Neil Abercrombie on Free Trade
Democratic Governor; previously Representative (HI-1)
Allow foreign ships to unload in Hawaii en route to US
When large container ships leave China for the U.S., they don't stop in Hawaii to unload cargo bound for that state before continuing to Los Angeles or Seattle. Under a 93-year-old US law, the Jones Act, only US-made, US-flagged ships can deliver goods
between US ports. If a Chinese ship stopped in Hawaii to drop-off cargo, and then picked up, say, a load of Hawaiian coffee, it could not unload that coffee in another US port. Chinese-made goods to be sold in Hawaii are routinely unloaded on the West
Coast, and then loaded back onto another US ship for the 2,500 mile trip back to the island state.
Passed in 1920 by isolationist lawmakers, the act was meant to protect the nation's shipping industry from foreign competition. Rep. Djou proposed an
exemption to allow some foreign vessels to carry cargo between the US & Hawaii. Djou couldn't muster support for the bill. "It went nowhere," he says. Djou lost his reelection bid to Colleen Hanabusa (D), who enthusiastically supports the Jones Act.
Source: Business Week on 2014 Hawaii Governor race
, Dec 12, 2013
Voted NO 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 2007-1060
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted YES on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.
H.R.3920: Trade and Globalization Act of 2007: Amends the Trade Act of 1974 to allow the filing for trade adjustment assistance (TAA) by adversely affected workers. Revises group eligibility requirements for TAA to cover: (1) a shift of production or services to abroad; or (2) imports of articles or services from abroad.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Rep. RANGEL: In recent years, trade policy has been a dividing force. This legislation develops a new trade policy that more adequately addresses the growing perception that trade is not working for American workers. The Trade and Globalization Assistance Act would expand training and benefits for workers while also helping to encourage investment in communities that have lost jobs to increased trade--particularly in our manufacturing sector. The bill is a comprehensive policy expanding opportunities for American workers, industries, and communities to prepare for and overcome the challenges created by expanded trade.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Rep. McCRERY: We should be considering trade adjustment assistance in the context of trade opportunities generally for US workers. That is to say, I think we should be considering modifications to our assistance network in the context of the pending free trade agreements that are before the Congress. Unfortunately, we are not doing that. We are considering TAA in isolation. [We should instead] restructure TAA from a predominantly income support program into a job retraining program. Other problems include that H.R. 3920 would:
Reference: Trade and Globalization Assistance Act;
; vote number 2007-1025
on Oct 31, 2007
- pointlessly keep people in trade adjustment assistance longer.
- increase TAA spending by billions of dollars, but would not require any further accountability on how program funds are spent.
- greatly expand TAA and exacerbate the inefficiencies in the program today.
- extend benefits to public sector workers and submit State and local officials to subpoenas and legal proceedings to comply.
Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade.
To implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. A vote of YES would:
Reference: CAFTA Implementation Bill;
Bill HR 3045
; vote number 2005-443
on Jul 28, 2005
- Progressively eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations
- Preserve U.S. 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
- Encourage each participating nation to adopt and enforce laws ensuring high levels of sanitation and environmental protection
- Recommend that each participating nation uphold the International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- Urge each participating nation to obey various international agreements regarding intellectual property rights
Voted NO on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act: implementing free trade with protections for the domestic textile and apparel industries.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Tom DeLay [R, TX-22];
; vote number 2004-375
on Jul 14, 2004
Voted NO on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement.
Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the United States and Singapore. The trade agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the United States 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;
Bill HR 2739
; vote number 2003-432
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted NO on implementing free trade agreement with Chile.
United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act: 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: Bill sponsored by DeLay, R-TX;
Bill HR 2738
; vote number 2003-436
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted YES on withdrawing from the WTO.
Vote on withdrawing Congressional approval from the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization [WTO].
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Paul, R-TX;
Bill H J Res 90
; vote number 2000-310
on Jun 21, 2000
Voted NO on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements.
Vote to establish negotiating objectives for trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries and renew 'fast track' authority for the President.
Reference: Bill introduced by Archer, R-TX.;
Bill HR 2621
; vote number 1998-466
on Sep 25, 1998
Rated 28% by CATO, indicating a pro-fair trade voting record.
Abercrombie scores 28% 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
Review free trade agreements biennially for rights violation.
Abercrombie signed H.R.3012
Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment Act or the TRADE Act:
- review biennially certain free trade agreements (including Uruguay Round Agreements) between the US and foreign countries to evaluate their economic, environmental, national security, health, safety, and other effects; and
- report on them to the Congressional Trade Agreement Review Committee (established by this Act), including analyses of specified aspects of each agreement and certain information about agreement parties, such as whether the country has a democratic form of government, respects certain core labor rights and fundamental human rights, protects intellectual property rights, and enforces environmental laws.
Declares that implementing bills of new trade agreements shall not be subject to expedited consideration or special procedures limiting amendment, unless such agreements include certain standards with respect to: Requires the President to submit to Congress a plan for the renegotiation of existing trade agreements to bring them into compliance with such standards. Expresses the sense of Congress that certain processes for U.S. trade negotiations should be followed when Congress considers legislation providing special procedures for implementing bills of trade agreements.
Source: TRADE Act 09-HR3012 on Jun 24, 2009
- human rights;
- environment and public safety;
- food and product health and safety;
- provision of services;
- intellectual property;
- trade remedies and safeguards;
- dispute resolution and enforcement;
- technical assistance;
- national security; and
Reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.
Abercrombie signed Letter on Ex-Im Bank
Press release on Letter from 31 Governors to House Republican leaders:
We urge you to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) before its charter expires this year. In its role as the official export credit agency, Ex-Im is a vital export finance tool for exporters in our states, at no cost to American taxpayers.
Ex-Im allows our companies and workers to compete on a level playing field against our competitors. Without Ex-Im financing, US firms would have lost many sales campaigns to their overseas competitors.
Reauthorizing Ex-Im is the right thing to do for our economy, companies and workers. 41 GOP lawmakers and 865 business organizations have called for the charter's immediate renewal. And, House Democrats have already introduced legislation to reauthorize the bank. Speaker Boehner, it's time to act; quit jeopardizing the nation's economy and American jobs.
Argument in opposition from FreedomWorks:
Top Ten Reasons to Let the
Export-Import Bank Expire
- It Has Outlived Its Purpose: In the 2010s, US exports have been setting record highs--they don't need government help.
- It Lets Government Pick Winners and Losers
- Its Risky Loans Put it in Danger of Needing Taxpayer Bailouts
- It Costs Taxpayers Money Annually, thanks to government accounting gimmicks
- Most of Its Funding Goes to Big Corporations Who Don't Need the Money
- It Lets Foreign Corporations Undercut US Competitors
- It Only Benefits a Few States, but Every State Bears the Costs
- It Is Prone to Corruption (like whenever you involve the government in handing out money)
- There Are Better Ways to Help US. Manufacturers: the government should lower and simplify the tax and regulatory burden US companies face.
- It Is Unnecessary. The Ex-Im Bank cannot justify its continued existence. It's also one of the easiest programs to retire, as its authorization expires in September 2014 if Congress simply does nothing.
Source: Letter from 31 Governors 14_Lt_ExIm on Jul 15, 2014
No MFN for China; condition trade on human rights.
Abercrombie adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:
The Progressive Caucus opposes awarding China permanent Most Favored Nation trading status at this time. We believe that it would be a serious setback for the protection and expansion of worker rights, human rights and religious rights. We also believe it will harm the US economy. We favor continuing to review on an annual basis China’s trading status, and we believe it is both legal and consistent with US WTO obligations to do so. The Progressive Caucus believes that trade relations with the US should be conditioned on the protection of worker rights, human rights and religious rights. If Congress gives China permanent MFN status, the US will lose the best leverage we have to influence China to enact those rights and protections. At the current time, the US buys about 40% of China’s exports, making it a consumer with a lot of potential clout. So long as the US annually continues to review China’s trade status, we have the ability to debate achievement
of basic worker and human rights and to condition access to the US market on the achievement of gains in worker and human rights, if necessary. But once China is given permanent MFN, it permanently receives unconditional access to the US market and we lose that leverage. China will be free to attract multinational capital on the promise of super low wages, unsafe workplace conditions and prison labor and permanent access to the US market.
Furthermore, giving China permanent MFN will be harmful to the US economy, since the record trade deficit with China (and attendant problems such as loss of US jobs, and lower average wages in the US) will worsen. For 1999, the trade deficit is likely to be nearly $70 billion. Once China is awarded permanent MFN and WTO membership, the trade deficit will worsen.
Source: CPC Position Paper: Trade With China 99-CPC1 on Nov 11, 1999
Page last updated: Jul 22, 2017