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John Kerry on Free Trade

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


All new trade must include labor and environmental standards

Q: Should the US seek more free or liberalized trade agreements?

A: I support free trade, but I don't support what the Bush administration calls free trade. I will order an immediate 120-day review of all trade agreements to ensure that our trading partners are living up to their labor and environment obligations and that trade agreements are enforceable and are balanced for America's workers. I won't sign any new trade agreements unless they contain strong labor and environmental standards.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Trade" Jan 25, 2004

Dean's trade policy is protectionist

Q [to Kerry]: You have accused Gov. Dean of playing on workers' fears and advocating protectionism and saying that under him it threatens to throw the economy into a tail spin. It that fair?

KERRY: Yes, it is fair, because Gov. Dean has said very specifically that we should not trade with countries until they have labor and environment standards that are equal to the US. That means we would trade with no countries. It is a policy for shutting the door. It's either a policy for shutting the door, if you believe it, or it's a policy of just telling people what they want to hear.

DEAN: I supported NAFTA, I supported the WTO. We benefited in Vermont from trade. But in the Midwest, our manufacturing jobs are hemorrhaging. We have to go back and revise every single trade agreement that we have to include labor standards, environmental standards & human rights standards. If we don't, the trade policy that we seek to help globalize and help workers around the country & the world is going to fail.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

FTAA needs more labor and environmental standards

I don't support the Free Trade Agreement of America nor the Central American Free Trade Agreement as it is today because they do desperately need to have increased labor standards, environment standards, to bring other countries up. You can't have trade be a rush to the bottom, and you can't leave other nations with a one-way street, and you can't abuse people the way it has been. It would be wonderful to have a president who could find the rest of the countries in this hemisphere. And I will do that.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Fix NAFTA-canceling it would be disastrous

I am as strongly committed as Kucinich is to worker rights, but it would be disastrous to just cancel NAFTA and withdraw from the WTO. You have to fix it. You have to have a president who understands how to use the power that we have as the world's biggest marketplace to properly leverage the kind of behavior that we want. You also have to have a president who is prepared to have an enforcement structure through the powers of the various sections of the trade agreement.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Capitalism and democracy go hand in hand

Q: The senior senator from SC, Ernest Hollings, worked hard against NAFTA He says these free trade agreements are job killers. You voted for them. Why is Sen. Hollings wrong?

KERRY: It would be a terrible mistake for the US to suddenly try to button up and move away from globalization. It's happening, no matter what.

We have to manage it more effectively. What we need is not to cancel NAFTA. We need trade. Fritz Hollings had a great article in the paper today with a number of things that would make sense to do. What's missing is a president who is prepared to negotiate to keep it from being a rush to the bottom, to raise the standards for people.

We can negotiate a raising of the standards of labor and environment. The US could be the marketer of sustainable development practices, and still open markets for us.

We need to export our capitalism and our democracy. They go hand in hand. But we need a president who is prepared to negotiate the tough trade agreements that protect people.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003


John Kerry on Voting Record

Veto FTAA and CAFTA until they have stronger standards

Q: Your views on labor rights?

KERRY: I have been fighting to have labor and environment standards in trade agreements. I worked to make sure we had it in the Jordan agreement and in the Vietnam side agreement. You didn't need it in Chile is because they have high standards and they enforce them. The important thing is, I would not support the Free Trade of the Americas Act or the Central American Free Trade Act until they have stronger standards in them. If they sent them to my desk, I'd veto them.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

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.
Bill HR.3009 ; 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.
Bill HJRES51 ; 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.
Bill S149 ; 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.
Bill HR.4444 ; 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
Bill HR.434 ; 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

Build a rule-based global trading system.

Kerry signed 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

Rated 33% by CATO, indicating a mixed record on trade issues.

Kerry scores 33% 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

Other candidates on Free Trade: John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
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Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts