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 donít 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 Americaís workers. I wonít sign any new trade agreements unless they contain strong labor and environmental standards.
Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, ďTradeĒ
Jan 25, 2004
Deanís trade policy is protectionist
Q [to Kerry]: You have accused Gov. Dean of playing on workersí 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. Itís either a policy for shutting the door,
if you believe it, or itís 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 donít, 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 donít 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 canít have trade
be a rush to the bottom, and you canít leave other nations with a one-way street, and you canít 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
worldís 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. Itís 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. Whatís 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 didnít 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, Iíd veto them.
Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa
Jan 4, 2004
Voted YES on promoting free trade with Peru.
Approves the Agreement entered into with the government of Peru. Provides for the Agreement's entry into force upon certain conditions being met on or after January 1, 2008. Prescribes requirements for:
- enforcement of textile and apparel rules of origin;
- certain textile and apparel safeguard measures; and
- enforcement of export laws governing trade of timber products from Peru.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: It's absolutely ridiculous to believe that we can create jobs without trade. I had the opportunity to travel to Peru recently. I saw firsthand how important this agreement is to Peru and how this agreement will strengthen an important ally of ours in that region. Peru is resisting the efforts of Venezuela's authoritarian President Hugo Chavez to wage a war of words and ideas in Latin America against the US. Congress should acknowledge the support of the people of Peru and pass this legislation by a strong margin.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. WU: I regret that I cannot vote for this bill tonight because it does not put human rights on an equal footing with environmental and labor protections.
Rep. KILDEE: All trade agreements suffer from the same fundamental flaw: They are not self-enforcing. Trade agreements depend upon vigorous enforcement, which requires official complaints be made when violations occur. I have no faith in President Bush to show any enthusiasm to enforce this agreement. Congress should not hand this administration yet another trade agreement because past agreements have been more efficient at exporting jobs than goods and services. I appeal to all Members of Congress to vote NO on this. But I appeal especially to my fellow Democrats not to turn their backs on those American workers who suffer from the export of their jobs. They want a paycheck, not an unemployment check.
Reference: Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act;
Bill H.R. 3688
; vote number 2007-413
on Dec 4, 2007
Voted YES 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 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
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.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC1 on Aug 1, 2000
- Conclude a new round of trade liberalization under the auspices of the World Trade Organization.
- Open the WTO, the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund to wider participation and scrutiny.
- Strengthen the International Labor Organizationís power to enforce core labor rights, including the right of free association.
- Launch a new series of multinational treaties to protect the world environment.
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
Extend trade restrictions on Burma to promote democracy.
Kerry 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: Feb 25, 2011