July 01, 2020

Killing Jobs – The Biden Record On Trade

Key Takeaways:

Biden Voted For NAFTA, Calling It A “Victory” And Claiming It Would Be A “Wash” On Jobs

In November 1993, Biden Voted For H.R. 3450, The Legislation To Implement The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). (H.R. 3450, Roll Call Vote #395, Adopted 61-38; R: 34-10; D: 27-28; 11/20/93; Biden Voted Yea)

Speaking On The Senate Floor, Biden Predicted That In Terms Of Jobs Gains And Losses, “This [NAFTA] Is Essentially Going To Be A Wash.” SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Madam President, I like most Americans have been listening to this debate, I must admit I have been mildly preoccupied the last week or so with another legislative matter, but I have, this has not been far from my mind for it is a difficult vote, not politically, it’s simply a difficult vote, it’s a difficult vote because not withstanding all I heard from the proponents and opponents of NAFTA and I single out no particular individual.  Despite all I’ve heard, I quite frankly think that both the arguments for and against NAFTA are vastly, vastly, vastly overblown.  As I look at this issue and I do not pretend to be an expert on international trade matters.  I see it in the end that three, five, seven ten years from now we’re going to look down at this issue and in terms of the context in which it is being debated about creating jobs and losing jobs this is essentially going to be a wash.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks On The Senate Floor, 11/19/93)

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  • Biden Called NAFTA A “Legislative Victory.” SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “I will be back at the first of next year, reminding the President that with this legislative victory comes not only additional leverage to pry open the markets of Europe and Japan. With his victory tonight comes a responsibility to commit to a domestic program to stimulate growth and job creation.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks Submitted On The Senate Floor, 11/19/93)

Biden Called The Passage Of NAFTA “The First Step Toward Creating More Jobs In An Expanding World Market.” SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Tonight, with our vote for NAFTA, we take the first step toward creating more jobs in an expanding world market; we will also take on the responsibility to take the next steps to revive job-creating investments in our own country.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks Submitted On The Senate Floor, 11/19/93)

Biden Downplayed The Scope Of NAFTA’s Effect On The Economy Saying “Our Dynamic Economy Will Create Waves Of Activity That Will Swamp Any Ripples From NAFTA.” SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Supporters of NAFTA have told us that all told, NAFTA may create 200,000 new jobs. Opponents claim that it will eventually come to cost us as much as 500,000 jobs. But with or without NAFTA, our economy will create over 18 million new jobs over the next 10 years. Whatever our decision here on NAFTA, our dynamic economy will create waves of activity that will swamp any ripples from NAFTA.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks Submitted On The Senate Floor, 11/19/93)

NAFTA Killed Hundreds Of Thousands Of U.S. Jobs

The U.S. Trade Deficit With Canada And Mexico Increased Ten-Fold Between 1993 And 2013, Resulting In The Loss Of 850,000 U.S. Jobs Over That 20-Year Period. “Between 1993 (before NAFTA took effect) and 2013, the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada increased from $17.0 billion to $177.2 billion, displacing more than 850,000 U.S. jobs. Growing trade deficits and job displacement, especially between the United States and Mexico, were the result of a surge in outsourcing of production by U.S. and other foreign investors. The rise in outsourcing was fueled, in turn, by a surge in foreign direct investment (FDI) into Mexico, which increased by more than 150 percent in the post-NAFTA period.” (Robert E. Scott, “Fast Track To Lost Jobs And Lower Wages,” Economic Policy Institute, 4/13/15)

By 2010 More Than 720,000 U.S. Workers Lost Their Jobs Due To Offshoring To Canada Or Mexico Under NAFTA, According To Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Data. (“NAFTA’s Broken Promises 1994-2013: Outcomes Of The North American Free Trade Agreement,” Public Citizen, 2013)

Between NAFTA Taking Effect In January 1994 And November 2016, The U.S. Lost More Than 4.5 Million Manufacturing Jobs, A 27 Percent Decline. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 5/24/19)

Biden Claimed A Delaware Auto Plant With Thousands Of Workers Would Benefit From NAFTA – Within 15 Years, It Shut Down

Just Before Voting For NAFTA, Biden Cited Chrysler’s Plant In Newark Delaware As A Company Whose Workers Would Benefit From NAFTA Due To Increased Sales To Mexico.  SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “The chairman of Chrysler was in Delaware just last week, to accept a quality award from the State on behalf of the workers in our Chrysler plant. Chrysler expects to sell 5,000 more cars to Mexico from their Newark, DE, plant by the end of the decade. Without NAFTA, Chrysler will have to manufacture more cars in Mexico to meet the requirements of pre-NAFTA laws.” (Sen. Joe Biden, Remarks Submitted On The Senate Floor, 11/19/93)

(Sen. Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 11/19/93, pg. 30677)

In 2008, Chrysler Shut Down Its Newark, Delaware Plant Which Once Employed 5,600 People. “December 19, 2008 It was the last day of operation for the plant, putting hundreds of workers out of a job. In its heyday, the plant employed 5,600 people. That number dwindled to 1,100 as the economy took a tumble. ‘Everybody here is mad, upset, the whole gamut of emotions,’ said Sean White, a 15 year employee. ‘People feel like they got the carpet yanked from underneath them. They feel like there’s really nothing out there for them after this. The economy is really bad, so it’s a hard thing.’” (“Newark Chrysler plant shuts down,” Associated Press, 12/19/08)

Biden Led The Effort To Give China “Most Favored Nation” Trade Status – Promising It Would Not Lead To A “Collapse” In U.S. Manufacturing

As Senator, Biden Helped China Get Most Favored Nation Status, Shepherding The Legislation That Granted Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) Through The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Where He Was The Senior Democrat. “In the critical fight over whether to grant most-favored-nation trade status and World Trade Organization membership to China in the 1990s — a fight in which, again, many of his party’s leaders in Congress were on the right side — Biden carefully shepherded China through the process from his powerful perch as the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” (Tom Cotton, Op-Ed, “Joe Biden Is China’s Choice For President,” National Review, 3/11/20) 

  • PNTR Was A “Euphemism” For “Most Favored Nation” Trade Status. “In 2000, Congress made the fateful decision to extend ‘permanent normal trade relations,’ or PNTR, to China. As the economists Justin Pierce and Peter Schott have argued, the permanence of PNTR status made an enormous difference: Without PNTR, there was always a danger that China’s favorable access to the U.S. market would be revoked, which in turn deterred U.S. firms from increasing their reliance on Chinese suppliers. With PNTR in hand, the floodgates of investment were opened, and U.S. multinationals worked hand in glove with Beijing to create new China-centric supply chains. The age of ‘Chimerica’ had begun. PNTR was a euphemism designed to get around the fact that the traditional term for ‘normal trade relations’ was ‘most-favored-nation’ (MFN) tariff status, which basically meant a plain-vanilla relationship. A country could enter into a preferential trade agreement such as NAFTA, the accord between the United States, Mexico, and Canada—say, plain vanilla with chocolate sprinkles on top. But short of that, MFN status meant imports would be treated as favorably as those arriving from ‘the most favored nation.’” (Reihan Salam, “Normalizing Trade Relations With China Was A Mistake,” The Atlantic, 6/8/18) 

In September 2000, Biden Voted For H.R. 4444, The Bill To Permanently Normalize Trade Relations With China. (H.R. 4444, Roll Call Vote #251, Adopted 83-15, 9/19/00, Biden Voted Yea)

  • In September 2000, Biden Said That He Did “Not Anticipate A Dramatic Explosion In American Jobs” Nor “The Collapse Of The American Manufacturing Economy” As A Result Of PNTR.  SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “Some of my colleagues have argued that we must not cast our vote on PNTR simply on the promise of increased commercial opportunities for American corporations. I agree, Indeed, unlike some of my colleagues—on both sides of this question, pro and con—I do not see the question of China’s trade status simply in terms of the economic implications for the United States. I do not anticipate a dramatic explosion in American jobs, suddenly created to fuel a flood of exports to China. Nor do I see the collapse of the American manufacturing economy, as China, a nation with the impact on the world economy about the size of the Netherlands’, suddenly becomes our major economic competitor. Both the opponents and proponents of PNTR, I believe, have vastly oversold the economic impact of this legislation.”  (Sen. Joe Biden, Congressional Record, 9/19/00, p. S8717)

  • Biden Said Normalizing Trade Relations Would “Continue A Process Of Careful Engagement Designed To Encourage China’s Development As A Productive, Responsible Member Of The World Community.” “Granting China normal trade relations and bringing China into the global trading regime will continue a process of careful engagement designed to encourage China’s development as a productive, responsible member of the world community. It is a process which has no guarantees, but which is far superior to any alternatives available to us. A vote for permanent normal trade relations says we want China to be subject to stronger, multilateral rules of economic behavior – rules about international trade that will influence the structure of their internal social, economic, and political systems. I share with my colleagues a feeling of deep dissatisfaction with the many deplorable aspects of China’s domestic and foreign policies. But I do not share the belief that we will see progress in our relations with China by preserving the status quo.” (Press Release, “Biden Statement On PNTR Vote In U.S. Senate,” Senator Joe Biden, 9/19/00)

As The Senate Considered The Bill To Normalize Trade Relations With China, Biden Opposed The Decision To Allow Amendment Votes, Saying The Danger Of “Turn[ing] Down China Has Enormous Foreign Policy Consequences.” “Others faulted Lott for allowing consideration of amendments they said could send the wrong signal internationally were they adopted, or wondered if his tactics were designed to gain leverage on year-end negotiations with the president on other issues. ‘I don’t understand the strategy or the position of Sen. Lott on this,’ said Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the Foreign Relations Committee’s ranking Democrat. ‘At this point, to turn down China has enormous foreign policy consequences, as far as I’m concerned.’” (Chuck McCutcheon and Lori Nitschke, “China Trade Bill Remains Intact As Senate Rejects Arms Sanctions,” Congressional Quarterly, 9/15/00)

As Vice President, Biden Continued To Support The Status Quo With China On Trade

In A 2011 Speech In China, Biden Touted The Benefits Of Expanded Trade With China, Saying It Was “Creating Jobs And Economic Opportunities In Both Countries.” VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “Economic issues -- to state the obvious -- have been a particular focus of our nations’ growing cooperation.  Together, we’re working to promote economic growth that is strong, sustainable and balanced, and trade that is free and fair. Trade and investment between our countries are growing rapidly in both countries, in both directions, creating jobs and economic opportunities in both countries. We often hear about Chinese exports to the United States, but last year American companies in America exported $110 billion worth of goods and services to China, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in America.  The American people and the Chinese people are hopefully -- are becoming aware that it’s in our mutual interest in each of our countries to promote that exchange. A more prosperous China will mean more demand for American-made goods and services and more jobs back home in the United States of America.  So our desire for your prosperity is not borne out of some nobility.  It is in our self-interest that China continue to prosper.” (Vice President Joe Biden, Remarks by the Vice President at Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, 8/11/11)

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Earlier In 2011, Biden Touted The Idea That Trade With China “Supported Over 500,000 Jobs Here In The United States” During A Chinese Delegation Visit To Washington. VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “We’ve recognized that the United States-China relations generate global economic benefit, not just to both our countries, but global benefit. Last year our trade with China supported over 500,000 jobs here in the United States, and we made tangible progress during President Hu’s visit, especially in the areas of innovation, intellectual property, and exports, all of which we’re following up on.” (Vice President Joe Biden, Remarks During the Opening Session of the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue, Washington, DC, 5/9/11)

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Normalizing Trade Relations With China Killed 3.2 Million American Jobs, Including More Than 1 Million Manufacturing Jobs

A 2014 Estimate Found That “Growth In The U.S. Goods Trade Deficit With China” After Trade Relations Were Normalized “Eliminated Or Displaced 3.2 Million U.S. Jobs.” “Growth in the U.S. goods trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013 eliminated or displaced 3.2 million U.S. jobs, 2.4 million (three-fourths) of which were in manufacturing. These lost manufacturing jobs account for about two-thirds of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost or displaced between December, 2001 and December 2013.” (Will Kimball and Robert E. Scott, “China Trade, Outsourcing And Jobs,” Economic Policy Institute, 12/11/14)

Several Studies Have Found Links Between The Normalization Of Trade Relations With China And U.S. Manufacturing Job Losses. “An influential 2013 paper by economists David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson found that exposure to Chinese trade competition was responsible for the loss of roughly 1 million U.S. manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2007, many concentrated in regional industries such as the auto sector. Those findings were echoed in a 2016 paper, ‘The Surprisingly Swift Decline of U.S. Manufacturing Employment,’ by Justin Pierce, a Federal Reserve economist, and Peter Schott, a professor at Yale School of Management, that linked China’s WTO entry to an 18% plunge in manufacturing jobs during the same period.” (Joshua Green, “Biden’s NAFTA Vote Is A Liability In The Rust Belt,” Bloomberg, 5/14/19)

  • “An Influential 2013 Paper … Found That Exposure To Chinese Trade Competition Was Responsible For The Loss Of Roughly 1 Million U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Between 2000 And 2007…” (Joshua Green, “Biden’s NAFTA Vote Is A Liability In The Rust Belt,” Bloomberg, 5/14/19)

Bloomberg Headline: “After Doubts, Economists Find China Kills U.S. Factory Jobs.” (Peter Gosselin  and Mike Dorning, “After Doubts, Economists Find China Kills U.S. Factory Jobs,” Bloomberg, 6/18/15)

  • “Between 1 Million And More Than 2 Million Of The 5 Million Americans Factory Jobs Lost” Are “Traceable To Low-Cost Imports” Associated With China. “But studies examining the impact of China’s entry to the World Trade Organization in late 2001 have made the case that between 1 million and more than 2 million of the 5 million American factory jobs lost since 2000 are traceable to low-cost imports.” (Peter Gosselin  and Mike Dorning, “After Doubts, Economists Find China Kills U.S. Factory Jobs,” Bloomberg, 6/18/15)

Biden Was A “Key” Backer Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Biden Was “A Key Surrogate For The Obama Administration In Their Effort To Build Support On Capitol Hill” For The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). “Though Clinton’s taken fire for refusing to weigh in on TPP, Biden was a key surrogate for the Obama Administration in their effort to build support on Capitol Hill… His support for TPP would be particularly tough to address in a primary, as he’s been one of administration’s advocates for the deal on Capitol Hill.” (Alexandra Jaffe, “Trade Agreement The Latest Policy Hurdle For A Biden Run,” NBC News, 10/5/15)

  • In 2015, Biden’s Vice Presidential Office Said That Biden Not Only “Support[ed] The TPP Agreement” But That He Would Also “Help Pass It On The Hill.” “The vice president ‘supports the TPP agreement and will help pass it on the Hill,’ his office said. Biden also serves as the Senate’s president, and could be called upon to cast a tie-breaking vote. Biden, who is considering running for president, would be the only major Democratic candidate backing TPP.” (Josh Lederman, “Biden Supports Trade Deal Despite Opposition From Unions,” CBS/The Associated Press, 10/7/15)

  • In January 2016, Biden Told A Private Meeting Of House Democrats That They Would “Have To See” Him If They Didn’t “Like TPP.” “Democratic critics of President Obama’s trade agenda got a playful warning from Joe Biden on Thursday, when the vice president announced that he’ll be the administration’s leading pitchman for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). ‘I know a lot of you don’t like TPP, but you’re going to have to see me,’ Biden told scores of House Democrats gathered in Baltimore for their yearly retreat. ‘I apologize, because they think we get along with each other, so they’re sending me.’ The room erupted in laughter. ‘I hope we get along,’ Biden quickly added.” (Mike Lillis, “Biden Coaxes Dems On Obama Trade Deal,” The Hill, 1/28/16)

Biden Called TPP “A Game Changer” And A “Comprehensive, High-Standard Trade Agreement.” “Biden has defended the deal and lobbied Democratic lawmakers last year to give Obama fast-track authority. He also worked to seal the deal abroad, calling for its completion during conversations with Japanese and Canadian leaders. ‘This is a game changer,’ Biden said earlier this year in Mexico, describing TPP as a ‘comprehensive, high-standard trade agreement’ that would raise the bar for 21st century trade.” (Josh Lederman, “If He Runs, Biden Would Be Only Dem Backing Asia Trade Deal,” The Associated Press, 10/7/15)

In September 2016, Biden Said He Hoped The Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Pass During That Year’s Lame Duck Session Of Congress, Saying He Hoped Congress Saw “The Wisdom Of TPP.” COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS PRESIDENT RICHARD HAASS: “You recently wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine—just to choose a random publication that, that the Trans-Pacific Partnership—TPP—is as much about geopolitics as economics, and there we agree 100 percent. So my question is can there be a rebalance towards Asia without TPP, and given that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton oppose TPP, can there be TPP?” VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “Answer the second question first. As my grandfather would say, with the grace of God, the goodwill of the neighbors, and the crick not rising, we got a shot in this period—lame-duck period. That’s our only real shot here. I’m not overpromising, but sometimes when there is no election to face and people are leaving and others who are staying they may see the wisdom of TPP, number one. Number two, but it’s going to be hard. I think it’s less than an even chance but there is a genuine chance. It’s possible we can get it passed. The central element of your question was can you rebalance without TPP. Yes, but not nearly as well. Yes, but not nearly as well.” (Vice President Joe Biden, Remarks At The Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, 9/21/16)

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The TPP Would Have Killed 450,000 Jobs And Shrank The U.S. Economy

A 2016 Estimate Found The TPP Would Have Killed 448,000 U.S. Jobs In The 10 Years Following Its Implementation. “TPP would lead to employment losses in all countries, with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. The United States would be the hardest hit, with a loss of 448,000 jobs. Developing economies participating in the agreement would also suffer employment losses, as higher competitive pressures force them to curtail labor incomes and increase production for export.” (Jeronim Capaldo, Alex Izurieta, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, “Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality And Other Risks Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,” Global Development And Environment Institute At Tufts University, 1/16)

  • The Paper Estimated That TPP Would Result In A Smaller U.S. Economy, Shrinking GDP Compared To A Scenario Where The Trade Agreement Was Not Adopted. “TPP would generate net losses of GDP in the United States and Japan. For the United States, they project that GDP would be 0.54 percent lower than it would be without TPP, 10 years after the treaty enters into force. Japan’s GDP is projected to decrease 0.12 percent.” (Jeronim Capaldo, Alex Izurieta, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, “Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality And Other Risks Of The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,” Global Development And Environment Institute At Tufts University, 1/16)

The Economic Policy Institute Estimated That The U.S. Trade Deficit With The 11 TPP Nations Led To The Elimination Of More Than 2 Million U.S. Jobs In 2015. “The U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries eliminated 2 million jobs, as shown in Table 2, which reports the number of direct, indirect, and respending jobs lost (aggregated over all industries). The trade deficit between the United States and the 11 other TPP member countries in 2015 directly eliminated 418,900 jobs. In addition to the direct jobs lost, the U.S. trade deficit with the TPP country group eliminated an additional 847,200 indirect jobs in supplier industries, including jobs in manufacturing, commodity, and service industries. Finally, wages lost because of direct and indirect job cuts from the trade deficits with the TPP member countries would have supported an additional 759,700 respending jobs. The direct, indirect, and respending jobs displaced by the U.S. trade deficit with TPP member countries totals 2,025,800 jobs lost.” (Robert E. Scott and Elizabeth Glass, “Trans-Pacific Partnership, Currency Manipulation, Trade, And Jobs,” Economic Policy Institute, 3/3/16)

  • More Than One Million Of The Jobs Lost Were In Manufacturing. “The U.S. trade deficit with TPP member countries in 2015 cost 1,057,200 manufacturing jobs (52.2 percent of the jobs lost due to the U.S. trade deficit with TPP member countries).” (Robert E. Scott and Elizabeth Glass, “Trans-Pacific Partnership, Currency Manipulation, Trade, And Jobs,” Economic Policy Institute, 3/3/16)

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