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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Comcast Take on Murdoch with Bid for Sky; German Car Industry Rattled by Diesel Ban; Powell Faces First Capitol Hill Hearing as Fed Chair; Olympic Curling Champion Goes Back to Work. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 27, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST: That sound, my friends, marks the end of yet another trading day on Wall Street. And the big news, the big news out
of Washington with the brand-new Fed chair, Jerome Powell, testified on Capitol Hill. The beginning of the day the markets were in the green. We
got some reassuring words from him and then take a look at this. We began to slip quite dramatically. Down about 300 points after he intimated that
a stronger economy could -- and I emphasized word could -- could indeed lead to a faster pace of interest rate hikes.
My friends, it is Tuesday the 27th of February. Tonight, a last-minute reach for the Sky. Comcast tries to beat Rupert Murdoch. They mastered
the media merger. And German automakers are left stuttering by the plan to ban diesel cars. And welcome to the hot seat my friend. Jerome Powell
gets his first grilling as Fed chair.
Hello everyone, I'm Zain Asher and this, my friend, is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.
All right. Welcome, everybody. I'm Zain Asher. Tonight, Rupert Murdoch's unsuccessful campaign to take control of Sky may have been thwarted by a
major rival. Of course, I'm talking about Comcast, the media giant run by Brian Roberts, has just made a brand-new offer to buy Sky right. In fact,
he steals Sky right from under Fox's nose. How will Fox react to this news is yet to be seen. But Sky investors are sadly pleased by all the extra
attention from Comcast. Take a look at this. Shares of Sky rocketed. When I say rocketed I really mean rocketed. Rocketed in London up more
than 20 percent.
The Comcast CEO said that he was inspired, get this, to make the bid after hearing a London taxi cab driver enthused and praised Sky's service. There
are several reasons why media giants like Comcast, Fox and Disney all want Sky to be their final destination. It's been seen -- a few reasons here --
it's been seen as a gateway to major European markets like the U.K., Germany and Italy. Sky also owns lucrative English Premier League rights
for which ratings are super high for. This is ratings gold and actually cost them a lot less than many had expected. And Sky's user experience has
also been hailed by both Comcast and Disney chief executives. And also, apparently, British taxicab drivers as well. Brian Stelter is here now.
So, Brian, the big question is how is Fox going to react to this? Could we actually end up seeing some type of bidding war? What are your thoughts?
BRIAN STELTER, CNNMONEY SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: It looks like it. Comcast is willing to pay $4 billion U.S. more than Fox, and at the moment,
Fox is saying it is sticking with its offer. Let's see what tomorrow brings though. Fox is in the middle of a deal with Disney. Of course,
Disney, Bob Iger is buying most of Fox's assets. Iger expected Sky to be a part of that package. So, I'm curious to see what Disney is going to do
ASHER: Would it be pointless for them to buy it without Sky?
STELTER: There are a lot of other reasons why Disney wants these Fox assets. It wants the movie studios. It wants the cable channels. But the
price would have to be different, obviously, without Sky. And partly what Disney is trying to buy is that global reach, that opportunity for
international expansion that Sky provides. So, this will affect the Disney/Fox deal if Comcast is successful. It's a big if though right now.
Comcast's stock was down today about 5 percent. Apparently, some shareholders are not big fans of this deal. Brian Roberts has to do more
to sell this idea. But he is trying to expand Comcast from being mostly a U.S. company that provides cable into a global player.
ASHER: So, it's the perfect way to do that.
STELTER: It's a very logical --
ASHER: It's an international gateway.
STELTER: It's a launchpad, and you have to look at this the way these moguls think. Rupert Murdoch, Bob Iger and Brian Roberts, they're all
thinking about Facebook and Google and Amazon. They're thinking about the technology giants that they're up against. So, they all believe they need
more scale. Rupert Murdoch has chosen to sell to Bob Iger partly for that reason. Kind of take himself off the table and just keeping with Fox News
and Fox Sports. Iger is trying to grow in a big way by trying by buying these Fox assets. Now you see Brian Roberts who also wanted to buy the Fox
assets, instead trying to take over Sky.
ASHER: So, it's interesting because one of the reasons, as you know, why it has been so difficult for Fox to get his hands or take full control of
Sky is really because of its baggage. That's part of the reason.
ASHER: Comcast, obviously, doesn't have the same baggage so what are the chances of this deal actually being approved from their end in terms of
STELTER: It's complicated. The regulatory environment certainly is complicated in the U.K. But Comcast has studied it and Brian Roberts was
there in London today beginning to make his pitch to try to win this for Comcast. He's been unsuccessful in several other deals. 15 years ago, he
tried to buy Disney, five years ago he tried to buy Time Warner Cable, and recently he tried to buy the Fox assets and Disney beat him to it.
[16:05:00] So, Brian Roberts has a lot on the line here trying to take over Sky, trying to grow Comcast. And on paper it does make a lot of sense.
However, like I said, the stock is down today, some Comcast investors are not too interested in this deal, and it remains to be seen what the
regulatory environment is like for Comcast. We know how hard it's been for Rupert Murdoch.
ASHER: Yes, so, it's interesting because also, when you think about Disney, they've got their fingers in so many different pies right now. A
lot of people are talking about this $2 billion investment Disney is making in theme parks. They're trying desperately to figure out a way to compete
with Netflix. Just walk us through how this fits into its broader mix in terms of its broader goals?
STELTER: Yes, you have these media moguls doing battle with each other trying to one up each other. There are billionaire egos on the line,
right? So, Brian Roberts trying to one up Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch and at the same time all of them are in this competition against Netflix and
Google and Facebook and the other tech giants. So, in some ways they have similar, shared interests even as they're battling on a daily basis. They
are all trying to figure out how to compete against the Netflix's and Googles of the world.
And Disney is trying to do that by launching streaming services. Comcast is trying to do that by going global. You see this intense battle, this
intense focus on trying to figure out how to compete in a world where, you know, Fox looks big on paper. Comcast looks big on paper until you compare
it to Amazon and Facebook and Google and then they look like minnows in the ocean.
ASHER: This changing media landscape that you always report on so well. Brian Stelter, I appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much.
On to another story that we are following. Germany's top court has ruled cities, get this, cities actually in that country have the right to ban
diesel vehicles from their streets. The court ruled that the cities in Stuttgart and Dusseldorf which has one of the most polluted air in Europe
can actually implement limited bans. This is what the court just ruled. German carmakers though are fighting back. Volkswagen says the decision
threatens to create a hodgepodge of regulation. They believe it's going to create a nightmare. The German environment minister says carmakers should
be held responsible but warned the ban will indeed take time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA HENDRICKS, GERMAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER (through translator): That does not mean that bans will be put in place overnight. My goal is and
remains that bans will never need to be implemented because we can manage to clean the air through other means.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: German environment minister speaking there. I want to bring in Atika Shubert whose life for us in Berlin. So, Atika, this ruling is of
course, monumental. What will be the broader implication for car manufacturers in Germany especially the impact on the German economy?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really hastens the end of diesel in many ways here in the very land that invented diesel.
I mean, what it means essentially is that Stuttgart and Dusseldorf specifically but also, other cities like Munich and Hamburg will now be
held responsible for whether or not to install these diesel bans of diesel cars, specifically older diesel cars. And the reason for this is because
the EU has said that 26 different cities and towns across Germany are in violation of the legal limit of nitrous oxide and fine particular matter
which according to the EU causes the premature deaths of as many as 400,000 people a year. And so, as a result of that now mayors have to figure out
some way to get those levels down. And one way would be a diesel ban, but as you can imagine, that would be very disruptive in a country where almost
50 percent of the cars in the road are diesel.
ASHER: When you think about the cost, Atika, you mentioned that 50 percent of the cars on the road are diesel. When you think about the cost of
refitting these cars could actually end up costing $8 billion or more. I'm just curious, is there any chance whatsoever that taxpayers could actually
end up sharing some of that burden?
SHUBERT: Oh, I think it's likely that's going to be something of the case. I mean, as it is it's not just, you know, one car company. Volkswagen may
have started all of this with its admission that it was (INAUDIBLE) California, but it's affecting all of the different car companies. So now
what we're seeing is that, you know, all the different cities are being affected by this and mayors and cities are figuring out how are we going to
pay for the repercussion? So, eventually it is likely to trickle down to the taxpayer which is why this has become such a political hot potato.
Nobody wants to be the one to ban diesel cars and have taxpayers end up paying for.
ASHER: All right, Atika Shubert, live for us there. Appreciate that, thank you so much.
[16:10:00] Let's talk about the effect on all of this on the markets, specifically what shares of German car companies actually did after this
court ruling. Let's take a look here. You can actually see that Volkswagen is down about 2 percent. Audi also is down about 1 1/4 percent,
Daimler, BMW as well. The effect was a little bit more muted. So, the question is could there indeed be a knock-on effect of this ruling when it
comes to how diesel cars are treated on the entire content. After all, Europe is actually known for diesel cars.
Seven in ten of diesel cars sold around the world are sold in Europe. That's because policymakers have viewed them as being more efficient and
also better for the environment than petrol-powered cars. But as you know, the recent diesel emission scandals and also concerns about the effect of
nitrous oxides of human health have actually reversed all of that thinking. In fact -- take a look here -- fewer than half of all brand-new car sales
in the EU -- and this is in 2016, by the way -- fewer than half of them were diesel, the other half with gasoline. And actually, diesel actually
still dominates a large number when it comes to larger vehicles like trucks and vans as well.
So, joining me now is Axel Friedrich who is an international transport adviser. Axel, thank you so much for being with us. My question to you is
just walk us through how this ban would actually work. Just the practical way you would implement a ban on diesel cars in certain cities in Germany,
how would that work?
AXEL FRIEDRICH, INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT ADVISER: We have many things in Europe. The limit for air quality for nitrous oxide is 40 -- exceeded by
far. The biggest exceeds 80 milligrams which means two times above the limit which was set by the European Union. And of course, you can take
action, but most of this concentration is caused by diesel passenger cars and light-duty trucks. Because the manufacture cheated not only Volkswagen
but also others as well. And therefore, cities had to take actions.
Of course, they don't want to do it that's the reason we went to court and sued the cities, the states and therefore we got the rules by the court.
Which decided cities have to take any actions they can do to meet the standard as soon as possible and as soon as possible was 2015. And now we
are really unhappy about what happened, and there was a rule to have to include all of the ban of diesel cars and light-duty trucks. This was the
situation. We have rules in Munich and Hamburg, and Stuttgart and Dusseldorf and the states went to the highest accusation court for revision
and the revision was today by the court protected. This mean the cities have to take an account any action including the ban of diesel cars, lowest
ASHER: OK. When you talk about forcing the cities to basically take action, I mean, your goal is really at the end of the day to improve air
quality in Germany. Banning diesel cars from certain cities is just one step, one step of many. I mean, there are obviously, other things that
also need to be done. For example, improving public transportation, that sort of thing. Where do you go from here when it comes to improving air
quality in Germany?
FRIEDRICH: If you want to reduce this high concentration, the law is the limit, you have to take many actions. But the biggest part is of course,
passenger cars and therefore about 70 percent of this high concentration is caused by passenger cars. And you can ban it, or you can retrofit the
hardware. Retrofit which can reduce and concentration in the excess by more than 90 percent, but of course, it costs money. And the political
parties in Germany is OK, this is caused by the car industry and they have to pay for it. And car industry doesn't want to do it. That is the
problem. Of course, you have to make retrofit on busses because all of the busses have high pollution levels. And of course, you have to improve
public transport, bicycle, traffic and many other things, but the biggest one is they have to improve the diesel petrol car either by banning or by
improving the hardware retrofit.
ASHER: OK. Do you actually believe that as a result of this particular ruling in German cities we're likely to see other European cities follow
suit, as well?
FRIEDRICH: Of course, it is not only the German cities which exceeds the air quality standards. Many cities in Europe and the EU commission is
starting to take action, and against the European countries. And therefore, they have to take action otherwise the European commission takes
this country to the European Court of Justice and therefore, it's very likely that we create a blueprint in Germany for rest of Europe.
ASHER: All right Axel Friedrich, thank you very much. Appreciate you being with us.
I have some news to bring you. Sources are telling CNN that some White House aides including president Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have had
their security clearance downgraded. Kushner, a senior adviser to the President, was using an interim clearance more than a year after the
administration -- after he took office. We will have -- he will now have secret access instead of top-secret. So, his security clearance has been
downgraded. A source told CNN that Kushner has accepted the decision and will not ask the President for an exception.
[16:15:00] All right, still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, horror and danger in the search for a better life. CNN goes undercover in Nigeria
to expose the shocking, the utterly shocking and outrageous treatment of some refugee headed to Europe. That story next.
QUEST: Welcome back, everybody. Tonight, exclusive reporting from CNN shows the brutal reality of the human trafficking trade. Last year CNN
actually went undercover as African migrants were auctioned off in Libya for mere hundreds of U.S. dollars. That report sparked international
outrage. There were protests all around the world. And at one of the world's most despicable industries, slavery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big, strong boys for farm work, he says. 400. 700. 700. 800. The numbers roll in. These men are sold for 1200 Libyan
pounds, $400 apiece.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: After CNN aired those images, leaders across the world promised action and now new reporting shows that human lives are still changing
hands for the cost of a laptop or a mere watch. CNN's Nima Elbagir, producer Lillian Leposo and Hassan John, and photographer Nick Negret (ph),
went undercover in Nigeria. I want you to watch their exclusive report.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An unsavory neighborhood in Edo state. Edo is Nigeria's main smuggling hub
where traffickers apply their trade openly. We're hoping this man will agree to traffic us to Europe.
Evakay, as he calls himself, is a broker, known locally as a pusher man he is one of an army of traffickers working with smugglers on the Nigeria end
of the migrant route to Europe. He tells our producer he can do it for 500,000 naira, that's just under $1400 each. The money is due on arrival
in Libya. He warns us not to waste his time.
EVAKAY, TRAFFICKER (through translator): Let's not play here and be unserious about this. I've been in this business for a long time.
ELBAGIR: We're told to go back to the hotel. We test our undercover cameras and wait. Finally, we are told to move to the location, Ouchy, in
the north of Edo state. Tonight, Evakay is working out of a local hotel that doubles as a brothel.
[16:20:00] Inside the brothel, we are told to wait. We don t know what we are waiting for. Utterly unprepared, but all of a sudden, we are on the
move. Our journey to Europe is under way. We move to the local bus depot where we are told we will be put on a bus heading north, but first, Evakay
wants to know if I have everything I need.
EVAKAY: Like, what do you call it. Nigerian say here, they have a "Gold Circle" here, (meaning condoms). We have "Kiss", you know "Kiss"? We have
"Kiss" here. You just have it in your bag, for the journey. In your bag.
ELBAGIR (on camera): So, we can't travel without the contraception?
EVAKAY: We can get them for you, you're not paying will give them to you.
ELBAGIR: As part of.
EVAKAY: Yes, as part of the journey.
ELBAGIR: Part of the journey you'll get it for us. Because the women are abused? What happens? The women are abused on the trip?
EVAKAY: In Libya.
ELBAGIR: In Libya? What happens? They get pregnant?
EVAKAY: That's why I was telling you to have those things. It's not a guarantee. Sometimes we have to meet one of them, like say somebody asks.
You know what that means. Don't tell me you don't know what I'm saying.
ELBAGIR: Yes, I understand.
(voice-over): Taking me aside Evakay repeats again, condoms. Don't struggle if you're raped and ultimately trust in god. With that, we board
the overnight bus to the north, the doors locked behind us. From here begins the journey into the unknown. A journey that promises a litany of
horrors, rape, trafficking, slavery. Once we are sure the bus has moved out of Evakay's sight we jump off. We, at least, are safe.
(on camera): So, if we had stayed on that bus, we would be on our way to Kanu now in the north of Nigeria, some time the middle of the day, 2:00,
3:00 in the afternoon tomorrow we would be arriving from Kanu. From Kanu somebody would have been waiting to take us on the next leg of the journey
to Agadez, and from Agadez through to Libya. And, in theory, on arrival in Libya that's when the brokers get paid.
It is incredible that it is so public. It's incredible that it is so brazen that they're using public transport to start this leg of the
journey. This is the most trafficked through destination in Africa. It is the main departure point for so much of these smuggling routes. And yet,
these brokers are able to apply their trade so openly and to think that as a woman, they would expect me to be carrying contraception. They would
expect me to have made my peace with the fact that it almost every leg of this journey I would be assaulted and raped and abused. It is unimaginable
that people are willing to take these risks to make it to Europe.
(voice-over): In the end, it was easier even that we could possibly have imagined. CNN has passed on the evidence we have uncovered to the Nigerian
authorities. What we experienced was just the beginning of the nightmare. Hopefully, the Nigerian government will be able to stop any more young
women from being lured with the false dream of a new life.
ASHER: In response to CNN's investigation, the Edo state, Attorney General, actually told CNN, let me read for you his quote here.
We are actively involved in an investigation and have commenced several prosecutions. We will actively investigate and prosecute any trafficker.
Trafficking in Edo is neither solely about economic issues nor underdevelopment, but has deep cultural roots that must be exposed,
examined and pulled out.
Nima Elbagir joins me live now. So, Nima, obviously the part that gets everybody when they watch your piece is really this idea that when you are
raped don't struggle. This man on the surface he was selling you a beautiful dream of going to Europe, but in reality, he knew that what he
was selling you was much, much darker than that. Do you have faith? You've spent time in Nigeria. That is where my family is originally from.
Do you have faith that the Nigerian government will deal with this?
[16:25:00] ELBAGIR: I would like to think that there are people there who care enough. I've met some of them. The Edo state attorney general, she
actually is someone who has been working on this for quite some time. But whether the infrastructure and the resources are there, that's the
question. Whether the support is there. You are talking about an industry that is worth billions of dollars a year. $63 billion last year alone and
snakes from one end of the continent to the other and is extremely well coordinated. The way that the money is dropped off is sent through once
you are in Libya. They use bank accounts. They use money transfer services. How can one country, especially if the state is impoverished as
Edo and let alone the whole of Nigeria tackled this on its own.
ASHER: You know, a lot of people are still sold this -- I would say false idea that a life in Europe is so great, so much better than staying where
you are. Do you believe that if people genuinely understood the horrors of that journey to Europe, be it Italy or elsewhere, do you actually believe
that they would still think that a life in Europe was worth the risk?
ELBAGIR: Because it's what they're leaving. Whether those leaving from Eritrea who are leaving a regime that is forcing them to life-long
conscription, or the extraordinary poverty that I saw down there in Edo. One of the young men who we interviewed when he was freed from slavery in
Libya. We went back to see him. He's not even living in the same home with his family. Because if he lives with his mother and his younger
siblings then they can't all afford to eat. So, imagine making that choice. And then imagine a choice in which being enslaved, being raped,
being sold into prostitution because that's what this is.
That man, when he was giving me condoms, those condoms weren't for my protection. Those condoms were to offer up to customers in the brothels on
route. So, they are making money from you when you give them the money for the ticket. They're making money when you arrive to Libya and your sold
into slavery. And they're making money from the customers in the brothels on route to Europe. This is a system. This a business model. They're
squeezing every last penny out of these people.
ASHER: I think what breaks my heart the most is that a country who is so rich, really so rich when it comes to resources, whether there is so much
money, there is so much money in Nigeria. People who are in the lower income levels still feel the need, as you say, to travel to Europe when
they know what potentially could wait them at the other side. That is heartbreaking. The Nigerian government, when they see this what can they
actually do to make sure that the country's wealth actually trickles down to the poor people in society?
ELBAGIR: You have to start at the very beginning. You have to start investment in infrastructure, investment in education, but beyond that you
also have an equality of the right to dream. These are young people who believe that they don't have the right to aspire in the way that those from
more privileged backgrounds do. And that is where you have a lot of aid organizations and activist groups talking about a dignified safe passage to
Europe. These young people shouldn't have their dreams weaponized and used against them. Because that's what happens when you are sitting on the
stoop outside of your house or you're coming out of the job that earns you dollars a day, and somebody comes up to you and says to you, I can sponsor
you. I can fund your dream of Europe. There needs to be a better way, otherwise we have to accept that there is complicity from all of us who
stand by and watch this.
ASHER: You know I was born and raised in London, and it's so interesting that there are two Nigerias. I was born and raised in London and there are
so many Nigerians who I grew up with who are desperate to go to Nigeria. They believe that there is a better life back home in Nigeria. And then
you have this other part of Nigerian society who believes just the opposite and they're willing to risk their life and even risk death for false
promises. It breaks my heart. Nima Elbagir, thank you so much for that amazing, eye-opening report. Appreciate that.
CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern-day slavery on March 14th, It's just in a couple
of weeks from now. And in advance of "My Freedom Day" we asked Chicago Bears linebacker, Sam Acho, what freedom means to him.
SAM ACHO, CHICAGO BEARS LINEBACKER: This is Sam Acho for the Chicago Bears. Freedom to me is everything. I live in a world, in a country where
freedom is easily accessed. Yet we look at so many places in our own country of America where people still are fighting oppression, whether it's
in prisons, whether it's in their communities or whether it's an everyday threat of not knowing where your future is going to hold. So, freedom to
me is everything. I want to fight for that freedom here locally in America. I want to fight for that freedom what we're doing Nigeria with
living hope. I also want to fight for the freedom globally with IJM, the International Justice Mission.
[16:30:00] And so freedom is a great opportunity, and it's not given, and sometimes it has to be taken so freedom is something that we have to fight
for every single day.
ASHER: Sam Acho there speaking about what freedom means to him. So, my question to all of you is what does freedom mean to you? You can share
your story using the #MyFreedomDay. We would absolutely love to hear from you on this very, very important issue.
All right, still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, Fed chair, Jerome Powell, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill Tuesday. His comments to
lawmakers were apparently, apparently enough to spook the markets. That story next.
ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher and coming up in the next half hour of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, Jerome Powell makes his Capitol Hill debut as
head of the Fed and the Dow actually drops almost 300 points in response. And I'll be joined live by an Olympic curling champion who is now going
back to work at a sport shop, but first, though, these are the top headlines we are following for you at this hour.
In Syria, activists say pro-regime shelling and artillery fire continued in the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta on Tuesday despite an ordered
humanitarian pause that was supposed to last five hours. Russia in Syria accused the rebels of shelling humanitarian corridors.
Sources tell CNN that some White House aides including President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner have had their security clearance downgraded.
Kushner, a senior adviser to the president was still using an interim clearance more than a year after the administration took office. He will
now have secret access instead of top secret. A source told CNN Kushner has accepted the decision and will not ask the president for an exception.
The body of Bollywood star, Sridevi, has arrived home in Mumbai. In the past few hours Dubai police have said the actress drowned in her hotel
bathtub after losing consciousness. It was initially reported she died of a heart attack. Authorities have now closed the case, ruling out foul
A top U.S. diplomat in charge of North Korea is retiring at the end of the week. Joseph Yun says it was completely his decision to step down at this
time just days after North Korea reportedly said it is open to talks with the United States. The state department spokesperson says the U.S. will
keep up its campaign of maximum pressure against the North
[16:35:00] All right. Let's talk about how U.S. markets did on this Tuesday. In the afternoon there just seem to be -- look at the red behind
me. There seemed to be this mad dash lower as we approached the finish line. In fact, the Dow actually closed the day down 299 points or so. The
S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost more than 1 percent each. Investors had pretty much one thing on their minds today aside from certain companies and they
were very much focused on Capitol Hill where Fed chair -- a brand-new Fed chair, I should add, Jerome Powell testified for the first time. Powell
said the Fed sought to balance, to prevent economic overheating while also keeping in inflation near 2 percent. Some felt that his comments, though
not explicit, actually suggested the new tax and budget bills could actually lead to an increase in the pace of interest rate hike. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: My personal outlook for the economy has strengthened since December. And again, each member of the FOMC is
going to be writing down a new set of projections and a new estimate of appropriate monetary policy as we go into the March meeting which begins
three weeks from today. And so, I wouldn't want to prejudge that new set of projections but will be taking into account everything that's happened
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: So, this idea that he's taking everything into account, that's happened since December including a generally improving economy. That was
already enough to spook nervous investors, Clare Sebastian has been watching the markets closely for us. So, Clare, Jerome Powell is a smart
man. He knows that the markets are going to be closely watching every single thing he says. So, his goal is obviously not necessarily to spook
anyone, but after about noon, 1:00 this afternoon we saw this mad sort of downward dip in the markets. Clearly, investors were not too pleased about
some of what he had to say.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the interesting thing is it's nothing that they haven't already been --
SEBASTIAN: We know that the economy has strengthening since December. We know that we have measures of inflation that have been ticking up. All of
the volatility that we saw recently in the markets was because of that jobs report that showed the wage data was coming out. And since then we've have
even more evidence. Just today consumer confidence at its best since the year 2000. But I think the sheer force of this being a new man in the job
of him hearing him say that and knowing that that's what he's thinking and that's what gave them a jolt. But if you look at the chart itself, if you
look at the markets, it was that first dip down that was when he made that comment. And the treasury yield spiked up at the same time. So, that of
course, could have an effect on the markets as well.
ASHER: But you're right. It's nothing that we haven't necessarily heard before. We know that the U.S. economy has been improving. That's part of
the reason why we saw this massive sort of downward dip just a few weeks ago. So, here's my question to you. What has changed in the U.S. economy
between Janet Yellen leaving and Jerome Powell taking over?
SEBASTIAN: That market volatility. I mean, literally the first week that he took office not only the biggest point drop in U.S. history on the Dow,
but the second biggest as well. You and I were talking about this. But I think it was interesting because he was asked several times about fiscal
policy and the impact that that could have on monetary policy. And he basically said that fiscal policy was a headwind for his predecessor and
now it's a tailwind for him. He didn't explicitly talk about the tax cut or the spending bill for the Republican Party. But he said, you know, yes,
this could impact monetary policy all else being equal going forward. And I think that's another, you know, we saw the markets take further dips when
he said this could increase wages and it could, you know, lead to more inflation.
ASHER: Yes, so much pressure on him in this brand-new job. So, Amazon, we have news about Amazon. They're buying doorbell maker, Ring.
ASHER: For apparently $1 billion. Give us more details about this deal.
SEBASTIAN: This news is just coming in. If that's what their paying that is a big number. But really, this is part of the overall strategy to get
more and more into the connected home, these Internet connected devices. This is the second company they've acquired in three months that makes
these, you know, security cameras and video door bells. The other one is called Blink. They acquired that in December. They've also got their own
products. And Amazon key and their cloud camera came out last year. So, this is very much part of the strategy. The home is something they're
really trying to conquer. They've already done it with Alexa. Ring is actually compatible with Alexa. So, it's more of the same products trying
to expand their family of products and bring people into their walled garden.
ASHER: Yes, it's incredible. I mean, how as a small business or as a startup do you really survive in this new age of Amazon, Google, Facebook,
Apple, Netflix. How? Anyway, Claire Sebastian, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much, appreciate that.
All right, still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the world's two largest economies look like they could be headed towards a collision on
trade. Now China may be trying to step on the break. We'll have that story next.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Welcome back. Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a trusted envoy to Washington to try and head off a potential trade war. So, Liu He,
this man right behind me is a senior Chinese official and actually Xi Jinping's childhood friend as well. China watchers say that Liu has been
sent to Washington to reduce tensions after President Trump's recent protectionist move. So, joining me now to talk about this is Elizabeth
Economy with the very appropriate name, by the way, for this segment. Elizabeth economy of the Council of Foreign Relations. Thank you so much
for being with us. My question to you is when Donald Trump threatens all of these protectionists approximately sees against China how much is real,
do you think, and how much is bluster? What are your thoughts?
ELIZABETH ECONOMY, ASIA STUDIES DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think it's difficult to tell at this point. We've watched over the past
year President Trump initiate a number of investigations into Chinese practices and some of them are quite serious like intellectual property
theft and subsidies from the government to Chinese companies that make their exports cheaper, force technology transfer. These are issues that
have been, you know, long in the making, and I think the president and his team are saying enough is enough. But the question is, yes, are they
threatening to try to get the Chinese to actually take some action or are they prepared to take some real action?
ASHER: When you think about this man who has been tasked with this enormous job Liu He, what type of person is he especially when you think
about the strategy he needs to adopt in order to win the Americans over? Would you think his strategy is going to be in Washington?
ECONOMY: I think it's going to be very difficult. He is very highly respected. He is a scholar. He knows his stuff. He's considered by
western economists and policymakers to be someone who is friendly to the idea of markets. Someone who understands how they're supposed to work.
One of the top economic reformers, true reformers within China. But he's confronting a Chinese system and frankly a Chinese leader who is all about
control. And so, whether or not he's going to be able to persuade the Americans that, yes, we're prepared to take the steps that we've been
talking about for 30 years and then come back to China and say, actually, we'll have to do something, I think it's a very difficult game we have to
play because I don't think the Chinese system is ready for the kind of market reform that he actually wants.
ASHER: But nobody, I mean, despite what Donald Trump threaten, nobody, neither the Americans nor the Chinese actually want to see a trade war.
So, what would be an ideal compromise, in this case.
ECONOMY: Well, I think the problem is the kinds of changes that we're looking for are structural changes. We're looking for China to take action
on intellectual property theft on subsidies, on forced technology transfer, on market access. These are not one-off sort of policy reforms that they
can make. These are big, heavy lifts, and so I think at this point we really need to see some significant effort, for example, on the subsidy
issue. Right? Or we need to see them do something on forced technology transfer. Are you making American companies give up their technologies to
Chinese companies as a price of doing business in China?
[16:45:00] So, they can do these things. The question is do they want to do them enough? In the meantime, we're sort of stuck with policies like
slapping tariffs on washing machines or, you know, threatening tariffs on steel or aluminum. Look, one percent of our steel comes from China.
That's not going to have much of an impact on China, you know?
ASHER: It wouldn't have much of an impact on China, but steel and aluminum importance in terms of threatening tariffs on those products, that's
something that Donald Trump has threatened, or the administration has threatened quite a bit.
ASHER: Is there any real likelihood that you could see that happening?
ECONOMY: The problem is, I think there is some likelihood because that speaks to Donald Trump's political base. The problem is that it hurts our
allies like Canada and South Korea. And it's an odd time to be threatening steel tariffs when we are in the midst of re-negotiating trade agreements
with both Canada and South Korea. So, what the administration is thinking at this point in time I'm not exactly sure, but I think he's coming here
trying to understand is this heat? Is this a fire or is this a full- fledged conflagration that he has to with?
ASHER: Well we shall see what ends up happening. But something tells me that you believe that it could be a little bit more bluster than actually
ECONOMY: It's possible.
ASHER: OK, Liz Economy, thank you so much. I should also mention that Liz Economy is also the author of the upcoming book "The Third Revolution, Xi
Jinping in the New Chinese State." Liz thank you so much for being with us.
Trading with Asia's biggest markets is not a one-way street. African countries are now some of China's biggest trading partners and new Chinese
sites are springing up to make sure all parties benefit and it's the latest in our series "TRADERS."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be a challenge for the small stall holders at Nairobi's Masai market to find customers in China. If not for Amambo.
Amambo's online e-commerce platform has been linking African manufacturers with Chinese customers for the past few years and vice versa. It's call
centers are busy taking orders and helping customers while African and Chinese products pass through its warehouses. Amambo focuses on six
countries across central Africa including Ghana, Cameroon and Kenya where Tia Peng oversees operations.
TIA PENG, AMAMBO OPERATIONS MANAGER: We think, Africa, especially Kenya is a huge market for online.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chinese electronics are particularly popular in Africa.
PENG: The manufacturer can ship their product directly from China to here. We will not charge their operating fee. We will charge them some
percentage of the profits. It is not only focused on bring Chinese product to Africa, but also selling African product to China. China population is
around 1.4 billion and 0.3 billion is middle classes among them. So, they have strong need for African product.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Decorative artifacts carved from Kenyan soap stone have found a market in China. Stephen Okari sells them in the Masai market
where he puts finishing touches on his offerings. Amambo signed him up nearly a year ago.
STEPHEN OKARI, ARTISAN, AMAMBO: The Amambo I say is very important to me because one day they come, they come to the market, the Masai market. They
order five things from me and then sometimes they give me big order.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amambo's online marketplace has been tapping into an already strong economic bridge between China and Africa. China is Africa's
main export market and also its largest source of imports. 85 percent of exports from Africa to China are made up of commodities and crude materials
with oil being the biggest single item. Due to the country's lower manufacturing costs, machinery, autos and textiles from China make up the
biggest imports into the African continent. Amambo has the ambitious goal of reaching 90 percent of all African consumers, but first, it has to
overcome a host of challenges.
PENG: One is the cost of wood bend (ph) which is still too high in Africa. The second is the logistic. The third is the literacy rate. But we do
believe it will improve in Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A good thing, too, as young Africans are as hungry as anyone to use all of the tools of the online marketplace.
[16:20:00] ASHER: All right. Still to come here on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. It was dubbed the mira-curl on ice. Get it? The America's so-called team
of rejects, these guys here beat Sweden to take the curling gold in PyeongChang. John Shuster actually the team, he is going to join me after
the break, he is going to tell me about the shot that clinched the gold and also interestingly enough how working at a sporting goods store helped him
get there. That's next.
ASHER: It was a hero's welcome for John Shuster and the U.S. men's curling team. Gold medals around their necks just days after a stunning upset in
PyeongChang. So, let's be clear, this was actually never supposed to happen. John Shuster was actually cut out of U.S. curling after a series
of disappointing Olympic results.
He battled back with his so-called team of rejects and a job at this particular Dick's Sporting Goods Store in Duluth, helped him cover child
care costs. That job was no coincidence. We'll get to that in just a moment, but in PyeongChang, the U.S. team was on the brink of elimination
and five straight long-shot victories put them on top of the world, earning the U.S., get this, its first ever gold medal in curling. So, from the
podium to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, John Shuster joins us live from Duluth. Congratulation, my friend!
JOHN SHUSTER, 2018 WINTER OLYMPIC CURLING CHAMPION: Thank you very, very much!
ASHER: So, your journey to this gold medal has been really a roller coaster ride. You weren't really supposed to make this team. The last two
Olympics you came tenth and ninth consecutively world. Now you are on top of the world. What does that sort of vindication feel like?
SHUSTER: It feels pretty darn good. We've had some tough results in the Olympics and it may have been tougher to take because it's been a world
championship with the same teams. So yes, to get that and really go after and finish strong and come home with the gold medal is pretty darn
ASHER: I 've never met you, but I am so, so happy for you. As you know, Hollywood loves comeback stories. If your sports story is made into a
movie, I have to ask you, who do you think should play you?
SHUSTER: Everybody asks me that, and I really have no idea. I can tell you this, though, we have been contacted by a lot of Hollywood people that
want to do it.
ASHER: Oh, my goodness, already?
SHUSTER: I don't know how we're go through that whole process, but we're definitely looking forward to it and we get a good chuckle that that's been
[16:25:00] ASHER: That's incredible. So, what is it like? You work at Dick's Sporting Goods Store part time. What is it like to go from winning
a gold medal at the Olympics to going back to work? Do you want to just tell every single customer that walks in you're a gold medalist? What is
that feeling like?
SHUSTER: You know, it was incredible, I was actually there for a couple of hours today, and usually I get recognized maybe once, twice a day that I'm
working and today every single customer looked at me and I didn't even have to have my medal on
or anything like that and kind of knew. So, it was pretty fun, and I enjoyed the heck out of going there and sharing my medal and my experience
with those employees that I've worked with. I've been in the program for two years now. They've seen this whole journey, so it was a pretty great
day today for sure.
ASHER: That has put such a smile on my face and just quickly, obviously curling isn't as mainstream in the U.S. as say, skiing or various other
sports maybe even ice skating, for example. Would you hope to come out of this? You really have put the sport on the map. Coming back with the gold
medal is no small feat. How do you think this is going to change curling in the United States in terms of how it is recognized?
SHUSTER: Well, I mean, curling was the number one trending thing on Twitter for about four hours the other day, so I think we'll see a lot more
people searching it out after the Olympics are done. And we have 35,000 curlers in the U.S. and it would be awesome to see that number double or
triple or go up exponentially because our curling funs (ph) are full of awesome people and our sport is about a lot more than just playing at the
competitive levels. We have curling is by far one of the purest things in the world, and games usually finish with people going up and sitting around
the table and having a beer and telling their story to each other and making new friends.
ASHER: It's incredible. Not only have you come home with the gold medal, you didn't even think that you got but you probably changed the sport.
John Shuster, live for us, thank you so much. Appreciate it. And that, is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight which is going to be back on Wednesday
from Louisville, Kentucky. All right, thank you so much for watching, have a great evening.