2016 Presidential Candidates: Trade

We are intricately tied to other countries through family, traditions, and business. We need immigration reform and trade policies that support these ties and lead us back to prosperity with the talented workers and open, fair markets we need to succeed. 




Hillary Clinton (D)

"When I was in the Senate, I had a number of trade deals that came before me. And I held them all the same test. Will they create jobs in America? Will they raise incomes in America? And are they good for our national security? Some of them I voted for. The biggest one, is a multinational one known as CAFTA, I voted against. And because I hold the same standards as I look at all of these trade deals. But let's not assume that trade is the only challenge we have in the economy. I think it is a part of it. And I've said what I'm going to do. I'm going to have a special prosecutor. We’re going to enforce the trade deals we have and we’re going to hold people accountable. When I was Secretary of State, we actually increased American exports globally thirty percent. We increased them to China fifty percent. So I know how to really work to get new jobs and to get exports that help to create more new jobs." (Clinton; September 26, 2016)
"Well, I think that trade is an important issue, of course. We are five percent of the world’s population - we have to trade with the other ninety five percent. And we need to have smart fair trade deals. " (Clinton; September 26, 2016)

"Well, let’s start with this: It’s true that too often, past trade deals have been sold to the American people with rosy scenarios that did not pan out. Those promises now ring hollow in many communities across Michigan and our country that have seen factories close and jobs disappear. Too many companies lobbied for trade deals so they could sell products abroad but then they instead moved abroad and sold back into the United States. It is also true that China and other countries have gamed the system for too long. Enforcement – particularly during the Bush administration – has been too lax. Investments at home that would make us more competitive have been completely blocked in Congress. And American workers and communities have paid the price. But the answer is not to rant and rave – or cut ourselves off from the world. That would end up killing even more jobs. The answer is to finally make trade work for us, not against us. So my message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this: I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages – including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as President.  As a Senator from New York, I fought to defend New York’s manufacturers and steel-makers from unfair Chinese trading practices. And I opposed the only multilateral trade deal that came before the Senate while I was there, because it didn’t meet my high bar. As Secretary of State, I fought hard for American businesses to get a fair shot around the world and to stop underhanded trading practices like currency manipulation and the theft of intellectual property. So as President, I will stand up to China and anyone else who tries to take advantage of American workers and companies. And I’m going to ramp up enforcement by appointing, for the first time, a chief trade prosecutor, I will triple the number of enforcement officers, and when countries break the rules, we won't hesitate to impose targeted tariffs. Now Mr. Trump may talk a big game on trade, but his approach is based on fear, not strength. Fear that we can’t compete with the rest of the world even when the rules are fair. Fear that our country has no choice but to hide behind walls." (Clinton; August 11, 2016)

"Right now, thousands of Michigan companies are exporting billions of dollars of products around the world. We want them to sell even more, and create more jobs here at home. But corporations should not abandon profitable operations here in the United States to move abroad, just to give shareholders a quicker return, CEOs a bigger bonus, and unions a weaker hand to play." (Clinton; August 11, 2016)

"If you believe that we should say “no” to unfair trade deals... that we should stand up to China... that we should support our steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers…join us." (Clinton, 2016)

TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY (TPP): When asked if she would vote for Trade Promotion Authority if still in the Senate: "At this point, probably not because it’s a process vote and I don’t want to say it’s the same as TPP. Right now I’m focused on making sure we get trade adjustment assistance and I certainly would not vote for it unless I were absolutely confident we would get trade adjustment assistance." (Clinton, 2015)  

Made the following remarks during a November 2012 speech: "This TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements to open free, transparent, fair trade, the kind of environment that has the rule of law and a level playing field. And when negotiated, this agreement will cover 40 percent of the world's total trade and build in strong protections for workers and the environment." (Clinton, 2012)



Donald Trump (R)


NAFTA/TPP: "I will be a president for all of our people. And I'll be a president that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back. Because NAFTA, signed by her husband, is perhaps the greatest disaster trade deal in the history of the world. Not in this country. It stripped us of manufacturing jobs. We lost our jobs. We lost our money. We lost our plants. It is a disaster. And now she wants to sign TPP, even though she says now she's for it. She called it the gold standard. And by the way, at the last debate, she lied, because it turned out that she did say the gold standard and she said she didn't say it. They actually said that she lied. OK? And she lied. But she's lied about a lot of things." (Trump; October 9, 2016
TRADE DEALS: "Right now, other nations are taking our jobs and they're taking our wealth." (Trump; October 9, 2016)
TRADE DEALS: "When I look at all of the things that I see and all of the potential that our country has, we have such tremendous potential, whether it's in business and trade, where we're doing so badly. Last year, we had almost $800 billion trade deficit. In other words, trading with other countries. We had an $800 billion deficit. It's hard to believe. Inconceivable." (Trump; October 9, 2016)
TRADE DEALS: "We are living through the greatest job theft in the history of the world. Our jobs are being stolen. I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created." (Trump; October 5, 2016)
"Well, he approved NAFTA. He approved NAFTA, which is the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country." (Trump; September 27. 2016)
"Let me give you the example of Mexico. They have a vat tax, we’re on a different system. When we sell into Mexico there is a tax when they sell an automatic sixteen percent approximately. When they sell into us there's no tax. It’s a defective agreement. It's been defective for a long time, many years, but the politicians haven’t done anything about it. Now in all fairness to Secretary Clinton...yes? Is that okay? Good, I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me. But in all fairness to Secretary Clinton, when she started talking about this it was really very recently, she's been doing this for thirty years and why hasn't she made the agreements better? The NAFTA agreement is defective. Just because of the tax and many other reasons but just because of the tax." (Trump; September 27. 2016)
"Our jobs are fleeing the country. They're going to Mexico they’re going to many other countries. You look at what China is doing for country in terms of making our product, they're devaluing their currency and there's nobody in our government to fight them. And we have a very good fight and we have a winning fight. Because they’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China and many other countries are doing the same thing. So we are losing our good jobs, so many of them. When you look at what's happening in Mexico, a friend of mine who builds plants, said it's the eighth wonder of the world. They’re building some of the biggest plants anywhere in the world, some of the most sophisticated, some of the best plants. With the United States, as he said, not so much. So Ford is leaving, you see that their small car division, leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio, they’re all leaving." (Trump; September 27. 2016)

FREE TRADE/ FREE MARKETS: "I don’t think we have to do that. I think we can do it in such a way that they’ll want to buy American-made products. And that’s a good thing. That’s a better thing. You want to have a free market, and I believe in free market, but you want to have strength. And what we’re doing now is we’re being destroyed on foreign trade. And then at the same time, we lose a little less than $800 billion on trade. And we do things for other countries and they don’t buy from us. But no, the answer is I like free markets. I want to make it so that people willingly want to buy from us." (Trump; August 11, 2016

NAFTA:  "I never worked this hard in my life. But I like it, I like it, I love it actually because I’ve met so many incredible people. You know I really got — thank you — I really got a tremendous understanding of this country. Because I’m going to places that I’ve heard about, I’ve known about, I’m stopping everywhere. And I see the carnage that NAFTA has caused, I see the carnage. It’s been horrible. I see upstate New York, I see North Carolina, but I see every state. You look at New England. New England got really whacked. New England got hit. You look at Ohio, what happened there, and still happening. By the way, this isn’t like it’s going to happen or it’s all over, it’s getting worse. You look at Ohio, you look at Michigan, what’s going on with the car plants being built in Mexico, is unbelievable. And more and more, you know they’re moving. We were just talking about the autoworkers yesterday. Where they’ve lost over 100,000 autoworkers in Michigan, the state of Michigan, which is our car capital and it’s really not the car capital anymore. Mexico will become the new car capital of the world in a very short period of time. No, think of it. And that’s only because we allow it to happen. And I like Mexico. And I respect the leaders of Mexico because they’re much smarter, they’re much street smarter, but they’re much smarter and more cunning than our leaders. But you have to see what’s going on...  But one of the reasons is that Carrier Air Conditioning let 1,400 people go and they’re building a plant in Mexico. And we’re not going to let it happen, folks. Look, right now as you stand here, you think you have great jobs. Companies are negotiating from North Carolina to move to Mexico, and other places. It’s not just Mexico, by the way. Made possible by our federal government, made possible by the people that enacted this suicidal pact. It’s a suicidal pact for our country. And you know I’ve watched for years." (Trump, 2016)

TRADE WITH CHINA: Thank you. But they — it’s cheating, it’s really cheating. And when I look at these trade deals — it’s so sad — where we lose $800 billion — billion with B — dollars a year on trade with China alone, it’s $400 billion and $500 billion and $505 billion. This is year in and year out, it’s actually amazing that our country keeps going. But what has happened is, we have people in the audience, in 18 years, they’re making less money now than they made 18 years ago, in real wages, 18. And in many cases, they’re working two and three jobs, OK? But they’re making less money now than they made 18 years ago. And those stats come right out, real wages. They’re working harder, they’re getting older. (Trump, 2016)

TRADE REFORM: "As Bernie Sanders has said, Hillary Clinton has bad judgment. We’ve seen this bad judgment overseas, in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. We’ve seen it in Iran. We’ve seen it from President Obama, when he gives $150 billion to Iran, the number one terror state, and even gives them $400 million in money-laundered cash as a ransom payment. But we’ve also seen the terrible Obama-Clinton judgment right here in Detroit. Hillary Clinton has supported the trade deals stripping this city, and this country, of its jobs and wealth. She supported Bill Clinton’s NAFTA, she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, she supported the job-killing trade deal with South Korea, and she supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Let’s talk about South Korea for a moment, because it so perfectly illustrates the broken promises that have hurt so many American workers. President Obama, and the usual so-called experts who’ve been wrong about every trade deal for decades, predicted that the trade deal with South Korea would increase our exports to South Korea by more than $10 billion – resulting in some 70,000 jobs. Like Hillary Clinton’s broken promises to New York, these pledges all turned out to be false. Instead of creating 70,000 jobs, it has killed nearly 100,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Our exports to South Korea haven’t increased at all, but their imports to us have surged more than $15 billion – more than doubling our trade deficit with that country. The next betrayal will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hillary Clinton’s closest friend, Terry McAuliffe, confirmed what I have said on this from the beginning: if sent to the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton will enact the TPP.  Guaranteed. Her donors will make sure of it. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for TPP – and it’s also a vote for NAFTA. Our annual trade deficit in goods with Mexico has risen from close to zero in 1993 to almost $60 billion. Our total trade deficit in goods hit nearly $800 billion last year. This is a strike at the heart of Michigan, and our nation as a whole. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, before NAFTA went into effect, there were 285,000 auto workers in Michigan. Today, that number is only 160,000. Detroit is still waiting for Hillary Clinton’s apology. I expect Detroit will get that apology right around the same time Hillary Clinton turns over the 33,000 emails she deleted. Hillary Clinton’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be an even bigger disaster for the auto industry. In fact, Ford Motor Company has announced its opposition to the deal. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. trade deficit with the proposed TPP member countries cost over 1 million manufacturing jobs in 2015. By far the biggest losses occurred in motor vehicles and parts, which lost nearly 740,000 manufacturing jobs. Michigan ranks first for jobs lost as a share of state workforce due to the trade deficit with TPP members. Just imagine how many more automobile jobs will be lost if the TPP is actually approved. That is why I have announced we will withdraw from the deal before that can ever happen. Hillary Clinton will never withdraw from the TPP. She is bought, controlled and paid-for by her donors and special interests.  Because my only interest is the American people, I have previously laid out a detailed 7-point plan for trade reform, available on my website. It includes strong protections against currency manipulation, tariffs against any countries that cheat by unfairly subsidizing their goods, and it includes a renegotiation of NAFTA. If we don’t get a better deal, we will walk away. At the center of my plan is trade enforcement with China. This alone could return millions of jobs into our economy. China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit. They break the rules in every way imaginable. China engages in illegal export subsidies, prohibited currency manipulation, and rampant theft of intellectual property. They also have no real environmental or labor protections, further undercutting American workers. Just enforcing intellectual property rules alone could save millions of American jobs. According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, improved protection of America’s intellectual property in China would produce more than 2 million more jobs right here in the United States. Add to that the saved jobs from cracking down on currency cheating and product dumping, and we will bring trillions of dollars in new wealth and wages back to the United States. Trade has big benefits, and I am in favor of trade. But I want great trade deals for our country that create more jobs and higher wages for American workers. Isolation is not an option, only great and wellcrafted trade deals are." (Trump, 2016)
“America has always been a trading nation. Under the Trump administration trade will flourish. However, for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability. America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor. If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality. When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete” (Trump, 2016)

On NAFTA: "It's a disaster. We will either renegotiate it or break it because you know every agreement has an end. Every agreement has to be fair. Every agreement has a defraud claim. We're being defrauded by all these countries." (Trump 2015)

On Tariffs: "Let's say Ford moves to Mexico, if they want to sell that car in the United States, then they pay a tax. Here's what's going to happen: they aren't going to build their plant there, they'll build it in the United States." (Trump 2015)



Gary Johnson (L)

NAFTA: "Well, first of all, NAFTA. Would I have signed it or not? My skepticism says that maybe I wouldn't have signed it, because these trade agreements are just laden with crony capitalism. Would I have signed or implemented the Trans-Pacific Partnership? I've got to tell you, I think it's laden with crony capitalism. Free market really is the answer. It's the answer to unifying the whole planet, in my opinion, and if China wants to subsidize the goods that it sells to the United States, who benefits from that? Well, we do. And at the end of the day, who pays for any sort of tariffs? We do. So free trade, genuine free trade, that's another one of Trump's--you know, hey, he says "I'm all for free trade" but then, in the next sentence, he says, "I'm going to force Apple to make their iPads and their iPhones in the United States." Hm, that sounds really free trade to me." (Johnson, 2016)