.Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM)
Sen.Catherine Masto (D-NV)
Gov.Gina Raimondo (D-RI)
Amb.Susan Rice (D-ME)
Sen.Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Gov.Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI)
A.G.Sally Yates (D-GA)
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2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
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)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
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: Aug 19, 2021