Joe Sestak on Free Trade

Democratic Senate Challenger; former Navy Admiral


Stop using tariffs as weapon in disputes with China

The economic pain currently being felt by farmers and others due to the ongoing trade war with China is evidence of the importance of good trade policy to the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans. I believe we must not use tariffs as a weapon in geopolitical disputes that have nothing to do with trade policy. Our national economy relies on a stable global economy that functions under predictable rules of engagement. Businesses make decisions every day that will impact their operations for years to come, so they will only take the kinds of risks that lead to greater success when they know they won't be taken by surprise with sudden tariffs.

It is imperative that we be in a position to compete with China, our only major economic rival, for their business. China is rapidly pursuing economic expansion around the globe, but without the same standards for the environment, labor rights, and intellectual property enforcement that our societal norms and values rightly demand.

Source: 2020 presidential campaign website JoeSestak.com , Jun 23, 2019

Re-join the Trans-Pacific Partnership

I believe we lost an important opportunity to shape the future of global trade when we withdrew our involvement from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While that trade agreement was far from perfect, it gave us the chance to set the rules of engagement across a critically important region, home to some of the world's most dynamic, influential, and rapidly changing countries. Our withdrawal also sent a worrying signal to our friends and allies in the region that we are not interested in expanding our engagement with them, and that in the absence of US global leadership, China will inevitably fill the vacuum. As President, I will seek to reaffirm our commitment to the Asia Pacific region by re-joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership while improving the agreement to ensure that it serves our people, not merely our corporations. I will make certain that all future trade agreements and trade policy decisions are made principally for the benefit of the American people.
Source: 2020 presidential campaign website JoeSestak.com , Jun 23, 2019

Supports Ex-Im Bank & supports trade agreements in principle

Sestak contrasted his ideas against opponent Pat Toomey's comments about the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that provides financing and insurance to businesses that export their products. In a recent letter to fellow senators, Toomey argued that the bank should not be reauthorized because it is "one of the most egregious forms of corporate welfare in our government."

Sestak isn't taking a position yet on a pending trade agreement that the Obama administration argues will create job opportunities by boosting exports. Some Democrats have expressed skepticism that the deal with Japan and other Pacific countries will be beneficial to Pennsylvania.

Sestak said he wants to see the United States, not China, helping set trade guidelines in those countries--a position that Toomey also has outlined. "In principle, I'd like to be for it, because I want to set the rules of the road for trade," Sestaksaid. "Trade is part of our national security."

Source: Mcall.com coverage of 2016 Pennsylvania Senate race , May 7, 2015

Supports TPP in principle, but verify openly before we trust

Sestak isn't taking a position yet on a pending trade agreement [the Trans-Pacific Partnership] that the Obama administration argues will create job opportunities by boosting exports. Sestak was critical of the Obama administration's not being more forthcoming about the trade negotiations, saying those details should be available before the president seeks a faster approval process for completing the trade deal.

"But don't you trust Obama?" asked one citizen. "I'm a guy that verifies before he trusts," Sestak replied.

In an interview later, Sestak said some U.S. workers have been harmed by past trade deals, particularly those without a college degree. Better job-retraining programs should be put in place to help workers who might be hurt by the ripple effects of a trade agreement, along with tough requirements on labor practices and environmental standards for countries that sign the eventual deal.

Source: Mcall.com coverage of 2016 Pennsylvania Senate race , May 7, 2015

Tax companies who fire US workers & import goods from China

Asked "How do you bring jobs back to Pennsylvania?", Sestak criticized the Bush administration's China policy and attacked his opponent for supporting it. "Corporations have gone overseas. My opponent voted that if a corporation shuts down its factory here in Pennsylvania; fires its employees; and then invests in a factory in China; and then cheap goods come in, often illegally subsidized by China; then no tax is given to the process of that large corporation, where jobs have gone overseas."
Source: Epoch Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate , Oct 23, 2010

Voted YES 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:

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; Bill HR3920 ; vote number 2007-1025 on Oct 31, 2007

Tariffs against countries undervaluing their currency.

Sestak signed H.R.2378 & S.1027

    Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to require the administering authority to determine, based on certain requirements, whether the exchange rate of the currency of an exporting country is undervalued or overvalued (misaligned) against the U.S. dollar for an 18-month period; and to take certain actions under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding to offset such misalignment in cases of an affirmative determination. Congress makes the following findings:
  1. The strength, vitality, and stability of the US economy and the openness and effectiveness of the global trading system are critically dependent upon an international monetary regime of orderly and flexible exchange rates.
  2. Increasingly in recent years, a number of foreign governments have undervalued their currencies by means of protracted, large-scale intervention in foreign exchange markets, and this fundamental misalignment has substantially contributed to distortions in trade flows.
  3. This exchange depreciation serves as a subsidy for, and facilitates dumping of, exports from countries that engage in this mercantilist practice.
  4. It is consistent with the agreements of the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund that US trade law make explicit that fundamental undervaluation by an exporting country of its currency is actionable as a countervailable export subsidy and alternatively can be offset by antidumping duties.
Source: Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act 09-HR2378 on May 13, 2009

Other candidates on Free Trade: Joe Sestak on other issues:
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V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
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Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
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Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
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Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
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2020 Withdrawn Candidates:
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Page last updated: Jul 18, 2019