In the context of opposing the U.S. - Peru FTA, John Edwards said the following:
I believe we need to follow four principles to make sure that globalization works for everyone, starting right here at home.
First, our multilateral and bilateral trade deals and unilateral trade preferences must help America. They must benefit American workers and their communities. This means they must:
- Stick to trade and not meddle with our domestic Buy America laws, our nation's investment policies, and our food safety and health laws;
- Have at their core strong protections for the global environment and basic labor standards, such as prohibiting sweatshops and child labor and protecting the right of workers to join unions; and
- Include prohibitions against illegal subsidies and currency manipulation and other trade cheating of the sort that is in fact encouraged under most of our current trade deals.
Second, our trade policies must also lift up workers around the world. Making sure that workers around the globe are treated fairly and share in the gains of trade is the right thing to do morally, it's the right thing to do economically, and it will make us here in America safer and more secure. We can never again condone trade agreements with countries where there is violence against workers or they are denied just wages and working conditions.
Third, we must understand in negotiating trade agreements that "one size does not fit all". We need to be realistic about global differences in form of government, in the rule of law, in the relative state of countries' economies, and in the day-to-day trade and business practices of potential trading partners. How utterly foolish is it that we treat China with its massive controlled and manipulated economy, Mexico with its porous three thousand mile-long border with the U.S., and developing countries in South America and Africa, as all the same when it comes to trade?
Fourth, our trade deals must be fairly and fully administered. For free trade to be fair, it must be based on rules, and then those rules must be followed. The top prosecutors at the Department of Justice should be responsible for enforcing our trade agreements, and when I am president I will insist that they prosecute all cases of illegal foreign subsidies, currency manipulation, and unfair trade practices.
There are a few points in there that I don't understand.
First, how can we both "stick to trade" and "not meddle with our domestic Buy America laws"? What could be more trade related than discriminating against foreign products in government purchasing?
Second, why should we "not meddle with" investment policies and food safety and health laws, but include "core strong protections" (i.e., meddle with) environment and labor policies?
Third, with regard to not having trade agreements "with countries where there is violence against workers or they are denied just wages and working conditions," which countries would be included in this category?
Fourth, why are the "the top prosecutors at the Department of Justice" preferable to the trade experts at USTR, the ITC and the DOC?