Edwards Unveils Plan for "Smart and Safe" Trade Policies that Put Workers and Families First

Trade policies would benefit New Hampshire families, not just multinational corporations

Manchester, New Hampshire – Today, Senator John Edwards proposed his plan for “smart and safe” trade policies that will benefit working and middle class families instead of just big multinational corporations.

“Corporation-first trade policies have hit New Hampshire families hard,” said Edwards. “The Granite State has lost over 25,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001, and has suffered the fastest increase in childhood poverty in the nation. We need new trade policies in America that put workers, wages and families first. My main measure of a trade deal is simple – after considering the impact on jobs, wages and prices, will most families be better off?”

Corporation-first trade policies caused Fraser Papers in Berlin to ship its factories to Canada, and have sent thousands of good-paying New Hampshire jobs overseas. Edwards believes our trade policies should give workers a level playing field. As president, he will insist on pro-worker provisions in new deals, hold trade partners to their commitments, invest more in dislocated workers and communities, and ensure that imports are safe. Edwards believes that the U.S. should not enter any new trade deals that do not meet these tests.

Current trade policies include special privileges for corporations, and make it more difficult working Americans to compete in the global economy. As president, Edwards will make sure we have smart and safe trade policies that help families and strengthen our economy. Edwards will:


  • Be a tough negotiator who will reject bad trade deals. Edwards will make sure trade deals help regular families, include strong labor and environmental standards and fight currency manipulation.
  • Demand a level playing field for trade. Edwards will assign top prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice to the job of enforcing trade laws, including the stronger labor and environment standards he will negotiate. He will eliminate tax incentives for corporations to move offshore.
  • Revamp trade assistance to help dislocated workers in communities like Berlin. Edwards will create a new “Training Works” initiative, help communities recover from mass layoffs and strengthen the safety net for workers who lose their jobs.
  • Ensure the safety of imported food and drugs and enforce mandatory country-of-origin labeling, letting families choose the origin of their food. Edwards will also enforce a “zero tolerance” rule and immediately freeze the specific import of any food, toys, medicines, or other goods that threaten the health of our children and families

Edwards believes that in order to ensure that our trade policies and our economy work for regular Americans we need to end the influence of lobbyist money in Washington. He renewed his call for all federal officeholders and candidates from all political parties to join him in refusing to accept any form of campaign donation from federal lobbyists.

For more details on Edwards’ plan for smart and safe trade, please see the Guest Blog.