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President-Elect Obama's Positions on Trade

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to move ahead with the Doha round of world trade talks and to work to strengthen labor and environmental protections in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Following are some of his positions on trade:

  • North American Free Trade Agreement. Wants to work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to amend the pact to strengthen labor and environmental protections.
  • U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Believes Colombia must do more to reduce murders and other violence against trade unionists before Congress votes on the pact.
  • U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Wants to renegotiate the pact to strengthen "badly flawed" agricultural and manufacturing provisions that he says fail to adequately open South Korea's market to U.S. exports.
  • World Trade Talks. Says would work to complete a Doha agreement that would increase U.S. exports, support good jobs in America, strengthen the rules-based multilateral system, and advance development of the world's poorest countries.
  • Trade Enforcement. Believes the United States needs to be more aggressive in filing cases against the World Trade Organization against countries that violate global trade rules to keep out U.S. goods.
  • Retraining. Wants to update the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program by extending it to service industries, creating flexible education accounts to help workers retrain, and providing retraining assistance for workers vulnerable to dislocation before they lose their jobs.
  • China. Favors stronger action, including possible U.S. cases at the World Trade Organization, to pressure Beijing on trade and currency practices that hamper U.S. exports.
  • Fast track. Wants to revamp "fast track" trade negotiating authority to give Congress a greater role in selecting countries for free trade talks.
  • Labor. Wants all trade agreements, including the WTO, to include binding obligations protecting the right to collective bargaining and other core labor standards recognize by the International Labor Organization.
  • Environment. Wants to add binding environmental standards to trade agreements so companies from one country can not gain an economic advantage by destroying the environment.
  • Immigration. Supports additional personnel and other resources on the border to stop illegal immigration and promises to crack down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. Favors reforms that allow more foreign workers to legally enter the country to meet demands for jobs that U.S. employers cannot fill. Supports requiring undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, pay taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.