Did both Republicans and Democrats vote for free-trade agreements that led to outsourcing?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
By Jacob Alabab-Moser

While the economic impacts of trade liberalization are widely debated and difficult to measure, critics argue that free-trade agreements have led to the outsourcing of well-paying U.S. jobs to other countries. Three prominent pro-trade actions by Congress were bipartisan, with particularly strong support from Republicans (see vote tallies in the Google Docs file linked below).

The 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been blamed for 600,000 lost U.S. jobs over two decades, and its successor, the 2020 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, entered into force with bipartisan support.

Additionally, a Republican House majority enabled Democratic president Bill Clinton to grant China permanent normal trading privileges in 2000 ahead of the country's ascension to the World Trade Organization. This action helped stimulate greater trade between the U.S. and China, as well as a large U.S. trade deficit, which some believe has led to the loss of 3.7 million U.S. jobs between 2001 and 2018.

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