Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Cooper, Sanders

In an interview on CNN Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged his fellow 2020 presidential candidates to commit to trade policies that serve American workers. (Photo: CNN)

Sanders Calls on 2020 Candidates to Pledge Opposition to 'Unfair' Trade Deals That Put Corporate Interests Ahead of US Workers

"What we have seen over the last many years is one disastrous trade policy after another... It has led to a race to the bottom."

Jessica Corbett

Sen. Bernie Sanders is challenging all of his competitors in the 2020 presidential race—especially Donald Trump—to scrap "unfair trade deals" and pursue policies designed to protect U.S. jobs and ensure living wages for American workers.

"We need a president who will actually fight for American workers and stand up to corporations who outsource jobs," Sanders tweeted Monday.

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday night, Sanders outlined his views of current conditions for workers and various trade deals. He also expanded on his vision for future U.S. trade policy.

Asked by Cooper whether he thinks Democratic contenders such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) or former Vice President Joe Biden would actually sign on to his trade pledge or put out their own plans, Sanders focused on the president.

"Mostly this is directed to President Trump," said Sanders.

Sanders also sent a clear message to major American corporations that benefit from unfair trade deals:

We have profitable corporation after profitable corporation shutting down in America, throwing American workers out on the street, going abroad, and then they line up at the federal trough for contracts...

Don't think you're going to get a contract if you shut down plants and lay off American workers. Don't think you're going to get a contract if you don't allow workers to organize into a union, if that's what they want to do.

In terms of policies to prevent that kind corporate behavior, Sanders's presidential campaign, in a statement Monday, called on all 2020 candidates to support:

  • An executive order ending federal contracts to corporations that outsource American jobs;
  • A commitment to renegotiate all of our unfair trade deals to prevent the outsourcing of American jobs and raise wages;
  • A promise to avoid appointing trade representative from Wall Street; and
  • A pledge to repeal Trump's tax breaks that reward companies for moving their factories overseas.

Sanders also vowed that if elected president, he will "label China a currency manipulator and prevent it from dumping artificially cheap products into the U.S."

The candidate's campaign website offers further details about his goals for reforming U.S. policy and highlights some broad trade developments during the Trump era.

"Despite the president's tough rhetoric and haphazard tariffs, under Trump, we now have a record-breaking $890 billion annual trade deficit in goods. And since Trump was elected, multinational corporations have shipped 185,000 American jobs overseas," the site says. "That is unacceptable."

Sanders, in his capacity as a senator, has been critical of Trump's moves on trade—particularly the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the controversial deal the president signed with Canada and Mexico in November.

At the time, Sanders called on negotiators to add "strong enforcement mechanisms" and to cut all of the "outrageous giveaways to the fossil fuel industry and big pharmaceutical companies" in the deal, which is often called "NAFTA 2.0."

"As someone who not only voted against NAFTA, but walked on the picket lines against it," the senator said, "there is no question that this unfettered trade deal needs to be fundamentally rewritten."

USMCA has not yet been approved by Congress, and faces an uncertain future in the Democratically controlled House.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

As Progressives Call for End to Blockade, Biden Announces More Sanctions Against Cuba

The move comes after Democratic leadership in the House blocked an amendment to roll back limits on how much money people in the United States can send to family on the island nation.

Jessica Corbett ·

Progressives Issue Dire Warning as House Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Dies

"If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities, needlessly contributing to more death and destruction."

Brett Wilkins ·

Citing Donziger Case, Dems Raise Alarm About Use of Private Prosecutors in Federal Court

Private prosecutions of criminal contempt charges, said a pair of senators, "are highly unusual and can raise concerning questions of fundamental fairness in our criminal justice system."

Jessica Corbett ·

'About Damn Time': DOJ Says Treasury Department Must Give Trump's Tax Returns to Congress

"This case is now bigger even than Donald Trump's crimes. Neither the courts, nor the machinery of our government, exist to bodyguard a corrupt private citizen from transparency."

Jake Johnson ·

'Just Say That the Election Was Corrupt,' Trump Told DOJ in December

"It was a failed coup. Call it what it was. It didn't work! But they sure as hell tried."

Kenny Stancil ·