The future of America’s leadership on free trade is shaping up to be a major issue in the 2008 presidential campaign. Reuters produced a FACTBOX today on the positions of the two major candidates in the race.
REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN OF ARIZONA
- Supports free trade pacts with Colombia, South Korea and Panama and negotiating a new free trade pact with the 27 nations of the European Union.
- Opposes changing NAFTA agreement.
- Favours opening new trade markets, but also advocates education and retraining for workers displaced by global trade.
- Has proposed partnerships with community colleges to retrain displaced workers and providing income assistance to those who find jobs that pay less.
DEMOCRATIC SEN. BARACK OBAMA OF ILLINOIS
- Urged renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement to strengthen provisions on labour and environment. Warned of opting out of the treaty if Canada and Mexico refuse.
- Opposed free trade pacts with Colombia and South Korea, but supported an agreement with Peru.
- Supports pressuring World Trade Organization to better enforce agreements and halt government subsidies to foreign exporters and imposing other non-tariff barriers on U.S. exports.
- Wants to revamp fast-track trade negotiating authority to require pre-screening of potential U.S. free trade partners based on their labour and environmental standards and other factors.