WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Monday outlined proposals that would govern her policy on international trade, including requiring trade negotiators to disclose drafts of new trade agreements to the public.
Warren, who has offered the most voluminous policy proposals in the crowded field of Democrats hoping to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, also proposed a “border carbon adjustment” tax that would be levied against imported goods that require “carbon-intensive” manufacturing processes.
“Trade can be a powerful tool to help working families but our failed pro-corporate agenda has used trade to harm American workers and the environment,” Warren said in a post on Medium.com announcing her trade position.
Trump made tearing up the nation’s trade deals a central part of his 2016 presidential campaign promises and while in office has renegotiated the NAFTA trade deal with Canada and Mexico and sought new trade deals with Asian and European nations.
Trump’s policies on trade are often at odds with his Republican Party, which traditionally has embraced multination trade deals and advocated for extensive free trade.
Instead, his protectionist-leaning trade policies have been more aligned with the historic positions of liberal Democrats.
That reversal of positions has left many Democrats scrambling to find a way to counter Trump, with those like Warren and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders opting to attack the way he has implemented his trade policies but not the primary goals.
Warren’s new trade positions go a step farther, echoing some of the president’s criticism that previous trade deals have been unfair to American workers, while also calling for more liberal policies to be infused in trade deals.
“For decades, big multinational corporations have bought and lobbied their way into dictating America’s trade policy,” Warren said. “Those big corporations have gotten rich but everyone else has paid the price.”
Warren called for adding transparency to the trade negotiating process and allowing Congress a larger role in dictating the terms of trade deals.
Critics have said allowing Congress to amend trade deals before ratification will make it more difficult to reach an agreement since changes will have to be re-negotiated with the participating countries.
Warren has outlined a set of preconditions she wants other countries to meet before entering new trade deals, including regarding labor laws and efforts to stop human trafficking.
Warren also calls for preconditions that the United States currently would not meet, like being a party to the Paris Climate agreement and not providing domestic fossil fuel subsidies.
She also called for new trade policies for pharmaceuticals and agriculture products, including establishing new standards for imported goods.
Finally, Warren called for increased enforcement, including utilizing the World Trade Organization, of which Trump has been a vocal critic, to enforce higher standards around human rights and the environment for nations engaged in trade with the United States.