From the transcript (nothing really new here, but I'll post it anyway):
By the way, when Sen. Obama said he would unilaterally renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Canadians said, "Yes, and we'll sell our oil to China."
You don't tell countries you're going to unilaterally renegotiate agreements with them.
Now I just want to make one last point because Sen. McCain mentioned NAFTA and the issue of trade and that actually bears on this issue. I believe in free trade. But I also believe that for far too long, certainly during the course of the Bush administration with the support of Sen. McCain, the attitude has been that any trade agreement is a good trade agreement. And NAFTA doesn't have -- did not have enforceable labor agreements and environmental agreements.
And what I said was we should include those and make them enforceable. In the same way that we should enforce rules against China manipulating its currency to make our exports more expensive and their exports to us cheaper.
And when it comes to South Korea, we've got a trade agreement up right now, they are sending hundreds of thousands of South Korean cars into the United States. That's all good. We can only get 4,000 to 5,000 into South Korea. That is not free trade. We've got to have a president who is going to be advocating on behalf of American businesses and American workers and I make no apology for that.
Now, on the subject of free trade agreements. I am a free trader. And I need -- we need to have education and training programs for displaced workers that work, going to our community colleges.
But let me give you another example of a free trade agreement that Sen. Obama opposes. Right now, because of previous agreements, some made by President Clinton, the goods and products that we send to Colombia, which is our largest agricultural importer of our products, is -- there's a billion dollars that we -- our businesses have paid so far in order to get our goods in there.
Because of previous agreements, their goods and products come into our country for free. So Sen. Obama, who has never traveled south of our border, opposes the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. The same country that's helping us try to stop the flow of drugs into our country that's killing young Americans.
And also the country that just freed three Americans that will help us create jobs in America because they will be a market for our goods and products without having to pay -- without us having to pay the billions of dollars -- the billion dollars and more that we've already paid.
Free trade with Colombia is something that's a no-brainer. But maybe you ought to travel down there and visit them and maybe you could understand it a lot better.
Obama: Let me respond. Actually, I understand it pretty well. The history in Colombia right now is that labor leaders have been targeted for assassination on a fairly consistent basis and there have not been prosecutions.
And what I have said, because the free trade -- the trade agreement itself does have labor and environmental protections, but we have to stand for human rights and we have to make sure that violence isn't being perpetrated against workers who are just trying to organize for their rights, which is why, for example, I supported the Peruvian Free Trade Agreement which was a well-structured agreement.
But I think that the important point is we've got to have a president who understands the benefits of free trade but also is going to enforce unfair trade agreements and is going to stand up to other countries.
McCain: Well, let me just said that that this is -- he -- Sen. Obama doesn't want a free trade agreement with our best ally in the region but wants to sit down across the table without precondition to -- with Hugo Chavez, the guy who has been helping FARC, the terrorist organization.
Free trade between ourselves and Colombia, I just recited to you the benefits of concluding that agreement, a billion dollars of American dollars that could have gone to creating jobs and businesses in the United States, opening up those markets.
So I don't -- I don't think there's any doubt that Sen. Obama wants to restrict trade and he wants to raise taxes. And the last president of the United States that tried that was Herbert Hoover, and we went from a deep recession into a depression.
I admire McCain's determination to support free trade, although I do wonder whether he thinks this is a good way to pick up votes. Free trade is not really very popular these days.
I'm also curious to hear what McCain thinks of the provisions in FTAs that do not deal with tariffs (e.g., investment and IP). I've never heard him mention those.