Al Sharpton on Free Trade

Reverend; Civil Rights Activist; Democratic Candidate for President

Cancel NAFTA rather than renegotiate it

EDWARDS [to Sharpton]: The Chile trade agreement and the Singapore agreement have very strong enforcement mechanisms. I would use the Free Trade of the Americas agreement as a vehicle for renegotiating NAFTA.

SHARPTON: I want to cancel it.

EDWARDS: I think we do need to renegotiate it. The problem with NAFTA is these side agreements donít work. You have to put these labor/environmental protections in the text of the agreement.

Q: Will that be enough?

SHARPTON: No, I donít think so. This cost jobs for Americans. And it is unequivocal evidence that it costs Americans jobs. People were unemployed. It also went below labor and human rights standards abroad. We need to cancel NAFTA unequivocally. We need to have standards that we would not deal with nations that would put laborers in those kinds of situations. We cannot protect American corporations and call that patriotic and not protect American workers and call that protections.

Source: [Xref Edwards] Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

Labor standards should not cost American workers jobs

Q: Should the US seek more free or liberalized trade agreements?

A: I think that we should seek to revoke NAFTA and have trade agreements only where labor standards are fair and would not cost American workers jobs. These free trade agreements are not proven to help in the nations abroad in terms of securing rights for laborers and they certainly have cost American workers jobs.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, ďTradeĒ Jan 25, 2004

Disagreed with NAFTA under Clinton AND under Bush

Q: Why are you picking on President Bushís trade policies when Bill Clinton signed most of free trade deals weíre talking about today?

SHARPTON: Well, I picked on President Clinton when he was in. I disagreed with NAFTA when Clinton was in, and I think that we have come to see that that disagreement was correct. I think that we cannot have trade policy that overlooks labor, overlooks workersí rights, overlooks environmental concerns. Just because something is trade, [it doesnít] makes it right.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Against NAFTA; donít sacrifice environment to economy

Q: How would you hold multinational organizations accountable and address environment degradation associated with trade?

SHARPTON: Iím opposed to many of the trade agreements, including NAFTA and others in the 90ís. For any trade agreement, you must have a strong environmental part of the trade agreement that is enforceable. We have too long allowed government to say we must sacrifice environment to stimulate the economy, either globally or domestically. And I donít think thatís a fair exchange.

Source: Democratic candidates Debate on the Environment, Los Angeles Jun 26, 2003

Repeal NAFTA and GATT: too business-friendly

Too many Democrats agreed with deregulating big business. Too many Democrats allowed big business to have us swayed with these trade agreements. We need to repeal NAFTA. We need to repeal GATT. We need to criminalize those that donít just go off shore for business reason, it is their criminal intent not to have to pay their share in an America that they want to be a part of.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

Other candidates on Free Trade: Al Sharpton on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010