Congressional candidate Jim Evans says the nation’s trade policies have resulted in fewer jobs, added debt and give more leverage to partnering countries.
Evans, a Democrat who is seeking the nomination for Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, says the U.S. needs a more balanced trade approach in how much it gives and how much it receives.
“When you make an agreement with somebody, don’t you like for it to be two-way? Or do you want all the benefits to go to the other guy and hardly any of the benefits to go to you? And that’s what we’ve seen with our trade agreements,” Evans said.
Speaking before about a dozen spectators Wednesday evening at the DoubleTree Hotel in Springfield, Evans railed against the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA), among other policies. He said certain trade agreements have empowered international corporations to force concessions of communities, which are eroding economies.
“They [corporations] go before the communities and they say ‘Give us tax breaks or we’re going to leave.’ They go before their workers and say ‘Take a wage cut, or we’re gonna pull out or go somewhere else.’”
Earlier this month, Evans won the Democratic nomination over Genevieve Williams. This will be his second run at the congressional office – in which he received just over 30 percent of the vote in 2012 - and the second time he’ll be challenging Republican Billy Long.
The incumbent lawmaker, who was invited to Wednesday’s discussion, was not in attendance. A request for comment through Long’s office on the trade topic was not provided.
Kevin Craig, who faced no opposition in the August primary, is the Libertarian candidate for Missouri's 7th Congressional District.
Evans believes that big businesses like Wal-Mart are forcing smaller retail firms out of business. He adds that these companies are “importing desperation” because of manufacturing agreements overseas where impoverished citizens there work for low wages.
He warned against “auctioning off this country,” referring to trade deals that give too much ownership to foreign corporations. Evans used the 2013 purchase of Smithfield Foods by a Chinese company as an example. The China firm, WH Group, owns 50,000 acres of Missouri farmland.
“They’re now the largest pork producer in the world, and the largest pork producer in the United States and the largest pork producer in Missouri. A Chinese company. Where did they get all that money? Because of our bad trade deals.”
Evans says he will fight to address the nation’s “wrongheaded” trade policies.
The discussion Wednesday by Evans is one of several the Democratic candidate plans to conduct in the coming weeks. His next event will take place in Mt. Vernon, and is expected to cover topics affecting the community like veterans care and healthcare. A date has not yet been scheduled.