Mitt Romney on Trade Policy

Last Updated : Jul 13, 2012


Governor Romney is a free trade supporter. He supports free trade programs such as NAFTA and CAFTA. However, in 2007, Governor Romney stated that he opposed unification of the US, Mexico, and Canada into the North American Union and the North American Superhighway.

In July of 2007, Governor Romney stated that emerging markets such as India and China represented new areas for our goods, as long as our trade laws were fair and balanced. In February of 2011, he followed up these statements by asserting that US trade policies with China had not been beneficial for the US and that stronger intellectual property polices should be pursued.

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Governor Romney asserted that his business experience would give him an edge as President in understanding the effects of trade policies on the US economy. He stated his support for free trade and noted that the average US family was $9,000 richer as a result of international trade. Governor Perry also proposed the creation of a new organization which would be similar to the World Trade Organization, but which would hold members to a higher standard. These standards would include an adherence to intellectual property rights and an allowing the currency value of a nation to float with the market and not be regulated by the government.

Governor Romney has also stated that nations that enact protectionist tariffs and policies eventually crumble. His 2012 campaign website states that access to foreign markets is crucial to growing the US economy, and that the US should follow through on commitments we have already made and push aggressively for advantageous new agreements.

2012 Trade Plan

Free trade is featured prominently in Governor Romney's 2012 economic plan and he asserts that open markets have helped to make America powerful and prosperous. The trade portion of Governor Romney's plan begins by being critical of President Obama's actions while in office. Governor Romney asserts that President Obama has refused to pass free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea because he is hoping to get a Trade Adjustment Assistance passed as well. The TAA would pay for re-eduction and training for workers who lose their jobs due to trade, and Governor Romney states that the trade policies would actually create new jobs for people.

If elected President, Romney's plan states that he would sign the pending deals with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama and seek new trade deals with countries like India and Brazil. To accomplish this, Governor Romney will seek Trade Promotion Authority. Also known as “Fast Track” TPA is a process that gives the executive branch the authority to negotiate and write trade agreements and delegates away Congress’ constitutional power to set the terms of U.S. trade policy. Congress then gets an up and down vote on the trade agreement and not the ability to craft it. Governor Romney states in his plan that allowing every congressman to add sections that favor their own special interests creates a situation where no agreement can ever be finalized. This TPA was used under President George W Bush and was sought by President Obama.

Governor Romney's plan also calls for finalizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement will open up the Malaysian and Vietnamese markets.

A final facet of Governor Romney's plan includes the creation of a "Reagan Economic Zone." This zone would codify the principles of free trade at the international level and allow a mechanism for countries that violate free trade policies to be punished.


Glenn Beck Appearance

In April of 2007 Governor Romney appeared on the Glenn Beck program and was asked about a possible North American Union. Governor Romney stated his opposition to such an idea, and to the North American superhighway.


Bloomberg Questionnaire

In July of 2007, Governor Romney was asked about the affects of emerging markets such as China and India as part of a Bloomberg questionnaire. He stated that with free and fair trade, the US could still compete.


Michigan Debate

In October of 2007, Governor Romney participated in a Presidential debate in Dearborn, Michigan. He stated that he supported free trade policies.


Higher Standard WTO

In November of 2007, Governor Romney released a trade proposal in which he called for a new organization similar to the World Trade Organization (WTO), but with a higher standard for protecting U.S. intellectual property rights and require that their currencies float at market rates.


Des Moines Register Debate

In December of 2007, Governor Romney participated in the Republican Presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa. He stated that his business sector experience gave him an understanding of how trade affects Americans.


CNBC Appearance

In December of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on CNBC and was interviewed by Larry Kudlow. He stated that putting up barriers to free trade and enacting other protectionist measures would ultimately lead to a decline in the US economy.


Laura Ingraham Show

In February of 2011, Governor Romney appeared on the Laura Ingraham show and spoke about the emergence of China and our trade policies relative to that nation.


Believe in America Plan

On September 6, 2011 Governor Romney proposed his economic plan, which he callled the Believe in America Plan. One of the main facets of his plan was increasing free trade and obtaining new free trade agreements.


2012 Campaign Website Statements



[1] Website: CNBC Article: Romney Calls for 'Higher-Standard' WTO Author: Julia La Roche Accessed on: 06/24/2011

[2] Website: MSNBC Article: Romney releases free-trade proposal Author: AP Accessed on: 06/24/2011

[3] Website: The Hill Article: Romney: China represents 'threat' to world Author: Michael O'Brien Accessed on: 06/24/2011

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