Even after two years of President Donald Trump’s pitched assault on trade agreements, and his imposition of wide-ranging tariffs, trade is not a top subject of public debate. According to the Pew Research Center, global trade ranks lowest among major policy priorities for Americans in 2019.
So it comes as no surprise that trade is at best a third-tier subject for nearly all the Democrats who are vying for the 2020 presidential nomination. Instead, health care, college tuition, inequality, and taxes lead their agendas. Yet the next president’s stance on trade will serve as a foundation for America’s relationship with other nations and its leadership of the global economy, if a post-Trump era commences in 2021. For that reason, it’s useful to know where Democratic candidates stand on crucial trade issues, even though these are early days in the presidential campaign.
The table below summarizes the announced positions (if any) of 15 declared candidates and 8 undeclared candidates (including Howard Schultz, a possible Independent candidate) on the following issues: the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), China (Section 301 tariffs), Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, and sundry other trade matters. The table draws on secondary information sources such as interviews, news articles, and social media. Based on these reports, candidates are categorized as pro-trade, anti-trade, or mixed or no position on trade.
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