Strickland Campaign Statement on Portman and NAFTA

In response to Senator Portman’s statement today on NAFTA, Strickland for Senate Spokesman David Bergstein issued the following statement. ABC Columbus reported that Senator Portman stated “NAFTA represents hope, opportunity and economic growth and we need it” and that “it'll create jobs for Americans.”

“Senator Portman is the worst kind of Washington liar and hypocrite -- the kind of pandering politician who will do and say anything to try and help himself. The truth is that Senator Portman didn’t just vote for NAFTA -- and countless other damaging trade deals  -- he’s been the biggest cheerleader in Washington for unfair trade policies that have cost Ohio over 300,000 jobs to places like China and Mexico. Senator Portman’s transparent attempt to re-write his record months before the election is as transparent as it is insulting to the countless Ohioans who lost their jobs because of Senator Portman’s unabashed support for these damaging trade deals.” 

BACKGROUND: PORTMAN’S SUPPORT AND PRAISE FOR NAFTA

ABC Columbus: Portman: “I Rise Today In Support Of NAFTA Because It’ll Create Jobs For Americans.” “‘Madam Chair, I rise today in support of NAFTA because it'll create jobs for Americans,’ said Portman on the House floor in November of 1993. ‘NAFTA represents hope, opportunity and economic growth and we need it.’” [ABC6, 8/8/16]

Portman Argued That NAFTA Gave American Workers An Opportunity To Compete On A Level Playing Field. PORTMAN: “When American workers are given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, they can win. The North American Free Trade Agreement gives us the opportunity to level that playing field and change an unacceptable status quo with Mexico, bringing jobs and economic growth to the nation and the Greater Cincinnati area.” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/14/1993] 

2005: Portman Claimed That NAFTA Was “Incredibly Beneficial To My State Of Ohio And To Our Country.” In a June 2005 press conference, Portman said: “Yes, well, first of all, the name of the agreement -- CAFTA -- is perhaps misleading, because it is not like NAFTA in a number of different respects. I just start by telling you, NAFTA has been incredibly beneficial to my state of Ohio and to our country. And we have added a lot of jobs in this country. In fact, our economic growth since NAFTA was signed has been historic. And you look at what happened in the '80s, what's happened over the last two or three years of our economy coming back, NAFTA has been very good in terms of expanding exports. But this is not NAFTA. This is a very different agreement.” [Office of the United States Trade Representative, Press Conference, 6/9/05] 

2006: Portman Claimed “NAFTA Has Been A Proven Success For Canada, Mexico And The United States.”Tomorrow, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman departs for Mexico to participate in an annual meeting on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He will meet with Mexican Economy Minister Sergio Garcia de Alba and Canadian International Trade Minister David Emerson. ‘The NAFTA has been a proven success for Canada, Mexico and the United States. By reducing barriers to trade and enabling more and better commerce between us, all three of our economies have benefited significantly,’ Portman said.” [Office of the United States Trade Representative, Press Release, 3/22/06]

2008: Portman Defended NAFTA As Having “Created An Enormous Number Of Jobs.” In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace said, “Congressman Portman, let's pick up on trade. Senator McCain is for the NAFTA agreement, you were one of the big supporters of the NAFTA agreement. Isn't that going to be a tough sell to a lot of working-class voters in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, who may feel that NAFTA has cost them jobs?” Portman said, “Well, no, not when it's explained as to what NAFTA's` done. By the way, it's a 14-year-old agreement that Senator Clinton supported previously and President Clinton signed. Exports are one of the few bright spots in our economy right now. It's true in Pennsylvania; it's true in Ohio. Ohio, actually, for the last eight years has led the country in terms of export growth, and it's created an enormous number of jobs, including to Canada, which is our biggest trading partner.” [Fox News, Fox News Sunday, 6/29/08]

2009: Portman Claimed That “If You Look At The Data” From NAFTA, “There Were Millions Of Jobs Created.” “Mr. Portman said NAFTA has been wrongly blamed for the loss of jobs, and that Ohio's export economy has benefited from the opening of trade with Canada, especially. He blamed much of the loss of factory jobs on rising productivity and efficiency. ‘NAFTA became a scapegoat in the politics of trade. It was very easy to point to NAFTA as the reason for all of our problems,’ Mr. Portman said. ‘If you look at the data there were millions of jobs created.’” [Toledo Blade, 1/15/09]

###

Join Team Ted