Joe Biden on Free Trade
Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)
China is a competitor, not an opponent
Q: Do you believe Russia is an enemy?
BIDEN: I believe Russia is an opponent.
Q: Do you view China as an opponent? The President says you've been too cozy with China, too accepting of them in the international community.
BIDEN: I'm not that guy.
We now have a larger trade deficit than we've ever had with China. [Trump in a negative way] keeps going on about the World Trade Organization; they just ruled that his trade policy violated [WTO rules with its tariffs on China]. In our Administration,
when the WTO [was dealing with China], we sued. We went to the World Trade Organization 16 times, 16 times.
Q: Do you view China as an opponent?
BIDEN: I view China as a competitor.
BIDEN: A serious competitor. That's why,
I think, we have to strengthen our relationships and our alliances in Asia. As you may recall, when I was in China, I said to Xi, "We're going to abide by international norms. That's what we're going to do and insist that they do."
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper
, Sep 17, 2020
Won't be at the mercy of other countries to protect our own
Biden has been trying to fortify his message on China, and suggested he would pursue the kind of "decoupling" being pushed by leading Republicans. "We'll make the medical supplies and protective equipment that our country needs," he said,
while discussing the pandemic. "We'll make them here in America so we will never again be at the mercy of China or other foreign countries in order to protect our own people."
Source: D.Brennan/Newsweek on 2020 Democratic National Convention
, Aug 21, 2020
Trump's flimsy trade deal sells out US interest to China
[According to the book "The Room Where It Happened"], during a meeting last year, President Donald Trump turned to Chinese President Xi Jinping and asked for an important favor: China should increase its purchase of American soybeans and wheat
because aiding American farmers would help him win the upcoming 2020 election, according to excerpts of a new book by Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton. The request was made during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
Joe Biden issued a statement saying Trump 'sold out the American people to protect his political future' in his dealings with China that Bolton outlined. 'He was willing to trade away our most cherished democratic values for the
empty promise of a flimsy trade deal that bailed him out of his disastrous tariff war that did so much damage to our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers,' Biden said.
Source: USA Today excerpts from "The Room Where It Happened"
, Jun 17, 2020
Chinese pollution will result in tariffs on their products
China is taking the dirtiest coal in the world mostly out of Mongolia and spreading it all around the world. Make it clear when you call them to Washington in the first 100 days, if you continue,
you will suffer severe consequences because the rest of the world will impose tariffs on everything you're selling because you are undercutting the entire economy.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada
, Feb 19, 2020
Either we make up trade policy, or China will
Sen. Bernie SANDERS: Joe Biden and I strongly disagree on trade. I helped lead the opposition to NAFTA and PNTR, which cost this country over 4 million good-paying jobs.
BIDEN: Yeah, well, look, we're either going to make policy or China's going to
make the rules of the road. We make up 25 percent of the world economy. We need another 25 percent to join us. And I think-Senator Warren is correct: At the table has to be labor and at the table have to be environmentalists. The fact of the matter is,
China--the problem isn't the trade deficit, the problem is they're stealing our intellectual property. The problem is they're violating the WTO. They're dumping steel and dumping agricultural products on us. In addition to that, we're in a position
where, if we don't set the rules, we, in fact, are going to find ourselves with China setting the rules. And that's why you need to organize the world to take on China, to stop the corrupt practices that are underway.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston
, Sep 12, 2019
Use tariffs to get China to pay the price for pollution
Q: How would you try to get China to lower its emissions?
BIDEN: We have to bring around the rest of the world. When we did the Paris accord that they signed onto, it was agreed that we would constantly up the ante. China is exporting coal technology.
They're making the environment much, much worse. There has to be a price that they pay if they do that. That's why I would talk about dealing with them in terms of tariffs. But you've got to get the rest of the world in on the deal to do i
Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary)
, Sep 4, 2019
Labor should be involved in renegotiating NAFTA/USMCA
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio [to Biden]: Are you ready to say that you will oppose a new NAFTA and that what you believe in is trade treaties that empower organized labor across the world and give working people power, not just multinational corporations?
Q: That's it?
Biden: He said, would I insist that labor be engaged? The answer is yes.
De Blasio: I consider that a victory.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit)
, Jul 31, 2019
Push for agreements that don't hurt consumers or business
Biden said he'd push for trade agreements that don't hamper the international exchange of goods but don't disadvantage American consumers or business, while also holding
China accountable for intellectual property abuses. "There's not going to be a back to business-as-usual on trade," he said. "We need new rules. We need new processes."
Source: Seattle Times on 2019 Democratic primary
, Jul 11, 2019
US must take lead on free trade, but deal with uneven impact
Globalization, man, it's been wonderful. It's not been wonderful for an awful lot of people. It is applied very, very unevenly. We fail to recognize that there are genuine dislocations when we talk about TPP and trade. The truth of the matter is,
if we're not pushing on the establishment of an international order and fully engaged internationally, there is little likelihood that there will be 21st century rules of the road that can accommodate the change that's taking place.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 candidates
, Sep 21, 2016
Comprehensive transatlantic trade agreement is within reach
Just imagine what we can do as we get our respective houses in order. Already, Europe is America's largest economic partner, and the numbers are staggering: over $600 billion in annual trade that creates and sustains millions of jobs on the continent
and at home, and a $5 trillion overall commercial relationship.
But the potential is so much greater still. There's a lot of interest lately in the idea of a comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement. The reason we don't have one
already is not because no one ever thought of it; it's because there have always been difficult issues, such as regulations and standards, which continue to divide us. The question now is whether the political will exists to resolve those longstanding
differences. And if so, we should pursue a transatlantic partnership. And if we go down that road, we should try to avoid protracted rounds of negotiations. This is within our reach. It would be good on both sides of the Atlantic.
Source: Speech at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany
, Feb 2, 2013
Permanent normal trade relations to Russia
[Recent internationally] important step enabled us to do some good things: to negotiate, ratify and implement the New START Treaty; to expand economic and trade relationships--including both Russian accession to the WTO and extension of the permanent
normal trade relations to Russia; to build a bilateral presidential commission that networks Russian and American officials and publics on the broadest cooperative agenda the US and Russia have ever tried to share.
But we are not naive--neither Russia
or the US. We will not agree with Russia on everything. For example, the US will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. These differences are real. But we continue to see opportunities for the US & Russia to partner in ways that
advance our mutual security interest & the interest of the international community--whether by safeguarding and reducing nuclear arsenals, or boosting our trade & investment to help each other unlock the enormous innovative potential of our societies.
Source: Speech at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany
, Feb 2, 2013
Competition with China pushes for better products & policies
I believe that a rising China is a positive development--not only for China but also for the United States and the world. It will fuel economic growth and prosperity, and a rising China will bring to the fore a new partner with whom we can have help
meeting the global challenges we all face.
Even as our nations cooperate, though, we will continue to compete. As Americans, we welcome this competition. It's part of our DNA. And it pushes our companies to develop better products and services
and our government to craft better policies.
But competition can only be mutually beneficial if the rules of the game are understood, agreed upon and followed. I'm pleased that we have made progress in areas of concern. China's exchange rate
is appreciating, though still substantially undervalued in our view. And China has responded to our concerns to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights as well.
Source: Speech with Chinese V.P. Xi to US and China CEOs
, Feb 14, 2012
Toughest choice: rationalizing competition & trade policy
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
I'm a "car guy"; I recognize importance of manufacturing
Joe confided that he was a "car guy" (his dad had managed the used car division for an auto dealer in Scranton), affirming the importance of manufacturing to America's economic future. I watched his face intently as he spoke, looking for evidence that he
truly believed his words. Like millions of voters, I desperately hoped to find reasons to believe. "I know you have it rough in Michigan," Biden finally said. "You need a partner in Washington. I promise you'll have one."
Source: A Governor's Story, by Jennifer Granholm, p.155-156
, Oct 1, 2005
Joe Biden on Protectionism
Reinstate Trump's 10% tariffs on aluminum from UAE
In one of his first trade actions, President Joe Biden reinstated a 10% duty on aluminum imports from the United Arab Emirates that Pres. Trump removed just one day before leaving office. "I consider it is necessary and appropriate in light of our
national security interests to maintain, at this time, the tariff treatment applied to aluminum article imports from the United Arab Emirates," Biden said.
Why Biden acted: "The available evidence indicates that imports from the UAE may still displace
domestic production, and thereby threaten to impair our national security," Biden stated. Biden noted that US importers can apply for a waiver from tariffs on products not available from domestic suppliers. "Tellingly, there have been 33 such exclusion
requests for aluminum imported from the UAE, and the Secretary of Commerce has denied 32 of those requests," Biden said. "This indicates the large degree of overlap between imports from the UAE and what our domestic industry is capable of producing."
Source: Politico.com e-zine on 2021 Biden Administration
, Feb 1, 2021
Malarkey that China paid farmers; taxpayers did
Q: What specifically are you going to do to make China pay? You've said you're going to make them pay. New sanctions?
TRUMP: First of all, China is paying. They're paying billions and billions of dollars. I just gave $28 billion to our farmers.
BIDEN: Taxpayer's money. Didn't come from China.
TRUMP: No, no. You know who the taxpayer is? It's called China. China pays $28 billion, and you know what they did to pay it, Joe? They devalued their currency and they also paid up, and you know got
the money? Our farmers, our great farmers, because they were targeted. You never charged them anything. Also, I charged them 25% on dumped steel, because they were killing our steel industry. We were not going to have a steel industry. And now we
have a steel industry.
BIDEN: There's a reason why he's bringing up all this malarkey. He doesn't want to talk about the substantive issues. [Based on] the decisions you're making, middle-class families like I grew up in Scranton, they're in trouble.
Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker
, Oct 22, 2020
FactCheck: Yes, US has tried "Buy American" for 100 years
Biden claimed about his proposed "Buy American" policy that "We've been talking about this policy for a 100 years. We've never fully done it. We can and must do it now." Is that claim true?
Yes, it's true. Some examples:
- 1933: The "Buy American
Act" prefers US-made products in US government purchases.
- 1954: Pres. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10582, "Prescribing Uniform Procedures for the Buy-American Act"
- 1983: The "Buy America Act" applies to mass-transit procurements.
Heritage Foundation (right-wing) opposed stimulus bill's "Buy American," as limiting competition increases costs.
- 2017: Jacobin Magazine (left-wing) opposed "Buy American" as anti-immigrant, and was the same in the 1930s & 1980s.
- 2019: Pres. Trump
signed Executive Order 13811, "Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods," enforcing the 1933 Act plus a "Hire American" rule.
Biden is accurate, but "Buy American" has never been "fully done" because of opposition from both the right and the left.
Source: OnTheIssues Fact-check on CNN Town Hall 2020
, Sep 17, 2020
China unfairly competes with state-owned enterprises
Q: How would you address China's unfair trade policies?
BIDEN: I would make it clear, just as we did in our Administration, that when they use state-owned enterprises, which is what they're doing, state-owned enterprises, to undercut the price that
they can charge, to be able to come and compete with American manufacturing, that they would be denied that opportunity. I would also make it clear that if any of that is being purchased by any government agency, that we will not purchase anything that
is not made in America, including the downriver line of what has to be done, all the parts.
Q: What would you do differently from President Trump?
BIDEN: You can't do where he's given a tax break to companies that go overseas, and then import
the product back into the United States, even though their headquarters is here, the chain goes overseas, and they bring it back in cheaper, than you being able to produce it. I'm going to make sure that it's made in America.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper
, Sep 17, 2020
Countervailing duties against unfair trade practices
Vice President Biden today welcomed congressional passage of legislation clarifying the ability to apply countervailing duties (CVDs) on subsidized imports from non-market economies, including China. "By passing this law,
Congress has taken a clear stand against the unfair trade practices that have put countless American jobs in jeopardy," said Vice President Biden. "We will continue to use every available tool to make sure
America's trading partners play by the rules, because when they do, US businesses and workers can fairly compete--and out-compete anyone."
In December 2011, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found, in
GPX v. United States, that U.S. law prohibits the Department of Commerce from applying CVDs to non-market economies, including China. This legislation overturns that decision.
Source: Press Release: Clarification of Countervailing Duty Law
, Mar 6, 2012
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
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: 2008 Senate 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
Joe Biden on Voting Record
No to tariffs; just enforce the law
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
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:
Reference: United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement;
Bill S. 3569
; vote number 2006-190
on Jun 29, 2006
- 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:
Reference: Central America Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill HR 3045
; vote number 2005-209
on Jul 28, 2005
- 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
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.
; 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.
; 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.
; vote number 2001-275
on Sep 6, 2001
Voted YES on permanent normal trade relations with China.
Vote to give permanent Normal Trade Relations [NTR] status to China. Currently, NTR status for China is debated and voted on annually.
; vote number 2000-251
on Sep 19, 2000
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
; 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.
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.
Bill S Res 118
; vote number 1995-158
on May 9, 1995
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.
Source: CATO website 02n-CATO on Dec 31, 2002
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.
Source: S.J.RES.16 07-SJR16 on Jun 14, 2007
Page last updated: Apr 29, 2021