- 1 Donald Trump
- 2 Bernie Sanders
- 3 Chris Christie
- 4 Rand Paul
- 5 Ted Cruz
- 6 Ben Carson
- 7 Carly Fiorina
- 8 Rick Santorum
- 9 John Kasich
- 10 Martin O'Malley
- 11 Marco Rubio
- 12 Mike Huckabee
- 13 Hillary Clinton
- 14 Jeb Bush
- Officially declare China as a currency manipulator (DTW)
- "Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%" (DTW)
- Force China to uphold IP laws. (DTW)
- End China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards (DTW)
- Lower corporate tax rate (to 15%, listed in Tax section) (DTW)
- Bolstering U.S. military presence in East and South China Seas (DTW)
- "But the worst of China's sins...is the wanton manipulation of China's currency, robbing Americans of billions of dollars of capital and millions of jobs." (The International Economy)
- "Economists estimate that the yuan is undervalued anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent. Through manipulation of the yuan, the Chinese government has been able to tip the trade balance in their direction by imposing a de facto tariff on all imported goods." (The International Economy)
- "On day one of a Trump administration, the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China a currency manipulator." (The International Economy)
"Why are we striking trade agreements with countries we already have agreements with? Why is there no effort to make sure we have fair trade instead of ‘free’ trade that isn’t free to Americans?" (BB)
- "Middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs." (DD1)
- "...for forty years, the great middle class of this country has been disappearing. And in my view, what we need to create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure; raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour; [enact] pay equity for women workers; [rethink] our disastrous trade policies, which have cost us millions of jobs; and make every public college and university in this country tuition-free." (DD1)
- "I voted against NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China. I think they have been a disaster for the American worker. A lot of corporations that shut down here move abroad. Working people understand that after NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China we have lost millions of decent paying jobs. Since 2001, 60,000 factories in America have been shut down. We're in a race to the bottom, where our wages are going down. Is all of that attributable to trade? No. Is a lot of it? Yes. TPP was written by corporate America and the pharmaceutical industry and Wall Street. That's what this trade agreement is about. I do not want American workers to competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour for a minimum wage." (OTIBST)
- "In the House and Senate, I voted against all of these terrible trade agreements, NAFTA, CAFTA, permanent normal trades relations with China. Republicans and Democrats, they say, "oh, we'll create all these jobs by having a trade agreement with China." Well, the answer is, they were wrong, wrong, wrong. Over the years, we have lost millions of decent paying jobs. These trade agreements have forced wages down in America so the average worker in America today is working longer hours for lower wages." (OTIBST)
Reverse trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR that have driven down wages and caused the loss of millions of jobs. (BSWII)
Trade policy would focus on restoring jobs for Americans. Stop exports of oil abroad to focus on clean energy solutions at home. Against all Free-Trade agreements on the grounds that it hurts the American people and represents only the interests of corporate America.
Free Trade Agreements
Christie supports new free-trade agreements like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership(TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), at least in theory. The main caveat is that he doesn’t trust President Obama to deliver a good deal:
“I’m generally in favor of trade and free trade. Of course the devil is always in the details. I’m not a huge truster in this president’s ability to negotiate on behalf of American interests. I’m someone who believes in trade promotion authority. But I don’t know that I would give this president trade promotion authority. This is the same guy who’s negotiating such a great deal that Iran is going to be a nuclear power. And so trade deals I think are important to expand American markets to bring our products to other people and theirs to us and to allow America competition to be able to continue to be what drives us to be the number one economy in the world.” (Newsweek)
North American Trade
Last September, Christie traveled to Mexico to help boost its trade with New Jersey. He followed up with a trip to Canada in December. He explained his reasoning for the two trips:
“When we decided to do foreign travel in 2014, I intentionally selected Mexico and Canada…we need to make these neighbors of ours a first thought, not an afterthought, and the fact is that the best way to do that is to meet people, to let them know by your physical presence and your interest in what’s going on in their countries that they’re important partners of ours.… I believe we need to spend much more time on our own hemisphere and on our continent, but also because I wanted to acknowledge and have the opportunity to expand our business and trade relationships with Canada and Mexico.” (Newsweek)
Energy Cooperation and NAFTA
Christie emphasizes the importance of energy cooperation and trade among North American countries. On that score, he thinks the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) needs revision:
“I do think that we need to take another look at NAFTA.…It’s been 20 years now since NAFTA was put into effect and what’s the next chapter going to look like? We know what’s happened over the last 20 years with NAFTA, but I think we need to be talking to our neighbors about what the next generation of NAFTA will look like.” (Newsweek)
Opponent of Obama's Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA
"My consistent opposition to the Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, stems from my belief that Congress has already given too much power to the Presidency." (RPW - T)
"With TPA, Congress gives up the power to amend or filibuster trade legislation. While I think trade is a net positive, I don’t believe Congress should cede more power to this or any other President." (RPW - T)
"I oppose TPA because I oppose secrecy. There is no sane reason for making the trade treaty classified." (RPW - T)
"As a strong supporter of free trade who has voted for three free trade agreements, I am willing to work with the administration on a compromise that ensures more transparency, but unless Congress and the American people can play a role in negotiating these agreements, I will not support them." (RPW - T)
Proponent of trade with China
"When I was about ten years old, like many conservative middle-class families, our inclination was to resist anything to do with Red China. In that black and white world, you were either for us or against us. Trade with China was thought to be trade with the enemy. A funny thing happened, though, along the way. Many conservatives came to understand a larger truth. As trade began to blossom with China, many conservatives, myself included, came to admit that trade improves our economic well-being AND makes us less likely to fight. The success of trade with China made many conservatives rethink their view of the world." (NI - T)
Encourages free trade through export inducers, such as investment - not devaluation of the dollar
"In November 2011, my office was happy to participate with the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, who set out to acquire raw milk in protest of raids on small farmers. Over the past several years, the President has taken the laudable step of urging Congress to pass free trade laws in order to elevate exports. However, apart from the effort to encourage free trade, the President's efforts to create an environment conducive to competing in a global economy have been largely misguided. The President and the central bank have attempted to increase exports by destroying the value of the dollar here at home." (OTI - T)
"The President's agenda of increasing taxes on top of a weak dollar policy is inhibiting the country's ability of to compete overseas. One of the fundamental keys to export growth is investment. The correlation between tax rates, investment and export is demonstrated by the tremendous export opportunities and growth of East Asia." (OTI - T)
"Tax rates affect the investment decisions of firms and individuals by altering the cash flow of investment opportunities, and decrease the return on investment, resulting in overall reduced investment." (OTI - T)
Active Opponent of Government Regulation of Industry
"In November 2011, my office was happy to participate with the Raw Milk Freedom Riders, who set out to acquire raw milk in protest of raids on small farmers. The Raw Milk Freedom Riders intentionally purchased and transported raw milk across state lines in violation of federal law. Civil disobedience. Hunger strikes. Persecuted activists. The food freedom movement has all the hallmarks of the great struggles of the past, and that's because it shares a common enemy with those movements--aggressive and arrogant government." (OTI - T)
- "[Instead] of adjusting monetary policy according to whims and getting it wrong over and over again and causing booms and busts, what the Fed should be doing is, number one, keeping our money tied to a stable level of gold, and, number two, serving as a lender of last resort." (RD4)
- Cruz has been rated as a "Free Trade Supporter" by the Cato Institute and Wall Street Journal (CI) (WSJ)
- supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement until the eve of the vote to “fast-track” the measure when he voted against it (WSJ)
- said he changed his mind becayse he found “new troubling information” in details of the emerging trade deal that suggests that the fast track bill could make it easier for Obama to change federal immigration law and also complained that House Speaker John Boehner punished Republicans who opposed the bill in the House. (WSJ)
- Cruz strongly disapproves of the Export-Import Bank (USA)
- “The Export-Import Bank is big businesses’ big-government bank backed by U.S. taxpayers" (USA)
- "I support reducing global market barriers and promoting economic growth and jobs through free and fair trade. We create more jobs and economic growth when we increase exports of American-made goods and services around the world. I am inclined to support TPP, but the American people and their representatives in Congress need to carefully review this large trade agreement in order to fully understand all of its benefits and compromises." (BCWTPP)
- "Ben Carson has said that Americans should have a say in trade deals through their representatives, but he’s not exactly running on economics." (Newsweek)
In favor of stopping trade imbalance
- "[A friend of mine, a self-made multimillionaire who owns many businesses,] has proposed that we place a stiff tariff on products that are manufactured in other countries and are shipped here fully assembled, while reducing tariffs on products that will require assembly once they reach our shores. Given the severe trade imbalance, such a policy would have a dramatic impact on the American job market." (Ben Carson, America the Beautiful, 79)
- "Now the only reason that we can sustain that kind of debt is because of our artificial ability to print money, to create what we think is wealth, but it is not wealth, because it's based upon our faith and credit. You know, we decoupled it from the domestic gold standard in 1933, and from the international gold standard in 1971, and since that time, it's not based on anything. Why would we be continuing to do that?" (The International Economy)
- Carly Fiorina said she supports free trade, but didn't want President Barack Obama to have the congressional green light to finalize a massive Pacific Rim deal. (MLN)
- Said of the TPP: "There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there that can only be described as crony capitalism, special giveaways to certain industries,” adding the agreement is “a mess.”" (MLN)
Favors bilateral agreements
Fiorina favors bilateral trade agreements over trade pacts because “bilateral agreements are always more effective. We have more leverage.” (MLN)
- "We shouldn't be putting tariffs on anything. That hurts working men and women. What we should do is making our manufacturing more competitive. One of the reasons I introduced the 20/20 plan, a 20 percent flat tax on corporations, as well as on individuals, is so we can be competitive, so we can bring those manufacturing jobs back. We need to take those jobs from China and bring them back here." (OTIFT)
The US needs an Ex-Im bank
- "A true conservative wants to create a level playing field. There's 60 Ex-Im banks all over the world. Every major competitor for the United States' manufacturing dollar has one of those banks. In order to have a level playing field, we have to have export financing and here's why. G.E. just lost a contract, you know what they did? They got the Ex-Im bank in France to support it, and they moved manufacturing to Hungary and France. GG.E. is doing well, but American workers are out of jobs." (OTIFT)
- Negotiate Free Trade Agreements with the goal of expanding access to foreign markets for American products and services (RSWTR)
Open New International Markets, but Get Smart About Unfair Trade
When American products and services are accessible around the world American businesses and workers benefit. Trade also enhances global security and stability. It can’t come at the cost of common sense, however. If other countries want access to the American market they should provide access to their markets, and trade violations must be quickly addressed to prevent significant economic damage to businesses and workers.
- The International Trade Commission and other U.S. trade bodies must be reformed to expedite consideration of complaints from companies that are negatively impacted by unfair trade practices.
- America must seek more favorable terms in trade negotiations including better protection against currency manipulation, intellectual property theft and cyber-attacks.
Strengthen Trade Promotion & Expedite Trade Violation Enforcement
The Department’s International Trade Administration ineffectively brings together trade promotion, trade agreement enforcement, and data collection and analysis functions that are not natural fits.
- Expanding Markets for American Businesses and Workers: The trade promotion work of the Commercial Service and Global Markets division would function better in the State Department, especially since the overseas offices are usually located in embassies where they work closely with the State Department’s economic officers. Many of these functions would be augmented by coordination with U.S. Trade Representative.
- Enforcing Trade Agreements: Trade enforcement and compliance work, as well as industry analysis functions, are better suited at the International Trade Commission, an independent agency that already responds to trade violations. Aligning these functions more directly will help speed up responses to trade violations to better protect American workers.
- Improve Protection of Sensitive Technology: The Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security regulates exports of sensitive technologies to prevent them from being used against America by unfriendly nations or terror groups. Combining these national security and international engagement function is better suited at the State Department, which already coordinates closely with the Bureau on its work.
"TPP, it's critical to us, not only for economic reasons and for jobs, because there are so many people who are connected to getting jobs because of trade, but it allows us to create not only economy alliances, but also potentially strategic alliances against the Chinese. They are not our enemy, but they are certainly not our friend." (Onetheissues)
Martin O'Malley is critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and rejects any deals negotiated in secret. (CBS)
O'Malley will support and negotiate trade agreements only if they: (MOW-TP)
- Reject secret trade agreements and democratize trade negotiations
- Prohibit currency manipulation
- Prevent corporate power grabs
- Oppose investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)
- Put public interests first
- Lift labor standards
- Protect core labor rights
- Set and enforce meaningful labor standards
- Improve environmental protection
- Uphold strong financial regulations
- Provide fair access to markets
- Protect access to affordable medicines
- Support investment in the U.S. Economy
- Ensure that U.S. corporations are taxed fairly, including on their global activities
Reduce Barriers to Free Trade
- "My second goal is protecting the U.S. economy. For years, China has subsidized exports, devalued its currency, restricted imports and stolen technology on a massive scale. As president, I would respond not through aggressive retaliation, which would hurt the U.S. as much as China, but by greater commitment and firmer insistence on free markets and free trade. This mean immediately moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements." (The International Economy)
- "We must continue reducing barriers to free and fair trade. We should adopt the free trade agreements that have already been negotiated with Colombia, Panama, South Korea and other nations around the world. We should also insist that other countries reduce their own barriers to trade so that American goods can find new markets." (OTI)
"It is more important than ever that Congress give the president trade promotion authority so that he can finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership."(CFR)
Free and Fair Trade
"As president, I will fight for America’s future and America’s farmers. I will:
- Reject Obama’s radical, EPA mandates that strangle farmers with bureaucracy and Washington nonsense.
- Fight for free and fair trade. Americans can compete with anyone in the world, but agriculture trade is often unfair and not free.
- Support American corn producers and the renewable fuel standard. Washington shouldn’t pick favorites or change the rules in the middle of the game.
- Abolish the Death Tax and protect family farms." (MHWA)
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
"I support free, fair trade, but I’m sick of America’s workers getting punched in the gut."
"We don’t create good jobs for Americans by entering into unbalanced trade deals that forgo congressional scrutiny and ignore the law only to import low-wage labor, undercut American workers, and drive wages lower than the Dead Sea."
"I cannot support giving this administration trade promotion authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)" given the following reasons:
- Obama administration cannot be trusted to negotiate on behalf of the American people.
- President Obama should sort out a clear, honest framework of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) with Congress before horse-trading with foreign bureaucrats.
- Political pressure from Obama administration will force Congress to accept even a lousy TPP agreement.
- Poorly crafted TPP will worsen problems on immigration and currency manipulation, such as number of foreign workers and artificially cheap imports.
"We need to expand trade and work with partners across the globe to grow our economy. However, this Administration (TPA) cannot be trusted to negotiate a deal that makes sense for American workers. 
More Quotes on Free Trade
Adapted from On The Issues
- Trans Pacific Partnership isn't fair trade or free trade
- Huckabee complained that American wages have been stagnant since Chinese trade agreements went into effect over the past few decades: "People are working hard, and they have less to show for it," he said. "We need to quit apologizing for being America, and we need to start making it so that Americans can prosper and not just so that the Chinese can buy Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags.
- Free AND fair trade: globalize, but help those whom it harms
- I support free trade, but it has to be fair trade. We are losing jobs because of an unlevel, unfair trading arena that must be fixed.
- Diplomacy hasn't worked; impose sanctions on China
- The federal government won't take the necessary steps when China refuses to play by the rules of fair trade. For the past six years, we've relied on diplomacy, when we should have imposed sanctions and brought legal actions against them. It's only very recently that our government has at last begun minimal action. We need less talk and more of that action.
- Supports NAFTA & CAFTA, if partners “hafta” abide by rules
- "I think the free-trade agreements are wonderful to have, and I supported NAFTA and CAFTA. But I always say, then you “hafta” make sure that these free trade agreements are being abided by both parties, and that’s not what’s happened."
- Fair trade includes lead-free products & playing by rules
- The main thing we have to do is to make sure that our free trade agreements involve fair trade. And that’s something that we’ve got to do a better job of enforcing, is to make sure that those products which are coming into the US are free of lead, that they’re safe, that they’re manufactured in the same kind of standards that we expect our American companies to use when they built things. And that hasn’t happened. And one of the reasons we’re losing a lot of jobs is that we’ve been in such a rush to make sure that we exemplify the boundaries of free trade, that we forgot that we’re all supposed to play by the same rules. If somebody cheats, you’re not playing the game fairly. When the Chinese send toys that have lead, they have dog food that causes our pets to die, when we have food that comes to us contaminated, when things that are created by people who have worked in sweatshops--how does an American worker expect to compete?
- A free country must feed, fuel, & fight for itself
- When we start outsourcing everything and we are in that kind of a trade deficit, then just remember, who feeds us, who fuels us and who helps us to fight, that’s to whom we are enslaved. So if we can’t do those three things, our national security is very much at risk.
- We need fair trade because we’re losing jobs
- The fact is, we don’t have fair trade. And that’s the issue we’ve got to address. Our real problem continues to be that an American company is having to pay an extraordinarily high tax on everything they produce, but the countries who are exporting to us don’t have the same border adjustability that we do.
- This country can never yield its sovereignty for any reason
- I believe with all my heart is that this country can never, ever, ever yield its sovereignty to any other country for any reason, under any circumstance, ever That’s why I would agree that we not only need closed and secure borders, but more importantly, we need a re-understanding that we are a sovereign nation, and we do not yield ourselves over.
- Trade sanctions on Saudi Arabia for persecuting Christians
- China trade contingent on human rights & product safety
- No NAFTA Superhighway from Canada to Mexico
- Marketplace pushes innovation to top & prices to bottom
- I believe in free trade and allowing the marketplace to push innovative ideas to the top & prices to the bottom. Perhaps the most compelling challenge is ensuring that a free trade correspondingly represents a fair trade.
- Farm subsidies ok because Europe & Asia do same
- It has been policy to pay farmers a stipend for their crops to ensure the farmers will receive a guaranteed minimum price. Some conservatives believe that all agricultural subsidies should be discontinued and allow the market to function. In an ideal world, this would be good practice, but American farmers are competing with subsidized farmers in Europe and Asia, and the fixed costs faced by farmers involving land, equipment, seed, and supplies means that even if they do not sell a single stalk of corn, they will have significant expenses.
- Enforce trade law against subsidized Canadian lumber imports
- Chief advocate for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
- Clinton supported deals with Oman, Chile and Singapore during her tenure in the Senate. As secretary of State, she was a chief advocate as talks commenced surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the largest worldwide deals in recent history. (OTI)
- TPP agreement creates more growth and better growth. (Source: Megan R. Wilson in TheHill.com weblog, "Clinton vs. Warren" , Aug 24, 2014) (OTI)
- Global trading system isn't up to standards of fairness
- "The current global trading system is distorted not only by barriers to entry in developing and emerging economies, but by the power of special interests in developed countries, including the US. To make trade fairer as well as freer, developing countries have to do a better job of improving productivity, raising labor conditions, and protecting the environment. In the US, we have to do a better job of providing good jobs to those displaced by trade." (OTI)
- China benefits from WTO and should play by WTO rules (Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.513 , Jun 10, 2014) (OTI)
- "We should focus on ending currency manipulation, environmental destruction and miserable working conditions [in China]. I acknowledge the challenge of lifting millions of people out of poverty. China argued this outweighed any obligation to play by established rules. I countered that China and other emerging economies had benefited greatly from the system the US had helped create, including their membership in the World Trade Organization, and now they needed to take their share of responsibility." (OTI)
- "The Greek crisis as well as the Chinese stock market have reminded us that growth here at home and growth an ocean away are linked in a common global economy. Trade has been a major driver of the economy over recent decades, but it has also contributed to hollowing out our manufacturing base and many hard-working communities. So we do need to set a high bar for trade agreements. We should support them if they create jobs, raise wages, and advance our national security. And we should be prepared to walk away if they don't." (The International Economy)
Lift Restrictions on Exports of Oil and Natural Gas
"Lifting the ban on crude oil exports and liberalizing natural gas exports would create hundreds of thousands of additional jobs and significantly lower net energy costs within two years."(JBW-EP)
"trade with Cuba when Cuba is free. The difference between China and Cuba is China has huge economic opportunities for us. Cuba is a country of 11 million people, impoverished, and it's a dictatorship. Any efforts taken by the Obama administration right now has not gotten anything in return."(IPR)