Here are some excerpts from the February 4, 2016, Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire, in which Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton comment on China and Asia.
Sen. Bernie Sanders on outsourcing to China
Can I work with corporations? Are there good corporations doing incredible cutting edge research and development? Absolutely they are. And we should be proud of them.
But on the other hand, there are many corporations who have turned their backs on the American worker, who have said, if I can make another nickel in profit by going to China and shutting down in the United States of America, that’s what I will do.
I will do my best to transform our trade policy and take on these corporations who want to invest in low income countries around the world rather than in the United States of America.
and on North Korea…
Clearly North Korea is a very strange situation because it is such an isolated country run by a handful of dictators, or maybe just one, who seems to be somewhat paranoid. And, who had nuclear weapons.
And, our goal there, in my view, is to work and lean strongly on China to put as much pressure. China is one of the few major countries in the world that has significant support for North Korea, and I think we got to do everything we can to put pressure on China. I worry very much about an isolated, paranoid country with atomic bombs.
I think, clearly, we got to work closely with China to resolve the serious problems we have, and I worry about Putin and his military adventurism in the Crimea and the Ukraine.
and on trade…
TODD: If you do that as president, how are you not essentially letting China, who will do all of these deals around the world, how are you going to prevent China from essentially setting the rules of trade for the world?
SANDERS: Chuck, I believe in trade, but I do not believe in unfettered free trade. I believe in fair trade which works for the middle class and working families of this country and not just large multinational corporations.
I was not only in opposition to NAFTA — and this is an area where the secretary and I have disagreements. I was not only in opposition to NAFTA, I was on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA because I understood — I don’t think this is really rocket science.
We heard all of the people tell us how many great jobs would be created. I didn’t believe that for a second because I understood what the function of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and the TPP is, it’s to say to American workers, hey, you are now competing against people in Vietnam who make 56 cents an hour minimum wage.
I don’t want American workers to compete against people making 56 cents an hour. I don’t want companies shutting down in America, throwing people out on the street, moving to China, and bringing their products back into this country.
SANDERS: So, do I believe in trade? Of course, I believe in trade. But the current trade agreements over the last 30 years were written by corporate America, for corporate America, resulted in the loss of millions of decent-paying jobs, 60,000 factories in America lost since 2001, millions of decent-paying jobs; and also a downward spiral, a race to the bottom where employers say, “Hey, you don’t want to take a cut in pay? We’re going to China.”
Workers today are working longer hours for lower wages. Trade is one of the reasons for that.
Secretary Hillary Clinton on trade agreements
I did hope that the TPP, negotiated by this administration, would put to rest a lot of the concerns that many people have expressed about trade agreements. And I said that I was holding out that hope that it would be the kind of trade agreement that I was looking for.
I waited until it had actually been negotiated because I did want to give the benefit of the doubt to the administration. Once I saw what the outcome was, I opposed it.
Now I have a very clear view about this. We have to trade with the rest of the world. We are 5 percent of the world’s population. We have to trade with the other 95 percent. And trade has to be reciprocal. That’s the way the global economy works.
But we have failed to provide the basic safety net support that American workers need in order to be able to compete and win in the global economy. So it’s not just what’s in the trade agreement that I’m interested in.
I did help to renegotiate the trade agreement that we inherited from President Bush with Korea. We go the UAW on board because of changes we made. So there are changes that I believe would make a real difference if they could be achieved, but I do not currently support it as it is written.