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tv   Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross at National Press Club  CSPAN  May 15, 2018 5:16pm-6:23pm EDT

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testify on his agency's 2019 budget. he appears at a hearing by a senate appropriation subcommittee. also tomorrow, christopher w rrray testifies on the bureau's 2019 budget. it starts live at 2:30 p.m. eastern here on cspan 3. >> connect with cspan to personalize the information you get from us. sign up for the e-mail. the program guide is a daily e-mail with the most updated prime time schedule and upcoming live coverage. word for word gives you the most interesting highlight in their own words with no commentary. the newsletter is an insider's look at upcoming authors and book festivals and it gives you the upcoming programming
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exploring our nation's past. individual cspan.org/connect and sign up today. >> remarks from commerce secretary ross. he talks about negotiations with china and european countries over potential steel and aluminum import tariffs. this is just over an hour. >> good afternoon, everyone. welcome to the national press club. the world's leading professional organization for journalists. i'm an editor with bloomberg news and i am the 111th president of the national press club. we are so pleased to welcome today's headliner speaker, the u.s. secretary of commerce, wilbur ross. before we begin, i'd like to ask
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everyone here in the room if you haven't already, please turn off your cell phones. if you're tweeting today, we are press club d.c. and the hashtag is npc live. i'd also like to introduce our head table guests. from the end, charlie clark. we have francesca. steven gregory, publisher at the epic times. we have ellen ferguson, trade reporter at cq roll callnpc head loiners member. we have richard mccormick. chief speech writer at the u.s. department of commerce. we have tim warren, managing
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editor at international trade today. and rebecca glover, director of the office of public affairs at the u.s. department of commerce. coming from this end. we have john gallagher. senior editor at ihs fair play. and a member of the national press club head loiners team. we have arthur swift. chief of content at gallup. we have herb jackson. washington correspondent at the "usa today" network. we have mrs. hillary ross, wife of our speaker today. we have kevin wensing, retired captain for the us navy. and executive director of first global and the national press club headliners member who organized today's luncheon. we have mark hamrick, the washington bureau chief at bank rate and former president of the national press club. skipping for a moment, skipping
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over our guests for today, just for a moment, we have betsy fisher martin, who's executive and residence at american university and co-chair of the national press club headliners team. i'd like to acknowledge the members of the team responsible for organizing the event besides the people i've mentioned. we have lisa matthews, joe, lori russo, tamra hinton, danny sell nick and bill lord. also the press club staff. specifically lindsey underwood, laura coker and executive director, bill mccarran. he has been very busy with
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issues including tariffs, nafta, the trans pacific partner schiff and trade with china just to mention a few things. he told cnn that in a can of soup, there are about 2.6 pennies worth of steel. that f that dwoez up, that's about . on a price oof soup. i bought this can today at a 7 ln/11 and it is priced at 1.99. who in the world is going to be too bothered by that. on another front, explaining the decision to have the senn kus, he wrote i find that the need for accurate citizenship data and limited burden that the reenstatemeree reinstatement that the question pose outweigh fears about a potentially lower response rate. he has spoke about turning the
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moon into a gas station for outer space. bloomberg markets named him one of the most 50 influential people of the 50 most inkneubuhl global finance. and the turn around management hall of fame. he's been an adviser to rudy giuliani and was appointed by president bill clinton to the board of the u.s. russia investment fund. he been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in over 20 countries. his work brought him a medal for helping south korea during its financial crisis and in 2014, the emperor of japan awarded him the order of the rising sun gold and silver star.
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a graduate of yale university and harvard business school, served on the advisory board at the yale university school of management. we are so very please, happy, that he has taken time out of his busy schedule to be with us here today. please join me in welcoming secretary of commerce wib brk w ross. >> oh, this is way too -- thank you. well thank you andrea for that kind introduction. i'm glad my wife was here to hear the flowery note. it can never get enough credit at home. it's an honor to be addressing
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the national press club. when i was a student at yale, my dream was to be a writer so i joined a chorus called daily themes. that required a thousand word of fiction by 10:00 each morning. by the second week, i was out of material. so i dropped the course. as a result, i have great admiration for people like you who write professionally every single day. since we're in the midst of negotiations with china, that will be my main topic. let's grbegin with two question. does anyone doubt china's trade surpluses with us have helped their economic growth? second question. how can our trade deficits with them not be bad for us?
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i believe that deficits and is surpluses do matter. but not all trade deficits are the same. for example, united states hads not been self-sufficient in oil. especially before the shale oil boom. therefore, a country supplying our need should not be criticized for doing so because we would otherwise have to buy the oil from someone else. i call this a blameless deficit. however, trade deficits caused by artificial means like asymmetrical tariffs and nontariff trade barriers are not blameless. they are blameful and shameful. this first chart, sturdy man of your club is holding up for me, shows that in 21 of 23 major
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product categories, china's tariff rs far higher than ours. a similar chart would show the came. they both are far higher than the u.s. u. this is not comparative advantage. this is protectionism. the united states is the most open and most exploited market in the world. both chip and europe espoused free trade rhetoric but in actual practice are far more productionists than the united states. our trade policy's main objective is to make their real world behavior match their free trade speeches. the second optative is to have our trading partners abide by the rules. a manl rational for admitting
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was the expectation they would abide by the rules, but they have not. instead of the 424 trade actions that the united states has in effect against violations of the rules, half are antidumping or duty cases against china. they have subsidized their industrial expansion in demand and have disrupted global markets. china has forced technology transfers from companies wanting to sell to its vast market and it has stolen intellectual property. all of these abuses have been well documented. your media. not fake news. a third objective of our trade policy is reforming prior eras
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made by earlier administrations. just after world war ii, it was u.s. policy to rehabilitate europe and asia after they were suffering from the ravages of war. at that time, the united states was the unchallenged economic power and had regular trade surpluses. we made system attic and repeated trade concessions to with which we remain bound today, decades later. we did not nominate those concessions or provide other mechanisms to adjust policy as conditions changed. that might have been totally
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correct 50 years ago are simply no longer appropriate today. yet we are locked into the present trading system with rules created for a different era. despite these blunders, our underlying economic strength enabled us to have trade surpluses. we are now constrained, sorry, i prematurely asked him to put that up. it was just a little teaser. >> we're now con train strained by two side of a wto. one is the most favorite nation clause or mfn. this rule says that we wrmust apply the same tariff to every nation with with hich we do note
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a free trade agreement. the second someone the so-called bound rate. the upper limit on tariffs we can charge foreign nations even with the application of mf nrk. the combination of mfn and tariff rates prevent us from having resip row cal tariffs because in most cases, our bound rate ceiling is at our near our very low mfn applied rate while other nations are higher levels of both. they have little insecentive to negotiation. for example, our mfn tariff on passenger cars was 2.5%. so was our bound rate. we are stuck with is. europe's tariff is 10%. four times ours. china's is at 25%. ten times ours.
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efforts over the last decade and a half to negotiation broad changes to these rates have failed. in large part because of china's unwlingness to make concessions commensurate with its significant roll in the global economy. so china, the world's largest car market is closed to our exporters. ness this is not fair trade or free trade and there's an even more bizarre outcome regarding mexico. nafta was to become a protective wall around the united states, canada and mexico for our collective benefits, but nafta did not stop mexico which had high auto tariffs on non nafta countries from signing a free trade afwreemt europe. that agreement permits mexican
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producer of autos to enter europe duty free while auto producers from the united states are remain subject to the tariff. whether seeking exports to europe derive several times more benefit from this tariff normally. when they move a plant to mexico. similar examples abound throughout the world. in addition to problems with wto rules, there are problems with the organization's mind set. wto has 164 members. virtually all of which export products to the united states and want export more. access to the u.s. market ss one
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of the primary benefits from joining the wto. and each of these countries has one vote equal to this of the united states. and trade cases, brought by member countries independeicate growing protectionism that apparently does not occur to the leadership that more trade actions are brought because there are more trade violations. the u.s. trade deficit is the largest in the world. it is unreasonable to bear the burden of economic fortunes of the entire planet.
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the u.s. is one of the least protectionist major countries and we have the deficits to show for it. with benefits with us reflect it. a few charts will quantify these charts. this second chart shows the relatively slow growth of china economy prior to its entry into wto. the black line marks it entry in 2001. note the remarkable acceleration in growth following their admission to the wto. what changed? thank you. what changed? just one thing. >> china joined the wto on beneficial terms guaranteeing their access to the tariff anomalies i mentioned earlier.
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as shown in the third chart, even though our total economy has been much larger that be china, they're manufacturing output surpassed ours beginning around 2009, 2010 and again as you can see, has widened since then. as you can see in the following chart, china's massive growth and output following its admission into the wto has been reflects in the loss of american manufacturining jobs. the black line is the decline. the ascending red line is the u.s. china trade deficit in goods. thank you. it is not just automation that has cost factory jobs. it is also institution of
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imports for domestic production. there are approximately 100 different ways in which china c. even to unprofitable factories beyond the growth and demand. dumps the products at sub normal products is a significant cause of the recent krcrisis in steel and aluminum. once again, their behavior is very different from their words. this fifth chart indicates in the little voiceboxes each time china said it would be more restrained on steel. it went up almost every time and
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in 2017 reached an all time record. thank you. we impose duties in response to dumping, but the clever ly or with a slight modification of the product. or other product devices. this recently became subject to a 25% tariff. china's response was to add this small flange at one end of the product. the actual product is many yards long. this trivial change avoided the origin altar i have. as silly as that sounds.
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you can be the make this stuff up. this is what happens every day in the real world. it's that it does not correspond to reality. the real world is filled with distortions like the ones i have mentioned. froms on a robust trade policy. and in terms of enforcing the rules, commerce department has initiated 75% more trade cases during the period of the last administration and we will continue aggressively to pursue violations but because of u the loopholes i mentioned b, more comprehensive action has become necessary. two separate investigations. one on steel and the other on
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aluminum have been completed by the department of commerce under section 232 of the trade expansion act of 1962 and an investigation under section 301 of the trade act of 1974 has been undertaken by the u.s. trade rep against china for for vilgtss. the steel and aluminum cases are aimed at dealing with today's problems. the 301 is to protect our future u. from an already evolving trend in technology, trade balance. this is the u.s. china trade balance in high-tech goods. you can see back in, it was more or less break even. >> it's gone down just about every single year and now, it alone is around $150 million.
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close to 1% of our whole economy. thank you. china's announced decision to subsidize a dozen of the most promising technologies in order to become dominant in them. by the year 2025 is a major issue. we welcome legitimate competition. we can't count competition that is based on massive government u subsidies and industrial cyber espionage. another demonstration of the importance of technology is that the patent office part of the department of commerce will issue its 10 millionth patent in june. this remarkable accomplishment far exceeded the patent activity of any other country and demonstrates again the
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importance of intellect yul property to the united states. taken together t the 232s and 301 are bookends around our trade policy initiatives. but logic beyond them is indisputable. both focus on protecting key elements of the economic base that is the essential for national security. but the retaliation list published by china had created worry that a trade war. so let's analyze how far it might go. as the president has pointed out u, china sells us far more than we sell them. given the lopsided balance, they would run out of targets for f tariffs much sooner than we would. also, their retaliations would negatively impact their own economy as well as ours.
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china buys no protect from us if they have cheaper alternatives. therefore, the tariffs they impose will come at a cost to them. this would be particularly true in agricultural products. china has 20% of the world's population, but only 11% of the arable land. they cannot feed themselves so they must import to field the gap. especially as their diets shift toward more protein content. take soybeans as an example. it is true china is our largest customer, but it is also true that brazil already accounts for a bit more than 50% of chinese imports while we are at 30%. for brazil to replace us, they would have to increase their
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exports to china by 0i%. 6-0 percent, but if brazil could ship that much more at competitive prices, they would do so already. they have not been holding back just to help the united states. brazil also has issues with climate variability and with its transportation networks an those limit its ability to export more than it already done. to fill the additional chinese demand, they would have to divert some soybean now sold elsewhere. if they did so, the market that had been supplied by them would now open up for u.s. producers.
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so at the end of the day, it would be at best a somewhat peeric victory for china. this is especially true because food is a much higher percentage of income in china there in comes much lower. against this background two weeks ago treasury mnuchin, larry kudlow and i spent two days from china. it was an interesting week. 30 hour ons the plane and 30 hours of negotiating. i don't know which was more tiring. we negotiated with the delegation of senior chinese leaders from its various min ciindustries and led by vice premier. before landing in china. we sent them an extremely details list of our needs.
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and they responded with a similarly detailed but as you can major, quite different list of their proposals t. gap remains wide. as has been b announced, china's vice premier will soon come to washington to follow up on those decisions. it's difficult to handicap the outcome, but my hope is that the strong relationship between president trump and president xi will facilitate an agreement just as it seems possibility to be doing relative to north korea. one sure thing is that the president meticulously honors his campaign promises is making our trade relationships with china much more fair. some have said this activity on trade will result in retallation
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and undo the benefit of deregulation and the tax cuts. that is an exaggeration. if china retaliates with a tariff as threatened, we would lose a major fraction of that volume but not all. for the sake of argument, assume we did lose all of that vol up. the hit would be $50 principle. a big number. and this would be painful to the direct targets, but have less than a .3 of o1% impact on our $18 trillion economy. less than .3 of 1%. and it would be partly off set by the reduced imports of the goods on which we had imposed our original 25% tariffs.
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some portion of those would be produced. also, the president has directed the agory sullivan curl department to use its power to ameliorate the impact on farmers. the esktss would be more muted. replacing 50 or more imports with our other own production or imports from elsewhere would be a lot letsds than the tariff percentage. let's pretend we had to b absorb the full 25% of the tariffs. $12.5 billion. this is more of a roundinging error. well within the margin of error for any economic forecast. in following the same logic, it would take $180 billion of tit
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for tat to cause a 1% reduction in gdp. however, this is far more than the total of 130 billion in good that is we export to them. any tariffing on goods amounting to more than 130 would have no effect because we don't sell it to them right now. also, some of the food and lot of the technical products would not be readily replaceable. there are, there is no real world circumstance where china could cut our gdp by that much. we simply don't export enough to them for to happen. at the $50 billion, maximum inflationary impact would be 45
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billion or one quarter of is% of our economy. given the various off sets, the actual impact on inflation of retaliation would be even less than that. instead, china could easily reduce our trade deficit by purchasing from us a larger percentage of their existing 1.5 trillion of imports. a 10% diversion of imports that they make already from other parties to us would almost double our total sales to them. to do so, they might have to get around their own trade barriers, both tariff and not tariff. but the more difficult challenge for them probably would be the intellectual property area. they are rapidly ramping up their own rnd, but they're still
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years behind us in semiconductors and a variety of other products. respecting our intellectual property therefore would slow, but for example, the commerce department's recent enforcement actions against zte, china's second largest telecome equipment manufacturer essentially caused them to cease operation. president trump tweeted yesterday that we will review that action but it does demonstrate china's dependence on u.s. technology. given all of these factor it is, i hope that we can make a fair deal. but if it does not happen, a trade for tat will not be economically life threatening
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to the united states. i look forward to hearing your questions. [ applause ]. thank you, secretary ross. when chinese economic envoy liu hi visits washington this week, what are the main topics that you'll be discussing? >> well, there will be a lot of things. one will be tariff barriers. another will be nontariff trade barriers. a third will be the forced partnership and forced technology transfers for companies operating within china. next would be the discriminatory practices in the procurement area. and finally, of course, the big question about respect for intellectual property rights.
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it also would not surprise me if they would bring up the zte, but our position has been that that's an enforcement action separate from trade. >> can you give us specifics what we'll be seeking from the envoy regarding interelectric yule property rights? >> i think that's clear. don't force our companies to localize data, give up codes, not force them to do any of those things. that's the biggest area. and then there are also illicit uses of intellectual properties away by hiring people away which have trade secrets which they don't honor once they go over. there so that's a whole myriad, same things that you have been
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hearing about and reading about throughout the week. >> thank you. mr.secretary, president trump tweeted over the weekend asking your department to, quote- unquote, get it done when it comes to getting zte back into business. this question has a couple of parts. one, will you, and if so, how? well, zte did do some inappropriate things. they have admitted to that. the question is, are there alternative remedies to the one that we had originally put forward? and that's the area we will be exploring very, very promptly. >> thank you. and how does that work with the message -- how does that message work with known sanction violators? >> with? >> sanctions violators. >> what zte did was they
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violated the sanctions both against north korea and against iran. that was the original case. we then settled that for a fine of $1.6 billion and an agreement to do lots of other things. the texas court appointed examiner rendered his report. we then followed up and turned out that a number of the statements that the zte had made to us were simply inaccurate and not correct, both during the negotiations and after. so that's what let to the second round -- led to the second round. in that round, our initial thought was to impose the bad list so that we could not receive ex--- they could not receive export of high-tech materials. that's what led, as i mentioned in my prepared remarks, that's what led to the shutdown. >> can you confirm whether you
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are willing to get beijing to ease agriculture tariffs? >> we are opposed to their discriminatory tariffs in all sectors, in agriculture, in nonagriculture. we are also opposed to their nontariff barriers. they have lots of nonscience based restrictions that are tailored to keep u.s. goods out of china. when one of the meetings where they raised the problem of the so-called mad cow problem, i pointed out to them that both the president and i eat quite a lot of american beef and other than the fact that we are in public office, there are no signs of mental instability as a result. [ laughter ]. >> thank you. and i would point out for our viewers online and our viewers of the live broadcast that in
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this room, there are a number of people who are not members of the working press. so any reaction you hear is not necessarily that of the working press. >> i assume she is working to the applause and laughter with that. >> or anything. [ laughter ]. >> do you or the president dispute intelligence agencies' warnings on cyber security risks on zte phones and if not, how will the u.s. mitigate that? >> i have great respect for our national security agencies and our national intelligence agencies. the president and i and the rest of the cabinet get very detailed briefings every day and so i can assure you that we know even more about the situation than the leaks would let on. >> can you tell us about that?
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>> since it's classified, obviously, it would not be appropriate? >> all of it is classified? >> the part that would be interesting is classified. [ laughter ] >> okay. fair enough. where do negotiations stand with the eu on steel and aluminium tariffs? >> i had discussions with commissioner mallstrom who is their trade person, maybe eight or ten times since we announced the 232 results. we're continuing the discussions. i will be talking with her again tomorrow. and as bee get closer to the -- as we get closer to the june 1st deadline, hopefully we'll come to a reasonable conclusion. if not, the tariffs will go into effect. >> if it the eu agreed to a quota on steel but did not agree to lower tariffs on autos, would that be enough to exempt the e u from the steel
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tariff? >> gee, i really think that's a little bit hypothetical. they have not agreed to anything on either score. i think we have to see what comes from the negotiations. >> for aluminum and steel tariffs, would the country's exemption be permanent or continue to be decided one month at a time? >> well, i don't think we would do it one month at a time except if we're in continued negotiation. for example, canada and mexico also have postponements until june 1st. so, depending upon where we are with nafta on june 1st, the president will decide whether or not to extend their situation. so it's unforecastable at the moment. >> so nafta talks continue. they have been hot and heavy. they have continued over the
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weekend. were any agreements reached this past weekend in nafta talks? >> i don't believe that any of the big hot topics, the rules of origin, the sunset provisions, labor things, big topics like that, they are still a work in progress. and those are very complex issues, particularly rules of origin. so eventually, it will come down to every comma, every semicolon, everything, before we can figure out if it's something that's workable. >> regarding rules of origin, canada is currently asking for comments on aligning their nafta customs rules from country of origin to align with u.s. standards. how significant is this loophole for trans shipment of steel and aluminum into it the u.s.? that is, how much foreign steel is making it into the u.s. by
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routing back and forth between the countries? >> we have significant interest in all countries with whom we are involved, having better safeguards against trans shipment that's not a shipment unique to canada. europe already announced a whole bunch of potential safeguard actions. theft will probably come into play -- those will probably.com into play some time in june or early july. part of the theory of what we did both aluminum and steel on such a broad basis is what i had mentioned earlier, namely the rules of trade are so specific that it is kind of easy to get around them if you don't have a blanket solution. so we have imposed the tariff provision on countries that even sell us little or no steel or aluminum because we don't want them suddenly to become a
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trans shipment vehicle. one company which, for the moment, will remain nameless to protect it the guilty, that does not even have steel mills that recently started shipping steel to us. so that's a little bit aggravating, as you might imagine. >> yes. >> if nafta is not concluded by june 1, what would be your recommendation on exempting canada and mexico on section 232 tariffs. >> you will be the first to know on june 1st. >> really? promise 1234. >> on june 1st or maybe a little before. >> or maybe a little before. thank you. to what extent is china coordinating it allies in responding to u.s. tariffs? well, that, i don't know the answer to. i do know that vast majority of countries have agreed with us either to accept the tariffs that we put on or to accept
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quotas which produce the similar result. the most noteworthy and the first of which was south korea. as you know, they agreed to accept the 10% tariff on aluminum without protest and to take a quota on steel equal to 70%, 7-0% of their average shipment from 2015 to 2017. other countries have agreed to little different quotas, depending upon what their history with us has been. i would say that the vast majority of countries will not make any serious opposition. >> all right. thank you. what trade or other actions do you anticipate or are you taking regarding foreign companies doing business with iran, russia or north korea?
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>> well, the north korea sanctions are already in place. i am not aware of any plans to change them. president trump has announced his intention on iran, ratcheting up pressure on them to bring them back to the table, just as he did on north korea with some hopeful early results in the case of north korea. >> on april 8th, the treasury department announced sanctions against vladimir putin's former son-in-law. if you sake shamallaa's ties to the putin regem, can you tell me why you kept stakes in the shipping company which earns millions of dollars from of the
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shipping company. >> the government of ethics agency did not require me to die divest. prior for april 8th, there were no sanctions on that company so there was no reason not to hold them. >> what has been the biggest adjustment for you in moving from the business world where people reported to you to the world of government where you report to many with different and, sometimes, conflicting interest? how would you rate congress as a boss? [ laughter ] >> i hope you have two days with that full answer. the most gratifying thing about the people in the department has been that we have 47,000 people and the most gratifying thing has been the very high quality of some of the long- term civil servants who have been in there.
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i find them extremely capable technically, relatively non- etiology cal and amazingly, because of the very trapezoid like government pay structures very willing to work late at night and even work on weekends. in fact, they did this past weekend because of this speech. >> thank you. in public -- you have described a strategy of pursuing no trade relations with a country adopting something like large industrial customer and plain suppliers, namely the trading partners against each other. now that you in the middle of trade negotiations, what differences have you seen between the processes of business negotiating with potential business partners where it's driven by profit and trade negotiation it is between nations driven by politics and special interest? >> well, that is the big difference. you will probably notice last
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week when the canadian lead negotiator was here in the states, she spent two and a half hours in negotiations with us and about 40 hours lobbying capitol hill. that's not an unusual ratio for foreign companies -- countries. they try to get around us through it the political process. for the same reason why on the tariffs list, they'll pick a particular product from one state, maybe where senate mitch mcconnell is from and pick another product where speaker ryan is from, pick another product where amon brady is from. they try to put maximum political pressure on us. in the case of chinaa, they are blessed by the fact that they don't have a november election. so there is not much that we can do to reciprocate in terms of lobbying.
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>> what are your thoughts on the current level of the u.s. dollar? and how does the current level help or hinder you in your talks with china and zte specifically. >> the dollar is more of the problem of secretary mnuchin. sew i would urge you to invite him here and i'm sure he will be glad to discuss this at great length. >> we would love to have secretary mnuchin here. please, secretary mnuchin, come to the national press club. you have commented on the level of dollars before. perhaps you can tell us where you would like to see it. >> it really is secretary mnuchin's problem, not my problem. really, that does factor into trade balances, does factor into everything. all interaction it is between our heck mi and other economies are interrelated in some way,
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shape or form. so nothing happens in the abstract. >> yes. >> i think that was a very grudging yes. >> all of that is true. okay. moving on from the level of our currency. have you spoken with special counsel mueller or been asked by him about bank of cyprus and money going to trump. >> no. >> president trump. no. >> okay. thank you. can you state clearly if you accept findings -- noaa's findings that humans are the driving force of climate change? >> i think your question has more to it. >> yes, it is.
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do you accept the findings that it drives the commerce department. >> we have released reports of scientists. those reports have been reviewed favorably, sometimes less so by people in their fields. i'll let that report spoke to it self. as for fisheries, one of the big surprises for me, both in the confirmation hearing and even more so now that i'm occupying this job has been the amount of congressional attention to fishing, special to red snapper. i spent so many months about the allocation of fishing capability between the commercial fishermen and the sport fishermen in the gulf of mexico that, for a month, i refused to eat any red snapper.
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i had more than my full of it every day. fisheries are a very complicated area. many, many, many species, one one with a whole regulatory apparatus around it. i had one particular axe to grind and that is more than 80% of our seafood consumed in the u.s. is imported and that seems a little bit silly to knee, given the coast line that we have and given everything else. one of my objectives is to try to change that trade deficit into a trade surplus. it should be a thing that we are very good in. it is a thing that we are very good at and we'll try to fix that. that's a very big preoccupation and i've been working a lot with the fisheries groups and with the private sector, how to
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solve that problem. that strikes me, the amount of seafood being imported here, grown in aquaculture under conditions that would never be permitted for a u.s. company. so it is a kind of subsidy of them. there are also some healths issues with some of those imports. we're going to try to deal with that and we're also going to try to deal with how do we get to the maximum sustainable harvest in our waters and how do we bring in selected elements of aquaculture done properly on our own port. so fishery, that's a very complicated question but a very, very important one. >> thank you. >> we've discussed a lot of trade issues here today: yes, i have noticed that. [ laughter ] >> moving to a very u.s.- centric topic, the census.
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you announced during a senate appropriations hearing that you submitted to the white house the name of your pick. can you share that name with us? >> well, of course not. that will be a violation of all sorts of rules. >> any hint? >> you will know when the nomination process begins. >> any idea when that might be in. >> no, i have no idea. i do know that i have very strong confidence in the existing leadership, the two top people are long time career people, 20, 30-year people. i think that they are doing an excellent job and would not be such a bad thing if they were there for quite a while. >> thank you. in addition -- the addition of a citizenship question in the 2020 census drew swift bipartisan opposition including
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from state attorneys general and groups from the american liberty union. >> it did draw lots of opposition and also drew lots of support. there are a dozen or so states whose either governors or attorneys general have come out publicly in support of adding the question. it's not a novel question. it's been asked every year on the american community survey in the exact same form that we are planning to do on the census this year. 61million families have already been exposed to the question and the sky has no fallen. so i don't think that sky will fall when we add it to the census itself in 2020. but we are doing to try to
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assure the maximum participatation that we can achieve in several things. first of all, we'll be spending roughly $500 million on advertising for the census, explaining to folks why it is important and explaining why under title xiii, there is no risk that their data will be used for immigration or any other purpose other than compiling the regular sean cystic. that law has been in effect for a couple of decades and there has never been a violation of it. i don't think there will be. any census in play who has access to the data takes a lifetime oath not to reveal it and the penalty imposed by law if someone is convicted of violating that is some combination of up to four years
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in prison and $250,000 fine. that's a pretty stiff impediment for people to leak. now, we are also taking extreme measures for cyber security so that we can try to protect as best one can against intrusions there and homeland security and various other government agencies have been helping us with that. so people do not need to worry that their privacy will be abused by the census. number two, to facilitate people for whom english is not their main language, we'll have instructional material in 12 languages available. the basic census forms themselves will be printed universally in both english and spanish. we'll have a very active call center operation and those will
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have multi lingual resources available to them. and then, finally, we are working with community groups, community hospitals, community social organizations, community advocacy groups trying to get their cooperation to explain to the population why it is important for them to participate. so we are doing everything that we can to maximize participatation census. we are also putting that citizenship question last so that they can deal with questions that are not uncomfortable. >> we have less than a minute left in the luncheon. i'm going to ask you two questions very quickly if you
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can help. you have known donald trump from the early days -- his early days in business in new york. has the president changed at all? >> that's a very interesting question. i don't think so. i think he has had more impact on the national thought process than the presidency has had on him. i think he is the same person as before. it's just that his focus now is on big public issue, not on the next real estate transaction or the next other transactions. so his focus has changed. i don't think that person has changed at all. >> finally, i wanted to ask you about the president's space agenda. how do you see that being rolled out and can america remain a leader in space commercialization? >> yes. yes. we have been given at commerce
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the task of becoming one-stop shopping for the commercialization of space. space is becoming reality much sooner than you would think. there probably be space tourism no later than one year. one space operator got 650 people to pre-say $350,000 each for a space ride -- pre paye 350 thousand -pay $350,000 each. and there will be space mining on asteroids. they are rich in minerals. space colonization of mars. and the man on the moon will soon get a gas station man.
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by that, i mean that in order to go to mars, we'll get enough rocket fuel to go to the moon and refuel at the moon which has very little gravity and that will be an easy relaunch. that's how we'll be able to be much more economical. you'll see a report that will explain it in much greater details. space is already a $340 billion industry. i think that will be a trillion dollars industry before we get too much older than we are already. and, so, i'm very, very excited about it as the last truly new frontier. >> well, thank you very much. before we conclude today's event, i would like to let you all know about a couple of upcoming events. on may 17th, we have a luncheon with sba administrator linda mcmahon. former president of mexico, vicente fox will be here on may
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22nd. june14th, a book event with harris faulkner and then a book and breakfast event if john meechum. >> secretary ross, thank you for joining us here today. we would like to present you to a mug. we give this to all of our honor speakers. we hope you use this in good health and will come back to the national press club to pick up another. >> well, thank you very much. [ applause ]. >> this may be one of the few gifts that the office of government ethics will let me accept. they will, of course, have to put it through their appraisal process. so i'm not likely to see it for a couple of months. [ laughter ] >> but when it does come back, i'll be happy to use it. wonderful. thank you very much. [ applause ].
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this luncheon is adjourned. i would just ask that everybody stay seated for a moment. the secretary has a tight schedule and we would like him and his staff to exit and once they're gone, everyone is welcome to leave. thank you very much. on wednesday, e.p.a. administrator scott pruitt answered questions about his budget. he testified at a subcommittee hearing. we have live coverage at 9:30 p.m. eastern. fbi direct at this christopher wray goes in front of a different senate subcommittee. and the u.s. house is expected to begin debate on the farm
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bill wednesday or thursday. it sets farm policy, food programs and agricultural trade through 2023. final vote planned for friday. watch live coverage of that debate and vote this week on c span. north dakota governor will be our guest on the bob starting at 9:30 eastern. now part of the day long briefing on head crimes hosted by the u.s. commission on civil rights in washington. it begins with remarks by law enforcement officials outlining best practices for investigating and responding to hate crimes.

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