Wesley Clark on Free Trade

NATO General; Democratic Candidate for President


China’s development imperils our economic security

With its scale and economic power, its low wages and human potential, China’s economic development could imperil our own economic security by drawing off American jobs, diverting the flow of capital and technology, and inducing a steady deflation of America’s living standards. China’s economic growth will doubtlessly be accompanied by its growth in prestige, influence, and financial and military power, which could constrain America’s freedom of action in the world. And the cumulative impact of these rapid changes in power, influence, and relative wealth could adversely affect our very character as a nation.

In other words, our most pressing challenge over the long term is not that others will attack us, but that they will mimic us economically.

Source: A Time To Lead, by Wesley Clark, p.253 , Sep 4, 2007

Free AND fair trade, with labor and environmental standards

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

A: I will seek trade that is free and fair. Free trade has the potential to raise living standards. I would insist that all nations play by the rules while promoting trade. I also believe that we should review all of our existing trade agreements to ensure that our trading partners are opening their markets to US products. I believe that labor and environmental standards must be central elements of all new trade agreements.

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

Labor rights are human rights: promote free and fair trade

Promote free and fair trade: Trade has the potential to raise living standards both here and abroad, but we must ensure that the terms of trade are fair, and that we are competing on an equal playing field. Labor rights are human rights, and I’ll treat them that way -- internationally-recognized core labor standards must be central elements of all new trade agreements. We must also improve our enforcement of labor provisions in existing agreements.
Source: 2004 Presidential campaign website, Clark04.com , Nov 25, 2003

Free trade will work if terms are fair for labor

Trade has the potential to raise living standards both here and abroad, but we must ensure that the terms of trade are fair. Labor rights are human rights, and I’ll treat them that way -- internationally-recognized core labor standards must be central elements of all new trade agreements.
Source: 2004 Presidential campaign website, Clark04.com , Nov 20, 2003

Globalization is the new American empire-not military

The US growth engine is a benefit to other countries. No previous imperial power had done so well, either in creating wealth for itself, or in sharing the benefits with others. All of this was sustained not by a classical empire but rather by an interlocking web of international institutions.The US was at the hub of a network of mutual interdependence, sometimes called “globalization.” it was built on a foundation of institutions created by the US, reflecting the American values of free-market economics and popular democracy. The major beneficiary of all of this was the US itself. This globalization was the New American Empire.
Source: Winning Modern Wars, by Wesley Clark, p.178-80 , Oct 9, 2003

Reciprocal trade with enforcement against dumping

Q: Do you wear the label “free trader” or “Made in America”?

CLARK: I believe in open trade. I think the record is that we do better if we keep our borders open and we have reciprocal trade agreements. But I emphasize reciprocal. If we’re going to open our markets to them, they’ve got to open their markets to us. And we want to make sure that they’re not practicing anti-competitive practices, like dumping.

And as president, I’d have no hesitancy in enforcing trade agreements. I’d like to see them have better labor standards, better environmental standards abroad. Those need to be put into the agreements, they need to be enforced. We’re not going to bring those countries up to our standards; that’s impossible. But we can help. We can help move this whole mankind forward, and that’s what I believe in.

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

Address shifts in production that come with free trade

Improving the business climate is not simply a matter of reducing interest rates and stimulating demand. This is in part a matter of smoothing the business cycle, with traditional monetary and fiscal tools, but as we improve communications and empower more international trade and finance, firms will naturally shift production and services to areas where the costs are lower. These concerns must be addressed with a new urgency in facing the increasing challenges of technology and free trade.
Source: 2004 Presidential site, AmericansForClark.com, “100 Year” , Sep 18, 2003

I believe in fair trade, not free trade

Q: Would you roll back NAFTA?

A: I believe in fair trade, not free trade. We need labor and environmental standards. Free trade is not free in terms of its benefits to the economy. It is, in the long term. But you need a support structure in place for the individual people affected by the transformation.

Source: The Connection with Dick Gordon, NPR radio , Sep 8, 2003

Prosperity depends on open borders

Clark said that Americans’ prosperity depends on open borders and free trade throughout the world.
Source: Kirby Saunders, “Retired General Speaks,” The Morning News , Jul 23, 2003

Free trade areas depend on international cooperation

There are great dreams afoot of Atlantic free trade areas of what we can do with technology-sharing and Internets worldwide. And all of this depends on international understanding, cooperation and really a growth in interdependence.
Source: PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer , Jul 1, 1999

Other candidates on Free Trade: Wesley Clark on other issues:
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Page last updated: Oct 01, 2016