Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Has the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had an overall benefit for the US?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in an interview with Reality Report released Mar. 25, 2011 and available on You Tube:
"So much of the legislation that we pass isn't really free market at all. It's touted as free market when the reality ends up to be very corporate. That the reality ends up to be corporatism where one business gets advantage over another. This was something that I witnessed as governor of New Mexico. I'd like to think that I vetoed that kind of legislation. That I was always looking at legislation, business legislation, from the standpoint of having it affect everyone equally as opposed to big business being further advantaged than what they are already are. So I think that so many of these treaties, NAFTA being one, and I can't speak specifically to it, but I think the criticism of NAFTA should be rooted in the fact that big business became even bigger business.” Mar. 25, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, was quoted as stating the following in the Feb. 8, 2008 article "Remarks for Senator Barack Obama: National Gypsum in Lorain, Ohio" on his official candidate website:
"We can't keep passing unfair trade deals like NAFTA that put special interests over workers' interests...
I don't think NAFTA has been good for America -- and I never have. I didn't just start criticizing unfair trade deals like NAFTA because I started running for office -- I'm doing it because I've seen what happens to a community when the factory closes down and the jobs move overseas." Feb. 24, 2008 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: On Oct. 21, 2011, Obama signed the US-Korean Trade Agreement, the US-Panama Trade Agreement, and the US-Colombia Trade Agreement.]
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following in his Sep. 6, 2011 document "Believe in America: Mitt Romney's Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth," available at www.mittromney.com:
"George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton both worked to negotiate and implement the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994... All told, these agreements have enabled people across the world to come together and build a better future. Economists estimate that the agreements have led to the creation of 5.4 million new American jobs and support a total of nearly 18 million jobs. Looking beyond just our FTA partners, our total exports support nearly 10 million American jobs. These are not just jobs; they're good jobs, paying significantly above average, and more than one-third are in manufacturing." June 6, 2011 Mitt Romney
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated the following in a Dec. 21, 2011 Americans Elect email questionnaire, available at www.ontheissues.org:
"The wave of undocumented immigrants [in the US] resulted from the passage of NAFTA, which was as harmful to economies south of our border as it is to our own economy. People have come here who have lost their jobs, who can no longer support their families, particularly as we have destroyed the economy in South America by dumping agricultural products, as developed by NAFTA. That's where the real solution lies - renegotiating these treaties which have been harmful to American workers as much as they've been harmful to workers in other countries." Dec. 21, 2012 Jill Stein
Michele Bachmann, US Representative (R-MN), wrote the following in her article titled "Guest Blogger: Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Free Trade Agreements," posted Oct. 16, 2009 on the Heritage Foundation website blog, The Foundry:
"Free and fair trade agreements help spur economic growth; improve efficiency and innovation; create better, higher-paying jobs for hard-working Americans; and increase the availability of lower-priced products here in the United States. Furthermore, the role of free trade as an expression of liberty and opportunity for all individuals signifies the very principles our country was founded upon." Oct. 16, 2009 Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following during a Feb. 2011 interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC, published on www.jasonpye.com:
"There are parts of NAFTA and CAFTA that I support, but I am sure that there are parts that I don't support... Basically though, I do support free trade agreements that are done correctly, where we don't give away more than we gain. And the reason is because we truly are in a global economy." Feb. 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following during a Mar. 14, 2011 radio interview on the Howie Carr Show, available on YouTube.com:
"I think the fact is that NAFTA enabled us to build jobs in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, in competition with China. I mean, our big competitor is not Mexico. Our big competitor is China and India. And I’d rather have jobs close to the United States than have jobs overseas in places like China and India. That’s why I was in favor of it and I think on balance, look at who our biggest customers are. Our biggest customers are Canada and Mexico. They buy more American products than other countries do. So in a sense, I’d like our neighborhood to be fairly well off and fairly prosperous." Mar. 14, 2011 Newt Gingrich
[Editor's Note: As Speaker of the House, Gingrich voted "Yea" on Nov. 17, 1993 on the passage of HR 3450(1.2 MB), the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act Public Law 103-182.]
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, was quoted as having said the following in an Aug. 20, 2002 article by Jenifer K. Nii titled "Huntsman Touts Bush Trade Pact Legislation," published in the Deseret News:
"[NAFTA is] a success beyond anyone's expectations. It has allowed the average family to save in terms of what they pay for goods, products that would otherwise carry a higher cost.” Aug. 20, 2002 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), introduced H.R. 4759, a bill to provide for the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement, on Mar. 4, 2010. The bill, available at thomas.loc.gov, stated in its entirety:
"To provide for the withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED STATES FROM THE NAFTA.
(a) Withdrawal of Approval- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the approval of the NAFTA by the Congress provided for in section 101(a) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act shall cease to be effective beginning on the date that is six months after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) Notification of Withdrawal- On the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall provide to the Governments of Canada and Mexico written notice of withdrawal of the United States from the NAFTA in accordance with Article 2205 of the NAFTA.
(c) NAFTA Defined- In this section, the term ‘NAFTA’ means the North American Free Trade Agreement entered into between the United States, Canada, and Mexico on December 17, 1992." Mar. 4, 2010 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following in the Nov. 6, 2003 press release "Text of Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks at Texas Luncheon Honoring President Vicente Fox," available at governor.state.tx.us:
"The passage of NAFTA has not validated the claims of zero-sum protectionists who believe every job created abroad comes at the expense of existing jobs at home. Free trade has meant new jobs and opportunities at home and abroad... Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, cross-border trade between the United States and Mexico has grown from a $100 billion industry to a $248 billion industry." Nov. 6, 2003 Rick Perry
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following in an Oct. 25, 2011 article, "Gov. Buddy Roemer Calls for Withdrawal from NAFTA, WTO," available at www.buddyroemer.com:
"We really ought to have learned our lesson about NAFTA by now. It has not been a success, not for us and not for Mexico, which is now losing jobs to China. Ross Perot warned Al Gore in that debate in '93 that there was going to be a giant sucking sound of job loss, and that's exactly what's happened. The same goes for CAFTA in Central America and the others.
These agreements didn't happen because the American people wanted them. They happened because corporate America wanted them and with the campaign-finance system we have now, corporate America can buy whatever it wants in Washington." Oct. 25, 2011 Buddy Roemer
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following in a video interview on Jan. 17, 2012, available at www.shark-tank.net:
Unknown Interviewer: "Can you elaborate more on your statement on NAFTA? You think it’s a good thing?"
Rick Santorum: "Yeah I do. I think we should maintain it. I’m not for getting rid of NAFTA. I think the regional trade area is important to our economy and to our country. We need to be competitive in that context." Jan. 17, 2012 Rick Santorum
[Editor's Note: Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), voted No on Nov. 17, 1993 on the passage of HR 3450(1.2 MB), the North American Free Trade Implementation Act Public Law 103-182. He also made the Not Clearly Pro or Con statement below in the Nov. 11, 1993 Philadelphia Inquirer article “Clinton Needs More Republicans in Battle for Passage of NAFTA.”]
“NAFTA will produce pockets of winners and losers across the country. Our area [Pittsburgh] is unfortunately one of the losers." Nov. 11, 1993 Rick Santorum