Trade Platform

President Obama’s Platform on Trade

Report of the Platform Committee: Renewing America’s Promise
Presented to the 2008 Democratic National Convention by the Platform Standing Committee, August 13, 2008

In the past, with Bill Clinton and a free trade administration in charge, activists have been lucky to get fair trade issues even mentioned in DNC state or national platforms.

The final 2008 DNC platform draft, at over 57 pages, includes more than 3000 words across 24 separate pages on trade and globalization issues. The Obama Agenda describes trade as major tool to leverage enforceable labor and environmental standards, human rights, poverty alleviation, climate control and a dozen other issues.

Highlights and Promises in the 2008 Platform on Trade and Globalization:

  • Articulates a vision that trade policies “are not sustainable if they favor the few rather than the many.”
  • States that trade deals “must not come as blank checks”, and our support will only be “coupled with an insistent call for reform”.
  • Promise to reform key global institutions —including the WTO and the G-8—so they “will be more reflective of 21st century realities.”
  • Specifically states the WTO “must improve transparency and accountability”.
  • Promise that consumer products coming in from other countries “must be truly safe”, with a requirement that the FTC protect vulnerable consumer populations.
  • Promise to enforce trade laws that safeguard workers and farmers “from unfair trade practices–including currency manipulation, lax consumer standards, illegal subsidies, and violations of workers’ rights and environmental standards”.
  • Promise of enforceable international labor and environmental standards.
  • Promise that no future bilateral agreements “will stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications.”
  • Promise to stand firm against bilateral agreements that fail to live up to these benchmarks, with commitment to strive to achieve them in the multilateral framework.
  • Promise to amend NAFTA so that it works better for all three North American countries.
  • Promise to modernize and expand Trade Adjustment Assistance.
  • Promise of a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to create nearly two million new good jobs.
  • Major Focus put on U.S. renewable energy infrastructure investment, especially the use government procurement policies to incentivize job creation.
  • Repeated calls to use trade as a tool to leverage human rights, democracy, economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation.
  • Repeated ties of trade to support for strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, equality for women and minorities, and the rule of law.
  • Promise to address climate change with “binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia.” Promise to promote economic development in migrant-sending nations, to reduce the incentives for immigration