For many years, Bernie has vocally expressed that trade policy should prioritize the needs of American workers and small businesses first. As he has warned, however, all the major trade deals have served the interests of multinational corporations at the huge cost of working families. Senator Sanders believes that these unchecked trade deals have diminished America’s working and middle classes by closing thousands of factories and taking millions of decent paying jobs abroad, perpetuating our nation’s massive inequality.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Bernie has led fights against harmful trade deals such as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China. Today, Bernie aims to coalesce with environmentalists, organized labor, religious organizations and bipartisan political actors to fight the insidious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Sanders has continuously stated that trade agreements like NAFTA, PNTR, and TPP do not serve the interests of the American people. Whether or not these deals are good for national GDP, it is evident that almost all the benefits are enjoyed by big business and the top 1%. Furthermore, these deals encourage bad environmental stewardship, where lax environmental regulations abroad displace the externalities of industry onto communities in impoverished nations. Knowing this fully well, Bernie took the House floor in 1993 and warned his colleagues before voting against NAFTA:
“NAFTA may be a good deal for the people who own our corporations, but it is a bad deal for American workers, for our family farmers, and it is bad for the environment.”
Bernie’s track record on free trade:
NAFTA: Bernie’s strong opposition to destructive “free trade” deals began with NAFTA in 1993.
PNTR with China: As with NAFTA, Bernie warned in 2000 that Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China would help multinational corporations at the expense of workers and the environment.
Trans-Pacific Partnership: The TPP follows in the footsteps of the previous pro-corporate trade deals. It lacks safeguards to protects American jobs and the environment while giving massive benefits to large multinational corporations.