posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 03:41 PM
KUCINICH: I believe the best way to deal with this is cancel NAFTA and renegotiate the trade agreement with Mexico.
Later in the debate…… Kucinich: Now, let's talk about China trade. The fact of the matter is, Wolf, it was well known when China trade came up
that China doesn't have environmental quality standards, doesn't have health standards, doesn't have workers' rights, doesn't permit people to
Now, everyone knew that. And for someone to come up afterwards -- and I think in the last debate, I think Hillary Clinton was criticized by John
Edwards for some trade-related issue, but the fact of the matter is, John, you voted for China trade understanding that workers were going to be hurt.
Now, you're a trial lawyer, you knew better. I'm saying that it's important, really.
EDWARDS: I think America's trade policy has been a complete disaster. I do believe that NAFTA, CAFTA, Colombia, Korea, Peru, which we're now
considering, has been a complete and total disaster.
And I think it's really important to prove what's been happening with trade into the bigger picture of what's happening with America. Because what
I believe is that powerful interests, particularly big corporate interests, have literally taken over this government.
And they've taken over against the interest of ordinary Americans. And the living, breathing example of that is, in 1993, when we were in control of
the White House, of the United States Senate and the United States House, we made an effort to pass universal health-care.
The big drug companies, insurance companies and their lobbyists killed it.
EDWARDS: The same time, NAFTA was put on the table.
EDWARDS: The big corporations in America were for NAFTA. So, what did we get with a Democratic Congress, with a Democratic president?
EDWARDS: We didn't -- no, let me finish this. We didn't get something that America desperately needed, which is universal health care. But we got
something America did not need, which is NAFTA, which has cost us millions of jobs. We will not change this country...
EDWARDS: ... if we replace a crowd of corporate Republicans with corporate Democrats. We have to give the power in this democracy back to the American
people. That's what's at stake in this election.
BLITZER: All right. I'm going to let Senator Clinton respond. But let me just rephrase the question. Was your vote to normalize trade relations with
China a mistake?
EDWARDS: I think what is a mistake is allowing China to operate unfettered, to send dangerous products into this country, to not have the president of
the United States hold them responsible for their trading obligations to the WTO, which has not been done.
BLITZER: So it was a mistake.
EDWARDS: I think it was right to bring them into WTO. It's wrong to not hold them responsible for their obligations.
BLITZER: All right. Senator Clinton, all of us remember the big NAFTA debate when your husband was president of the United States. A lot of us
remember the debate between Al Gore, who was then vice president, and Ross Perot.
BLITZER: Ross Perot was fiercely against NAFTA.
Knowing what we know now, was Ross Perot right?
CLINTON: All I can remember from that is a bunch of charts.
That, sort of, is a vague memory.
Look, NAFTA did not do what many had hoped. And so we do need to take a look at it and we do need to figure out how we're going to have trade
relations that are smart, that give the American worker and the American consumer rights around the world.
And I want to go back to Campbell's question for a minute, because it's really related to this.
It is something that every parent should be worried about. It's not only the toys. It's the pet food. It's the medical components in prescription
If we don't impose a third-party, independent investigative arm on our corporations that do business in China, as well as the Chinese government, we
should not permit any items to be imported into our country until we're sure they're safe.
CLINTON: I mean, that, to me, is rule number one.
BLITZER: All right. So let me rephrase the question. I'll rephrase the question. Was NAFTA a mistake? Was NAFTA a mistake?
CLINTON: NAFTA was a mistake to the extent that it did not deliver on what we had hoped it would, and that's why I call for trade timeout. When I am
president, I'm going to evaluate every trade agreement. We do need to get back to enforcing the ones we have, which the Bush administration has not
done. They have totally abdicated that.
But I think we have to get broader than that. We've got to have enforceable labor and environmental standards. We've got the WTO that enforces
financial and corporate rights. We need the International Labor Organization and other mechanisms that will be there to enforce labor rights and
CLINTON: And that's what I intend to do as president.
BLITZER: I want to go to John Roberts in a second, but I know Senator Dodd and Senator Obama want to weigh in on this. Senator Dodd, you first.
DODD: Well first of all, look, I respect the fact that we are calling for time-outs. But, as pointed out earlier by John Edwards, we have had Senator
Obama and Senator Clinton both come out in support of the Peruvian free trade agreement.
Now, you're switching our positions on these issues here for the convenience of a debate and discussion, and where polling data may be. We are in a
global economy. It is critically important that we do everything we can to expand those markets so that our products and our services can be sold in
It was outrageous in a sense here. If a U.S. corporation produced contaminated toys or food, they would have been shut down in 20 minutes. I called
upon the president to put a moratorium on trade coming out of China. When those products were announced to be contaminated, it should have stopped
right then and there.
BLITZER: All right. Quickly, Senator Obama was NAFTA a mistake?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, I hope Chris is clear. I haven't changed positions on Peru.
OBAMA: I am for it, and I plan to vote for it, because it is a small country. This is a trade agreement that has the labor agreements and the
environmental agreements that we've been fighting for in it. And I think it's the right thing to do.
I am opposed to CAFTA. I've been opposed to South Korea.
But going back to the issue of China, you know what Japan does with Chinese, when it comes to, for example, food importation. They send their own
inspectors over to China, and they set up their own safety system, and they say, "If you don't abide by our rules, you can't send food into
Now, the question is, why doesn't the United States impose these same rules and regulations as Japan has?
This is the biggest market -- this is the biggest market in the world. China has to sell here.
But this goes back to how we did most favored nation trading status with China. The problem was, we had one lever. When we allowed them in, we should
have said, "We will review this every single year, so if you are not behaving properly, if you are not safeguarding our consumers and find that you
are not looking out for American workers, or the administration is not, we will have that subject to review."
BLITZER: Thank you.
OBAMA: That was the failure on that China vote.
BLITZER: All right, 30 seconds. I got to let Senator Biden...
BIDEN: Look, it's not the agreement; it's the man. Under the WTO, we can shut this down. What are they all talking about here? It's about a
president who won't enforce the law.
When they contaminated chicken, what happened? They cut off all chicken going in from Delaware, a $3 billion industry, into China -- they cut it off.
We have power under this agreement. I don't know what anybody is talking about here. Enforce the agreement. Shut it down.