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George W. Bush On The Issues 2000

George W. Bush 2000 On The Issues

International Trade

Governor Bush believes the United States will continue to be prosperous and competitive in the global marketplace if we embrace free trade.  As President, he will work with Congress to restore Presidential trade negotiating authority and reassert American leadership on trade internationally. His priorities will include expanding free trade within our hemisphere, negotiating other regional and bilateral market-opening agreements, supporting the entry of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization, launching an ambitious new round of global trade talks, and enforcing American laws against unfair trade practices. Governor Bush believes that free trade is “a forward strategy for freedom,” and that as American goods and services enter foreign countries, so, too, do American values.

Governor Bush’s Principles and Approach

Commitment: As President, Governor Bush will be committed to tearing down trade barriers abroad and keeping markets open at home because he understands that trade is increasingly important to continued U.S. prosperity. Free trade is as critical to America’s high tech companies as it is to America’s farm sector, where one in three acres of farmland is planted with crops for export.  Exports have accounted for almost one-third of real U.S. economic growth over the last decade, and support an estimated 12 million American jobs, including one in five manufacturing jobs.  Export-related jobs pay 13 to 18 percent more than other jobs.  

Leadership: The Clinton-Gore Administration is the first in almost 25 years to fail to obtain "fast track" trade negotiating authority from Congress. The lack of this authority has hobbled the Administration's ability to initiate new market-opening initiatives and undermined America's traditional leadership role in global trade negotiations.  

With the U.S. trade deficit reaching record highs – $265 billion in 1999 and an estimated $350 billion in 2000 – Governor Bush believes new leadership is needed to advance America’s global economic interests. As President, he will work to build a bipartisan consensus at home in support of free trade, and exercise leadership abroad to tear down barriers to U.S. goods and services.  He has already demonstrated his commitment to free trade and to bipartisan leadership by actively and openly supporting the Administration's efforts to bring China into the World Trade Organization.

"A Forward Strategy for Freedom:" Governor Bush views trade as linked to America's larger foreign policy goals. He agrees with President Ronald Reagan, who called trade "a forward strategy for freedom" –  as American goods and services enter foreign markets, so, too, do American values, like freedom, respect for human rights, democracy.

Governor Bush’s Trade Priorities

As President, Governor Bush will work to expand free trade through market-opening initiatives, and he will work to enforce fair trade rules.  Governor Bush believes that Americans can compete with anyone if the rules are fair.  His priorities will be to:

  • Work on a bipartisan basis to restore 'fast track' trade negotiating authority for the President.
  • Fulfill the promise of hemispheric free trade by building on the success of the North American Free Tree Agreement (NAFTA) and other regional market-opening initiatives.
  • Pursue market-opening agreements in other regions with individual countries or groups of countries.
  • Support the admission of China and Taiwan into the World Trade Organization, and work to ensure compliance.
  • Support the launch of an ambitious new round of global trade negotiations.
  • Lead efforts to secure America’s competitive advantage in the New Economy by preventing other countries from erecting barriers to innovation.
  • Vigorously enforce anti-dumping and other American laws to combat unfair trade practices.
  • Reform American export controls by tightening control over truly sensitive military technologies and products, and easing restrictions on widely available civilian technologies.

    Frequently Asked Questions

By supporting increased trade with China and Chinese membership in the World Trade Organization, isn’t Governor Bush putting a higher priority on commercial interests than on human rights, nuclear proliferation and religious freedom?

  • This is not a question of priorities.  On the right terms, increased trade with China is not a favor to China – it’s in our own national interest.
  • As we introduce American goods and services into China, we will also introduce American values.  This will be a priority under Governor Bush.
  • Free trade with China is in America’s and Asia’s security interest.
  • Free trade with China will provide American businesses and farmers access to China's growing market and narrow our trade deficit with China, which in 1998 reached nearly $60 billion.  Also, in order to join the World Trade Organization, China is agreeing to live by fair trading rules and subject itself to dispute settlement.
  • Governor Bush believes the Clinton-Gore Administration is wrong to view China as a “strategic partner.”  Governor Bush views China not as our partner, but as our competitor.
  • As competitors, we will find some areas of mutual benefit, such as opening Chinese markets to American goods and services.  In other areas, our interests will diverge, and we will have to be vigilant.

    What will Governor Bush do to protect America workers and businesses from competition from countries that have little or no labor standards?
  • Like all Americans, Governor Bush wants to see improved working conditions worldwide.
  • The best way to address this issue is not through unilateral trade sanctions, but through international agreements.  That’s why Governor Bush supports international reform efforts, such as the International Labor Organization’s “Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labor,” and the World Trade Organization provision that permits member countries to ban imports made by prison labor.
  • At the same time we must guard against countries using labor standards as an excuse to erect protectionist barriers.  The primary goal of our trade policy should be to open markets abroad because the better way to raise living and working standards is to increase trade.

    Doesn’t free trade lead to the erosion of environmental standards abroad?
  • In most countries, trade and higher living standards result in more, not less, support for environmental protection.
  • As people move beyond a struggle for survival, a clean environment and other aspects of life become a priority and the wealth and resources needed to attack environmental problems are generated.
  • Instead of trade sanctions, we should work with other countries to forge multilateral environmental policies based on sound science.

    The World Trade Organization is an undemocratic institution controlled by unelected foreign bureaucrats, who routinely run roughshod over American interests and strike down American laws on health and safety standards, among other things.  How can you justify continued U.S. membership in such an organization?
  • The WTO is not controlled by unelected bureaucrats.  It is controlled by the governments of its members.
  • The WTO is not undemocratic.  It operates on the basis of one country-one vote, and most major decisions are made by consensus.
  • The WTO is not unresponsive to the will of the people: the Executive Branch negotiated the WTO rules, and Congress approved them.
  • The WTO has no power to change, alter, or amend any law or regulation of the United States.  The Constitution says that only one body can do that – the United States Congress.
  • If the WTO decides that some American law or regulation violates WTO rules, the United States always has a choice: change the law, or stand our ground and compensate our trading partners or allow them to raise barriers against our exports.

Source: George W. Bush for President 2000 Web Site


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