foreign policy

Would you pursue joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership?

No

No

Some said that it did not meet their standards and that they would not pursue it

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“I voted against fast-track authority and opposed the TPP because it put large corporations before workers, and would have led to the further decline of U.S. manufacturing. I will only support a trade deal that, at its core, is focused on advancing the American worker and working families — creating jobs, lifting wages and boosting environmental standards,” Booker told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

“No. We need a new framework for trade and investment agreements that prioritizes the interests of America's working families, consumers and the environment rather than the interests of multinational corporations,” Gabbard told The Post. “We cannot and will not give up our sovereignty to corporations who want to outsource U.S. manufacturing to increase their profits, with no regard for the impact on working people, our economy and our environment.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“As I’ve long said, I will oppose any trade deal that doesn't look out for the best interests of American workers and raise environmental standards, and unfortunately the TPP didn’t pass either test,” Harris told the Council on Foreign Relations. In the third Democratic debate, Harris said, “my trade policy, under a Harris administration, is always going to be about saying, we need to export American products, not American jobs. And to do that, we have to have a meaningful trade policy. I am not a protectionist Democrat. Look, we need to sell our stuff. And that means we need to sell it to people overseas. That means we need trade policies that allow that to happen.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“I have spent my entire career fighting bad trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP. I am currently opposed to [CPTPP] because it has been negotiated under the cover of darkness, it does nothing to protect American workers or lift the standards of workers abroad and further erodes sovereign protections that countries have to hold companies accountable for bad actions abroad,” Ryan told The Post. “I simply couldn’t support a trade deal that does this much damage.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“No. I helped lead the effort against the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership unfettered trade agreement. The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories,” Sanders told The Post. “We need to fundamentally rewrite our trade policies to benefit American workers, not just the CEOs of large, multinational corporations. Rejoining the TPP would be a betrayal of American workers, and a step in the wrong direction.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I strongly opposed TPP because I thought it was a bad deal for American workers. As president, I will pursue trade deals that set strong standards and prioritize working families here at home, rather than pad the bottom lines of giant multinational corporations with no particular loyalty to America or its people,” Warren told The Post. “Our relationships in Asia are essential for U.S. national security and prosperity. But our partnerships will be strong only if our economic relationships also advance the prosperity of the American people.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“No. The original agreement did not have strong enough protections for the environment and workers,” Williamson told The Post. “I have concerns of loss of U.S. sovereignty by having an international tribunal decide conflicts over trade issues.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Open to joining, if adjusted

Open to joining, if adjusted

Others wanted to see improvements before moving forward

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet “objected to TPP moving forward without a plan for addressing the very real economic pain that American families are feeling from globalization and the changing economy. However, he also doesn't think we should cede to China writing the rules for trade in the Asia-Pacific region as President Trump has done,” a Bennet spokesperson told The Post. Bennet “believes we should be doing the tough work of building coalitions to set standards on our terms and to counter China's unfair trade practices.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“When it comes to trade, either we're going to write the rules of the road for the world or China is — and not in a way that advances our values,” Biden told The Post. “TPP wasn’t perfect but the idea behind it was a good one: to unite countries around high standards for workers, the environment, intellectual property, and transparency, and use our collective weight to curb China’s excesses. Going forward, my focus will be on rallying our friends in both Asia and Europe in setting the rules of the road for the 21st century and joining us to get tough on China and its trade and technology abuses. ... I would not sign any new trade deal until we have made major investments in our workers and infrastructure. Nor would I sign a deal that does not include representatives for labor and the environment at the negotiating table, and strong protections for our workers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“It’s wrong to enter into trade agreements that don’t require high labor standards, leverage improved environmental conservation and aren’t accompanied by significant efforts for American workers who are adversely impacted by trade,” Bullock told The Post. “By those standards — I wouldn’t have entered the TPP as it was written. Before rejoining, I would seek enforceable environmental and labor standards, and wouldn’t present TPP absent a clear analysis on the impact to workers, and proposals to mitigate that impact.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“As president, [O’Rourke] would ensure that any trade agreement put forth puts American workers, farmers and consumers first,” an O’Rourke spokesperson told The Post. “He would insist on strong labor and environmental standards and a much stronger enforcement framework than we have previously had in place. [O’Rourke] would make it a priority to work with our allies in the region, including Japan and South Korea, to put pressure on China to engage in fair trade and currency practices.” O'Rourke voted for fast-track authority for President Barack Obama to negotiate trade deals in 2015.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“Yes, provided new safeguards are put in place regarding intellectual property, environmental standards and corporate influence,” Sestak told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“I would reenter the TPP in conjunction with policies to ensure the benefits are widely shared, like a VAT, border-adjustment tax, and the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income of $1,000/month for all American adults,” Yang told the Council on Foreign Relations.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Yes

Yes

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“I would seek to reenter the TPP on Day One of my administration,” Delaney told the Council on Foreign Relations.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

CPTPP “currently lacks critical provisions on labor, environment and the digital economy, and does not align closely enough with the needs and interests of American workers,” Buttigieg told The Post. “But America also should not surrender the world’s fastest-growing markets in Asia to other countries. We can move forward only if we restore trust with Americans, including those left behind by trade deal after trade deal, despite being promised that a rising tide would lift all boats.” The campaign did not clarify his position before publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“I believe that the American worker should always come first,” Castro told New York Magazine. “I also don’t think that we should summarily say no to striking trade agreements if they make sense for workers and for American business.” He did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar did not answer this question by publication. She voted against fast-track authority for President Barack Obama to negotiate trade deals in 2015.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not answer this question by publication.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background President Barack Obama negotiated a new trade pact between 12 North American and Asian Pacific countries in the final years of his tenure, arguing that the accord would increase U.S. exports and create an economic alliance to contain China’s expansion. But the deal faced a difficult path in Congress, with many progressives arguing that it would hurt American workers and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton opposing it during her 2016 campaign. President Trump withdrew the United States from the plan, and the remaining 11 signatories moved forward without U.S. participation, signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership in March 2018.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. foreign policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role, and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports and surveys. See something we missed? Let us know.

We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president and excluded any who had left the race. The Post will contact any additional candidates as they enter the contest and include them here.

Curious about where candidates stand on another policy? Fill out this suggestion form.