Al Gore on Free Trade

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


Link trade to environment and labor

Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” , Sep 30, 2000

Fair trade: standards for child labor & environment

We must welcome and promote truly free trade. But I say to you: it must be fair trade. We must set standards to end child labor, to prevent the exploitation of workers and the poisoning of the environment. Free trade can and must be -- and if I’m President, will be -- a way to lift everyone up, not bring anyone down to the lowest common denominator.
Source: Speech to the 2000 Democratic National Convention , Aug 18, 2000

Agrees with unions on 90% of issues, but not on free trade

Asked about reverberations among unions [for his stance on agreesively pushing for China/WTO legislation], Gore replied: “Some of them have not yet endorsed me because of the fact that I’m in favor of this legislation. Others have endorsed me in spite of our disagreement on this legislation because I agree with them on 90% of the issues.” Still, on the campaign trail, Mr. Gore hardly mentions the trade agreement.
Source: Richard Berke & Katharine Seelye, NyTimes.com , Mar 11, 2000

Open Europe & Japan to genetically-modified farm products

Gore talked tough on farm policies, demanding that foreign markets be opened to genetically modified commodities. Europe and Japan resist those products. “We can’t let Europe and Japan determine our farm policy,” said Gore, who said “sound science” should govern.
Source: Associated Press in the Brockton (MA) Enterprise, p. A7 , Jan 9, 2000

Use Fast Track to encourage new markets

America must maintain its role as the world’s leader. Al Gore has repeatedly called for the passage of Fast Track trading authority, to allow the President to open more markets.. He has fought for a trading system that includes strong safeguards for workers, for health and safety, for children, and for a clean environment. And he has called on other nations -- such as Japan and the nations of Europe -- to jump-start their own economies, and live up to their shared responsibilities for global growth
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/econ.html 5/14/99 , May 14, 1999

Free and fair trade means economic growth and jobs

A champion of free and fair trade for his entire career, Gore has been a national leader in opening markets around the world, and tapping into the 96% of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders, while at the same time protecting labor and environmental rights. With one third of America’s growth due to exports in the past six years, and export-related jobs paying 12-18% more than other jobs, Gore has fought for free and fair trade to improve the lives and livelihoods of American families.
Source: www.AlGore2000.com/issues/econ.html 5/14/99 , May 14, 1999

Protectionism only protects us from prosperity

All developed countries -- whether in Asia, Europe, or the Americas -- must play a role, and keep tearing down trade barriers. In the end, in this global economy, protectionism will only protect us from prosperity itself.
Source: Speech at APEC Business Summit , Nov 16, 1998

Al Gore on China

Push Congress aggressively on China/WTO

On the sensitive question of how aggressively he will urge Democrats to support the administration’s plan for normalizing trade relations with China, Gore asserted that he would be a vigorous advocate, even at the risk of alienating organized labor, which opposes the plan. “I’m going to be aggressive and forward leaning in urging Congress to pass the China/WTO legislation,” he said of the World Trade Organization.
Source: Richard Berke & Katharine Seelye, NyTimes.com , Mar 11, 2000

Supports permanent normal trade relations with China

On pressure from unions to soften his support for China’s entry into the WTO: I support the [China WTO] agreement. Getting permanent normal trade relations through Congress may require some other steps to put together a coalition. We have to keep an open mind.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 , Dec 20, 1999

Supports MFN for China

Clinton and Gore strongly support [Most-Favored Nation trading status] for China.
Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette , May 26, 1999

Speed up China’s access to WTO

China’s President Jiang Zemin and Vice-President Al Gore agreed to try to speed China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.
Source: Financial Times , Nov 18, 1998

Al Gore on NAFTA + WTO

More Latin American trade, with labor & enviro protections

Q: Would you pursue a hemispheric trade deal extending the benefits of NAFTA to Central and South America and the Caribbean?

A: I am committed to enhancing our alliance and expanding trade with the countries of Latin America. Trade has been an important part of our economic expansion and creates high-paying jobs. As president, I will build on the work that the administration began when the U.S. hosted the first Summit of the Americas to promote hemispheric cooperation on a full spectrum of political, economic, security, and social issues. As we expand our trade agreements, we can achieve more based on what we have learned in the past seven years. I will insist that labor and environmental protections are included as part of future trade agreements.

Source: Associated Press on 2000 Presidential race , Oct 31, 2000

Debate with Perot was instrumental in passing NAFTA

In the fall of 1993 the White House faced heavy opposition to NAFTA from labor and House Democrats. The opposition said the accord would accelerate the exodus of high-paying manufacturing jobs across the border. That point was made most vividly by Ross Perot, who predicted that it would produce a “giant sucking sound” made by the companies headed for Mexico. [In preparing for the televised debate with Perot, Gore] spotted a magazine photograph of the protectionist authors of the 1930 Smoots-Hawley tariff act, widely believed to have worsened the Depression, and during the debate Gore presented it to an irritated Perot. Gore also asked Perot about the free trade zone operated by Perot’s son at his Texas airport, which was promoted as a gateway to business in Mexico. “If it’s good enough for him, why isn’t it good enough for the rest of the country?” Gore asked. Gore’s strong performance and Perot’s meltdown changed the dynamic of the NAFTA debate. The pact passed the House 234-200.
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.283-5 , Mar 3, 2000

WTO talks will continue, with labor & environment input

On the collapse of the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle: These rounds are inherently difficult -- all the more so because most objective observers believe we do indeed need to integrate labor and environmental concerns more thoroughly into the fabric of trade negotiations. We’ll regroup and continue the process with some meetings next year.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 , Dec 20, 1999

WTO requires Japan & Europe to deal with our trade issues

On developing nations’ resistance to the US agenda in Seattle: Europe’s not in favor of eliminating of having the Internet be a free-trade zone. Japan and others aren’t in favor of anti-dumping remedies. So none of these things are going to be easy. But when you say that developing countries aren’t in favor of labor protections, I’m not sure their people feel the same way.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 , Dec 20, 1999

Open markets with safeguards for labor and environment

Gore defended his support of opening trade into new markets in a speech to Cleveland’s steel workers. “Some of you all disagree with me on the extent to which I’d like to see opening up of new markets,” Gore said. But Gore also told the workers that he agreed that labor and environmental issues should be part of international trade talks.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A34, “Political Briefs” , Dec 14, 1999

Build a rule-based global trading system.

Gore adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Write New Rules for the Global Economy
The rise of global markets has undermined the ability of national governments to control their own economies. The answer is neither global laissez faire nor protectionism but a Third Way: New international rules and institutions to ensure that globalization goes hand in hand with higher living standards, basic worker rights, and environmental protection. U.S. leadership is crucial in building a rules-based global trading system as well as international structures that enhance worker rights and the environment without killing trade. For example, instead of restricting trade, we should negotiate specific multilateral accords to deal with specific environmental threats.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC1 on Aug 1, 2000

  • Click here for 1 older quotations from Al Gore on Free Trade.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Free Trade.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Al Gore.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Al Gore.
Other past presidents on Free Trade: Al Gore on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

Political Parties:
Republican Party
Democratic Party
Libertarian Party
Green Party
Reform Party
Natural Law Party
Tea Party
Constitution Party
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: Feb 21, 2022