Benjamin Cardin on Free Trade
Democratic Jr Senator (MD)
Push TPP to remove limits on US poultry exports
Cardin joined a bipartisan group of 11 senators wrote a letter to the TPP negotiators on Jan. 15, 2014: "We are concerned about Canada's program that severely limits U.S. chicken exports. Despite ratification of NAFTA, Canada has continued to impose
restrictions on imports of US chicken products. We urge you to work to address this long-standing, unjustified issue during the TPP negotiations, and to fully engage the other eleven participating countries to create true free trade for US poultry."
Source: DailyKos (June 26, 2016): Letter from 11 Senators on TPP
, Jan 15, 2014
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:
- enforcement of textile and apparel rules of origin;
- certain textile and apparel safeguard measures; and
- enforcement of export laws governing trade of timber products from Peru.
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 2007-413
on Dec 4, 2007
Voted NO on implementing CAFTA, Central America Free Trade.
To implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. A vote of YES would:
Reference: CAFTA Implementation Bill;
Bill HR 3045
; vote number 2005-443
on Jul 28, 2005
- Progressively eliminate customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations
- Preserve U.S. duties on imports of sugar goods over a certain quota
- Remove duties on textile and apparel goods traded among participating nations
- Prohibit export subsidies for agricultural goods traded among participating nations
- Provide for cooperation among participating nations on customs laws and import licensing procedures
- Encourage each participating nation to adopt and enforce laws ensuring high levels of sanitation and environmental protection
- Recommend that each participating nation uphold the International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
- Urge each participating nation to obey various international agreements regarding intellectual property rights
Voted YES on implementing US-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act: implementing free trade with protections for the domestic textile and apparel industries.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Tom DeLay [R, TX-22];
; vote number 2004-375
on Jul 14, 2004
Voted YES on implementing US-Singapore free trade agreement.
Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the United States and Singapore. The trade agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the United States and Singapore. The agreement would remove tariffs on goods and duties on textiles, and open markets for services The agreement would also establish intellectual property, environmental and labor standards.
Reference: US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement;
Bill HR 2739
; vote number 2003-432
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted YES on implementing free trade agreement with Chile.
United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act: Vote to pass a bill that would put into effect a trade agreement between the US and Chile. The agreement would reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the US and Chile. The trade pact would decrease duties and tariffs on agricultural and textile products. It would also open markets for services. The trade pact would establish intellectual property safeguards and would call for enforcement of environmental and labor standards.
Reference: Bill sponsored by DeLay, R-TX;
Bill HR 2738
; vote number 2003-436
on Jul 24, 2003
Voted NO on withdrawing from the WTO.
Vote on withdrawing Congressional approval from the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization [WTO].
Reference: Resolution sponsored by Paul, R-TX;
Bill H J Res 90
; vote number 2000-310
on Jun 21, 2000
Voted NO on 'Fast Track' authority for trade agreements.
Vote to establish negotiating objectives for trade agreements between the United States and foreign countries and renew 'fast track' authority for the President.
Reference: Bill introduced by Archer, R-TX.;
Bill HR 2621
; vote number 1998-466
on Sep 25, 1998
Maintain anti-dumping restrictions against foreign importers.
Cardin co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution to maintain current WTO rules:
Title: Expressing the sense of Congress that the United States Trade Representative should oppose any changes that weaken existing antidumping and safeguard laws at the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations.
Summary: Expresses the sense of Congress that:
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR256 on Oct 30, 2001
- renegotiation by members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) of existing antidumping and safeguard provisions contained in the GATT Antidumping Agreement is unnecessary and unlikely to result in an agreement that does not weaken the antidumping and safeguard provisions; and
- the United States Trade Representative should oppose any changes to such provisions contained in the Antidumping Agreement at the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held at Doha, Qatar, from November 9-13, 2001, and at any subsequent negotiations
- The Tarde Representative should oppose any changes that make antidumping relief under these provisions more difficult, uncertain, or costly for domestic industries to achieve and maintain over time.
Rated 44% by CATO, indicating a mixed record on trade issues.
Cardin scores 44% by CATO on senior issues
The mission of the Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies is to increase public understanding of the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism.
The Cato Trade Center focuses not only on U.S. protectionism, but also on trade barriers around the world. Cato scholars examine how the negotiation of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements can reduce trade barriers and provide institutional support for open markets. Not all trade agreements, however, lead to genuine liberalization. In this regard, Trade Center studies scrutinize whether purportedly market-opening accords actually seek to dictate marketplace results, or increase bureaucratic interference in the economy as a condition of market access.
Studies by Cato Trade Center scholars show that the United States is most effective in encouraging open markets abroad when it leads by example.
The relative openness and consequent strength of the U.S. economy already lend powerful support to the worldwide trend toward embracing open markets. Consistent adherence by the United States to free trade principles would give this trend even greater momentum. Thus, Cato scholars have found that unilateral liberalization supports rather than undermines productive trade negotiations.
Scholars at the Cato Trade Center aim at nothing less than changing the terms of the trade policy debate: away from the current mercantilist preoccupation with trade balances, and toward a recognition that open markets are their own reward.
The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: CATO website 02n-CATO on Dec 31, 2002
Impose tariffs against countries which manipulate currency.
Cardin signed Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act
- Amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to include as a "countervailable subsidy" requiring action under a countervailing duty or antidumping duty proceeding the benefit conferred on merchandise imported into the US from foreign countries with fundamentally undervalued currency.
- Defines "benefit conferred" as the difference between:
- the amount of currency provided by a foreign country in which the subject merchandise is produced; and
- the amount of currency such country would have provided if the real effective exchange rate of its currency were not fundamentally undervalued.
- Determines that the currency of a foreign country is fundamentally undervalued if for an 18-month period:
- the government of the country engages in protracted, large-scale intervention in one or more foreign exchange markets
- the country's real effective exchange rate is undervalued by at least 5%
- the country has experienced significant and persistent global current account
- the country's government has foreign asset reserves exceeding the amount necessary to repay all its debt obligations.
[Explanatory note from Wikipedia.com "Exchange Rate"]:
Between 1994 and 2005, the Chinese yuan renminbi was pegged to the US dollar at RMB 8.28 to $1. Countries may gain an advantage in international trade if they manipulate the value of their currency by artificially keeping its value low. It is argued that China has succeeded in doing this over a long period of time. However, a 2005 appreciation of the Yuan by 22% was followed by a 39% increase in Chinese imports to the US. In 2010, other nations, including Japan & Brazil, attempted to devalue their currency in the hopes of subsidizing cheap exports and bolstering their ailing economies. A low exchange rate lowers the price of a country's goods for consumers in other countries but raises the price of imported goods for consumers in the manipulating country.
Source: HR.639&S.328 11-S0328 on Feb 14, 2011
Voted FOR reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank.
Cardin voted NAY Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act
Heritage Action summary of vote# S206: The Senate voted to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. Kirk to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Sen. Kirk recommends voting NO. Heritage Foundation recommends voting YES because the "Ex-Im Bank is little more than a $140 billion slush fund for corporate welfare."
OnTheIssues explanation: Voting NO would allow a vote on reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. Voting YES would kill the bill for reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.
Congressional Summary from previous Ex-Im bill S.824; the Ex-Im Bank shall:Sierra Club reason for conditionally voting NO (from previous bill S.819):Sen. Shaheen's bill S.824
reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank without undermining Obama's Climate Action Plan. The Sierra Club supports the bill because it makes both financial and environmental sense for the US and all of its taxpayer-backed financial institutions--including Ex-Im--to stop investing in dirty and dangerous fossil fuels like coal.
- Provide technical assistance to small businesses on how to apply for financial assistance;
- Establish programs under which private financial institutions may share risk in loans & guarantees.
- The Bank may enter into up to $25 billion worth of contracts of reinsurance or co-finance.
Cato Institute reason for voting YES to kill the bill:The Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization buffs contend that Ex-Im fills a void left by private sector lenders unwilling to provide financing for certain transactions. Ex-Im's critics [say that] by effectively superseding risk-based decision-making with the choices of a handful of bureaucrats pursuing political objectives, Ex-Im risks taxpayer dollars. It turns out that for nearly every Ex-Im financing authorization that might advance the fortunes of a single US company, there is at least one US industry whose firms are put at a competitive disadvantage. These are the unseen consequences of Ex-Im's mission.
Source: Supreme Court case 15-S0995 argued on Oct 19, 2015
Rated 38% by the USAE, indicating support for trade sanctions.
Cardin scores 38% by USA*Engage on trade issues
Ratings by USA*Engage indicate support for trade engagement or trade sanctions. The organization's self-description: "USA*Engage is concerned about the proliferation of unilateral foreign policy sanctions at the federal, state and local level. Despite the fact that broad trade-based unilateral sanctions rarely achieve our foreign policy goals, they continue to have political appeal. Unilateral sanctions give the impression that the United States is 'doing something,' while American workers, farmers and businesses absorb the costs."
USA*Engage at Work
- Developing the Case: USA*Engage explains the benefits of economic engagement, and the high cost of sanctions for American exports, investment and jobs.
- Education: We recruit respected foreign policy and economic experts to speak out against sanctions, actively engage the media and provide outreach to key target states and Congressional districts.
- Contacting Government Officials: USA*Engage directly contacts Congressional, Administration, state and local officials.
VoteMatch scoring for the USA*Engage ratings is as follows :
Source: USA*Engage 2011-2012 ratings on Congress and politicians 2012-USAE on Dec 31, 2012
- 0%-49%: supports trade sanctions;
- 50%-74%: mixed record on trade engagement;
- 75%-100%: supports trade engagement.
Other candidates on Free Trade:
Benjamin Cardin on other issues:
Chris Van Hollen
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Senate Votes (analysis)
Page last updated: Jul 11, 2020