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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Mueller Investigation Indictments; South Africa's New President Pushes for Economic Growth; Will the U.S. Impose Heavy Tariff on China's Steel Imports?; "Black Panther" Premiere. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 16, 2018 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Closing bells ringing on Wall Street. The gavel is about to be hit. Yes, sir, one. We only got one gavel. That
was rather weak and wimpy. That was a strong gavel but only one of them. the best gains of the day evaporated toward the close. Trading is now
over. It is Friday. It's February the 16th.
Tonight, new indictments as the Mueller investigation indicts Russians for interfering in the U.S. presidential election.
It is being known as the Ramaphosa rally. South Africa's new President pushes the market and the rand both go higher. As the White House contends
with Russia, it's taking aim at China, too. This time over the supply of steel.
I am Richard Quest, live from the world's financial capital, New York City, where I mean business.
Good evening. Conspiracy to defraud the United States. The U.S. Special Counsel has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for
interfering in the 2016 elections.
According to the indictments, the Russians posed as Americans using social media to support Donald Trump and disparage his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Now, it's important to understand these are landmark charges. The first to be brought by the U.S. special prosecutor specifically on the issue of
President Trump has responded on Twitter already, but the Russians began this anti-U.S. campaign before he launched his presidential run. The
results of the election were not impacted, he says; "The Trump campaign did nothing wrong." "No collusion," he continued.
So, the indictment is 37 pages long, and it's full of details about the alleged conspiracy. Our justice reporter is Kara Scannell and joins me now
from Washington. I briefly looked at it and as with all of these indictments, there's a level of detail -- the e-mails and the calls -- but
the heart of this is what?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the heart of this indictment is it really goes to the core of the issue that the conclusion of the
intelligence agencies in the U.S. and elsewhere were made that Russians interfered with the U.S. election and what we see in this indictment which
is again, 37 pages long, very detailed, it shows that there was a campaign of at least more than 80 Russians involved in this, although only 13 were
charged. They spent $1.2 million on Facebook ads to target key battleground states in the U.S. election.
This campaign started in 2014 and beginning in 2016, this organization began to direct their efforts to promote Trump, to promote Trump at
rallies, and to criticize and be critical of Hillary Clinton. So, you really saw in this indictment the allegations that Russians were targeting
Hillary Clinton as someone they did not want to get elected and were pushing their support to Donald Trump, and they did this by posing as
Americans, by creating fake aliases that appeared to be Americans and reaching out to grassroots groups including some that were run by the Trump
QUEST: Now, Kara, let me jump in here. Do we know - because some of those people were in the United States at the time when these accusations or
allegations were - the activities took place. Do we know if any of them are still in the United States or is it going to be a question of
SCANNELL: There's no suggestion today that anyone was arrested and I think it will be a question of extradition. A lot of these efforts were done
overseas and they used - there are ways to mask how their computer systems make it appear that they're in the U.S. when they're really sitting
somewhere else in a continent away.
So, we don't have any arrests in the case today of any Russians involved in this, and so it may be a matter of extradition.
QUEST: Kara, thank you.
[16:05:00] QUEST: We've been reporting on this over many months, of course. Clare Sebastian who has done much work in Moscow on these
organizations and on the various allegations joins me more to talk about the Russian connection. Now, you were in Moscow, recently and you've
covered this in detail?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And in fact, this extremely detailed indictment today bears a lot of the reporting that we've done just
in a lot more detail. We knew this was something that tapped into existing divisions in the U.S. We knew that they targeted swing states. We knew
that it was coordinated and sophisticated and it was run --
QUEST: Who? You read the indictment.
QUEST: I mean, these were people who came to the U.S. or was it done from outside the U.S.?
SEBASTIAN: So, the hub appears to St. Petersburg's based organization called the Internet Research Agency. We have reported on that before.
Facebook have talked about it. Twitter have talked about it. This is a known quantity, but it has done a very good job - this is another thing
that's come out of this, covering its tracks. It operates under different legal names that hid money. But what we do know and this is what Kara was
talking about, as well is they had a unit called the Translator Project which operated in English targeting Twitter and Instagram and that started
in 2014 and some of those people did travel to the U.S. in 2014, basically, Richard to do their homework, to gather important --
QUEST: So, the actual disinformation, the actual setting - getting Americans to believe and to have rallies, that was organized from Russia.
SEBASTIAN: Right. Exactly.
QUEST: And when they did this, I mean, I guess you know - who was pulling the strings?
SEBASTIAN: Well, the most important name in this indictment is a man called Yevgeny Prigozhin who is part of Putin's inner circle. He is often
referred to as Putin's chef and he is believed to be the one who financed this whole operation. So, he is the most important name, but as for this
organization, the Internet Research Agency as I said, it operates under various different legal names and it's a very shadowy organization,
Richard. No one has been able to penetrate that.
QUEST: Stay exactly where you are. Russia's foreign ministry is calling these indictments absurd. Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow with Russia's
response. You've just been hearing what Clare was saying and reporting she's done on this in the past and the level of detail that we know about
it. How do they say absurd with a straight face?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a very good question and you know, one of the things that we've seen, Richard, is that the man at
the center of all of this, a man that Clare was just talking about, Yevgeny Prigozhin. He came out with a statement very, very quickly and it
certainly didn't seem as though he was concerned about the fact that he was on this indictment.
I want to read it to you really quickly if we have the time. He says, "Americans are very impressionable people. They see what they want to see.
I have great respect for them. I am not at all upset that I am on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see one."
Again, doesn't sound like he is very concerned and you know, one of the things that's been going on here in Russia is that men like Prigozhin with
an indictment like this, for them, it almost shows their value to the Kremlin. They wear this almost as a badge of honor. This is a man who has
tied himself to Vladimir Putin and had benefited in the time since all of this came out, all the election meddling. He is now also active, for
instance, in Syria, with a security company that operates there, Richard.
SEBASTIAN: And Richard, I think one of the key points here is did this impact the election and that is what everyone in the U.S. wants to know.
Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General says, there's no sign that that was the case. There is also no sign that any Americans knowingly
participated in this, so, they of course, they did unknowingly.
We know that some were contacted by members of the Internet Research Agency.
QUEST: Clare, thank you. Fred, quick question to you before we talk to Richard Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, from your
perspective in Moscow, how bad are relations now as seen from Russia with the U.S.?
PLEITGEN: You know, that is actually a really, really important question. I don't think that we ask it enough. I think if you look at the
perspective of Moscow right now, you will always hear them say, "They think that the relations are at really at their low point or absolutely
terrible," but you could always see them take President Trump out of that equation. It's very interesting because we've been following a pattern of
that. Vladimir Putin said that at the Annual Press Conference. He believes the President is hamstrung by the U.S. bureaucracy, in fact,
Dmitri Mendeleev, the Prime Minister of this country said exactly the same thing yesterday, so yes, they think the relations are very, very bad, but
they also still think that President Trump will try what he can to improve them, Richard.
[16:10:00] QUEST: Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, Clare Sebastian is with me - to both of you, my colleagues, thank you.
Ambassador Richard Haass is the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, also the author of the book, "A World in Disarray: American
foreign policy and the crisis of the old older." He joins me now.
Richard Haass, the seriousness of these indictments, what do you make of it?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: On the substantive level, it just shows how Russia is treating the United States. It
considers this fair game, they were willing to do this at a level that they knew they were probably going to get caught and didn't mind and it just
shows you how much the relationship has deteriorated and again, what they think is part and parcel of the U.S.-Russian relationship.
QUEST: Related to that, then, the effectiveness of what took place. Now, the President says in his tweet that there's no evidence that it had any
effect and certainly, there's no evidence of collusion. So, there's really two issues here, isn't it?
The first is just one might call the geopolitical issue of Russian interference in other countries' domestic affairs and the second is the
very mendacious aspect of what the Trump administration may have been involved in.
HAASS: Well, truly, the former that we know about, we know that the Russians did a lot what they tried to do. As you say, we can't measure,
what, if any impact it had. There's no evidence that people "wittingly" participated in it, and so for a normal administration, the question now
would be, how do we make sure this doesn't happen again? How do we make sure they pay a price for what they did?
And that would mean taking extraordinary efforts to protect the American electoral system and the integrity of it and it would mean penalizing the
Russians whether through sanctions or I would say going after Putin a bit, doing things like publicizing information that would weaken his political
base at home to basically push back in ways that they would understand.
QUEST: So, is it your feeling that, I mean, you heard what Fred Pleitgen was saying about how Russia believes the relationship is not at an all-time
low. It is certainly well down there in the basement, is that your feeling, too?
I'm trying to separate the noise of domestic politics from the reality of geopolitical gravity.
HAASS: Richard, I was just there a few weeks ago in Moscow and among others, met with Mendeleev, I met with the foreign minister. I don't think
they're kidding when they say this relationship is at a historic low. If my statistics are right, there has not been an American Congressional
delegation that has visited Moscow in years, something like three or four years.
This relationship now has less depth and breadth to it than the U.S.-Soviet relationship had say at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.
QUEST: Right, now take that point and tell me the risks inherent in that situation?
HAASS: Well, the risks right now are military in the sense that you have got U.S. and Russian forces operating side by side in Syria, the danger of
an incident there. In a place like Korea, we need Russian support on sanctions against North Korea where much more likely, it will lead to a
Russia still matters geopolitically. Look at all they are doing still in Ukraine, so whether we're talking about Europe, the Middle East or Asia,
Russia matters, like it or not and the fact that the United States and Russia have so little to talk about and are increasingly at lager heads, I
think is one of most dangerous facets of this world we find ourselves in.
QUEST: Richard Haass, thank you. Not exactly the most cheerful way to head off into the weekend with that thought.
QUEST: No, don't. We appreciate the frankness which is what is necessary on this. Good to see you as ways, sir. Thank you for joining us.
HAASS: Thank you.
QUEST: So, now let's go to our normal bailiwick as news of the Mueller indictments broke, the U.S. markets gave up what did and should have been
[16:15:00] Now join me over in the trading post. Come over to the trading post and you'll see the Dow started to fall at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time and
it kept falling as the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spoke and at the same time the VIX Index spiked and we saw the Wall Street's (finish).
You can see from these maps. Just look, you see the Dow falling and the VIX spiking pretty much in opposite directions at the same time.
So, the Dow is up 161 points and it was on track for the best week in two years. The markets did have a very good week. Ergo, no records, obviously
anywhere on this, so we've got green on the markets because we have two as against one.
The Dow and the S&P have now recovered roughly half the gains lost during the recent sell-off and the S&P incidentally, nearly the best week for some
- since 2011. No records in the United States or in Europe.
On the other side of the world, Ramaphosa rally continues in South Africa as the new President delivered his State of the Nation address.
Now, Johannesburg was up again. It's now up 5 percent since Jacob Zuma resigned and the rand has pushed to a three-year high against the U.S.
dollar. South Africa's president is declaring a new dawn for his country.
In his first State of the Nation address, President Ramaphosa painted a stark vision of a troubled country and laid out an ambitious plan to fix
it. Almost three decades after apartheid, Mr. Ramaphosa says South Africa remains an unequal society where economic prosperity is defined by race and
gender. He said tough decisions will be made to solve the country's economic problems and pledged to close the fiscal gap and stabilize debt
and restore state-owned businesses.
On the question of youth unemployment, accelerate the land distribution program and fulfill promises for free education to the poor. There was one
problem, he seemed to be targeting above all else, rooting out corruption.
CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: We must fight corruption. We must fight fraud and collusion, as well as in the private sector with the
same purpose and intensity that we want to fight it in the public sector.
We must remember that every time someone receives a bribe, there is someone who is prepared to pay it. We will make sure that we deal with both of
QUEST: David McKenzie, late night for you, David, as it has been all week, but we're grateful. You are with us from Cape Town. We've heard all of
this before in some shape or form. I mean, maybe not from a new president, but you know, the idea of rooting out corruption. Do we have any hope,
other than the hope of the start for a new administration that anything will change?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hope is based on future prospects, so we have to wait and see, Richard, but certainly the general
consensus in South Africa, from what I am seeing is that it is a hopeful moment and I think the difference with Cyril Ramaphosa talking about
corruption and that of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma who did also talk about rooting out corruption is that Cyril Ramaphosa isn't implicated in that
corruption like Zuma was and still is.
And you've seen some swift moves in just the few days that the net is falling on some who have been involved in this alleged corruption and Mr.
Ramaphosa did go into some specifics saying he wanted to deal with the National Prosecuting Authority, clean up state-owned enterprises and root
out corruption wherever it is found.
So, at this stage, some optimism that he will actually do it or at the very least, let those parts of the government work without him getting too
[16:20:00] QUEST: Now, last night I asked you the question about the mood in South Africa. It obviously had just been appointed. Now, they are at
the State of the Nation and you had a chance - I realized, the Western Cape is not typical of the rest of the country, but from your watching of the
evening news and reading of the morning papers, what is the mood?
MCKENZIE: I think the mood is optimistic. I think a lot of people have been sick and tired in their view of the last nine years under Jacob Zuma.
So, there is a sense of optimism and also what I find interesting, Richard is people wanting to get involved. You see it on social media. You see it
just talking to people on the street now. Maybe that's just the immediate afterglow of a new president who is talking about optimistic issues, but
I've also spoken to business leaders and those who active in business some time ago. You do get a sense that they're willing to lend a hand and
Ramphosa is reaching out to those kinds of people and maybe, he will form some kind of kitchen cabinet to do just that.
QUEST: David, good to see you, sir. Thank you for your hard work this week first and have a good weekend.
Now, as we continue tonight on "Quest Means Business," it's the start of a Happy Lunar New Year for some Chinese investors. The SEC has blocked the
sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange. In a moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Brooklyn's Borough Park, the neighborhood's Jewish community is head over heels for fur-felt hats made from Spain.
MIGUEL GARCIA-GUTIERREZ, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ROCHE FACTORY: Our main customers are related to some communities that value the use of the hat
like for example the Jewish community that for them it's a real obligation to wear it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ISESA was founded in 1885 when two entrepreneurs decided to make hats for Seville's civilians. Today, the company's largest
market are Jewish communities in the United States.
GARCIA-GUTIERREZ: For the Jewish market, our main target is to keep the quality all over because we understand that the quality and regularity of
our product is the main value that we have for them.
QUEST: Cyberattacks are taking a serious toll on the U.S. economy and according to some numbers, it could be costing as much as 1 percent of GDP
A new report from the White House's Council of Economic Advisers estimates a malicious cyberactivity costs between $57 billion $109 billion in that
year 57 to 109 - an extraordinary large amount of money that includes denial of service, no access, the data theft and use of ransomware. The
report says the culprit was states like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea along with criminals, activists and corporate competition.
So, in this scenario, bear in mind, this is the background to why you now understand particularly when it comes to China that the U.S. is blocking
another planned Chinese acquisition. China's takeovers of U.S. companies have faced increasing scrutiny under this administration.
Here is the latest. In September, a $1.3 billion deal to buy a U.S. chip maker, Lattice was rejected. In January, Ant Financials $1.2 billion offer
to buy MoneyGram was vetoed.
Now, this week the SEC has blocked - it's $20 million, it's almost nothing. It's the takeover of the Chicago Stock Exchange and there are other deals
waiting for approval such as the proposed investment into the U.S. hedge fund, Skybridge Capital.
Another area of contention with China is steel. Now, the U.S. may be on the verge of imposing hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, -
aluminum, if you like.
[16:25:00] President Trump has now received the recommendations from his Commerce Secretary. Patrick Gillespie joins me. There were three options,
PATRICK GILLESPIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There were three.
QUEST: There were three options. He can do what?
GILLESPIE: Tariffs across the board, Richard. Quotas across the board or tariffs and quotas at specific major importers of steel and aluminum. We
are looking at - when you talk to farmers, to economists, this sets a dangerous precedent because the Trump administration says these steel and
aluminum imports risks U.S. national security. It's a very odd reasoning and it allows other companies to use that reasoning for retaliatory
QUEST: The national security fig leaf, when used properly, it's not a fig leaf, of course, but the national security exception for tariffs is used
GILLESPIE: Very rarely. The last time this case, this law was used, it's a law from 1962 and it was last used in 2002; over 15 years ago and that
was used during the George Bush administration. I spoke to two economists from that administration who say it was a mistake.
GILLESPIE: Because it hurt more American jobs than it - it did protect U.S. steel jobs, but it ultimately hurt U.S. auto jobs and you know, I
mean, think about the implications we're talking about right now. We've got Molson Coors, one of the biggest American beer maker saying, "We make
beer, aluminum cans. Our beer is going to be more expensive and that is going to cost jobs and make beer more expensive for Americans."
QUEST: You set the scene nicely for us. Michael Furman is the former U.S. Trade Representative, the USTR, he joins me now live from Washington.
Ambassador, do you agree? The use of - well, firstly, the use of tariffs per se is usually a bad idea and the national security exception is
MICHAEL FURMAN, FORMER U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, Richard, first, I think we should stipulate that there is a problem here with China and its
overcapacity in steel and aluminum that's distorting global markets and we should also stipulate that we would want to have a strong steel and
aluminum industry here domestically.
The question as you raise is, is this the right tool to do that and it's quite a blunt tool because it hits a lot of other countries. China is
actually not even in the top five in terms of the sources of imports of aluminum and steel in to our country, so we are hitting a lot of our
closest friends and allies including some of our NATO and military allies and making it under the Rubrik of national security, so it is a strange use
of this law.
QUEST: Right, but yet putting it into the wider political context. We saw with the last set of tariffs that were introduced, washing machines and the
like that were introduced by the administration and the attempted attack on Bombardier which was rejected by the ITC. Do you see a more muscular trade
policy coming from Washington?
FURMNAN: Well, I think this administration is certainly is looking through these trade tools to send a message to other countries, but as Patrick
said, it is going to come at the cost of basically imposing taxes on imports which raises the cost to consumers or downstream industries. It
makes it harder for workers in those industries to keep their jobs.
And again, it depends on what your target is. If your target is China, this isn't necessarily the best tool to use. You'd want to build a global
coalition of countries to put pressure on China to reduce overcapacity and that takes a lot of good diplomacy when you are putting tariffs on their
exports, they tend not to want to cooperate with you, vis-a-vis other countries.
QUEST: Right, but the trend is there. This administration, and I recognize you came from a different administration|, but this
administration has made it clear to anyone who will listen that they will use the blunt instrument of tariffs and barriers where they see necessary.
FURMAN: Now, that's right. And I think the risk is - it's really two risks. One is, is that it opens the door to retaliation, as other
countries challenge our use of tariffs and perhaps the even greater risk is it opens the door to imitation. If we climb down from taking the moral
high ground of trying to prevent other countries from adopting protectionist policies, other countries are very, very willing and eager to
impose protectionist obstacles to our exports and 14 million Americans owe their jobs to exports.
Those jobs are at risk if other countries start copying us and imposing tariffs on our exports.
QUEST: Did you ever think we'd be back to the tit for tat days of tariffs?
FURMAN: Well, look, it's always been there and you want to focus the use of these tools in a very narrow way. That's why previous administrations
have been cautious to use the national security tools because we don't want to lose that tool by being challenged for using it for the wrong purposes
and that's why we have the World Trade Organization, why we go there and we get cases decided in our favor and they almost always get decided in our
favor and that gives us the right to impose tariffs in other countries if they don't change their practices.
[16:35:00] QUEST: Ambassador, good to have you on the program tonight. Thank you. Have a good weekend, sir.
FURMAN: Thanks for having me.
QUEST: As we continue on Quest Means Business, tonight, not frustrated, just curious, Angela Merkel says she's still waiting for Brexit clarity
from the UK. The German chancellor was welcoming the British Prime Minister who were both in Berlin.
Hello. I'm Richard Quest. There is more "Quest Means Business" in just a moment. We are going to discuss who could be or should be or may be South
Africa's next finance minister and the new marvel film "Black Panther" springs on to the screen and is set to smash box office records. As we
continue tonight, this is CNN, and on this network, the facts always come first.
The Deputy Attorney General of the United States has announced the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities in the
special counsel's probe. They allegedly tried to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton during the election. The White House is pointing out
there's no claim of collusion and no claim that the election outcome was actually affected.
Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI says the agency is investigating why it failed to act on a tip about the confessed school shooter in
Parkland in Florida. The FBI says a caller did give information about Nikolas Cruz's gun ownership and a desire to kill people. The agency did
not follow that up.
Friends and family have gathered today in Florida to remember 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, the first of Wednesday's 17 school massacre victims to be
laid to rest. The police say 19-year-old Cruz has confessed to the shootings. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
South Africa's new political era has officially dawned. President Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered his State of the Nation speech shortly after being
sworn into office. He replaces Jacob Zuma who resigned after being ousted by his party. The new president promises to crack down on corruption.
Theresa may and Angela Merkel, two leaders of major European economies that much we know and yet not exactly peas in a pod when they met in Berlin,
seeking a breakthrough in the Brexit deadlock.
Some would arguably say this picture sums up the sort of mood, one not sure what's going on in what Britain wants and one not sure exactly what Britain
wants and where it's going.
On the question of Brexit, well, Angela Merkel says we deplore it. Theresa May wants a trade partnership. Angela Merkel says she's not frustrated.
She's - this is on the question of Brexit. We deplore it. She says, we are not frustrated. We are just curious about the relationship that the
Now, answer the question of what the relationship should look like. Well, Angela Merkel says that cherry picking is not necessary. She earlier said
with Theresa May that any deal needs to work both ways.
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF UK: This isn't just a one-way street. I think that's what's important. Actually, I want a future economic
partnership that is good for the European Union, is good for Germany, is good for the other members of - remaining members of the European Union and
is good for the United Kingdom and I believe that through negotiations, we can achieve just that economic relationship alongside, obviously ensuring
we continue to have a good security partnership, too.
QUEST: However, put this into the context, Angela Merkel is still trying to formalize her coalition deal for a new government in Germany. So,
that's the situation there.
South Africa has gone further and has already ushered in a new Presidential era of Cyril Ramaphosa who has promised to bring about a new dawn for his
country. He won't do it alone.
South Africa's next finance minister will be charged with pulling the country out of an economic downturn and there are three men emerging as
favorites. By the way, all three of them have been on this program many times. You'll be familiar with Pravin Gordhan, served twice as finance
minister with Jacob Zuma, as well as the three years serving as Minister of Corporate Governance.
Trevor Manuel as Finance Minister under three presidents including Nelson Mandela and then, the current Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba who gave a
quick (inaudible) announced by local media if he will be keeping his job. He repeated the words of the former president Jacob Zuma's resignation,
"See you again somewhere." All very strange, you might add.
Eleni Giokos joins us from Johannesburg with more on this. Oh, come on, it's Friday night. What's the local media saying? Who do they think is
going to get the job?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, look, you've got four days to the budget. We know that it's got to be someone that understands the
treasury, that the world - the investor community trusts, that South Africans trust and interestingly, you mentioned Trevor Manuel. He actually
went for a walk with Cyril Ramaphosa at 6 a.m. the day after Jacob Zuma resigned.
So, that was all over Twitter. They ran into a running club and you know, took some pictures and so everyone is asking, you know, what will happen
next with Trevor Manuel? Trevor Manuel also spoke to the local media today, Richard and he said that we've got a very good relationship and I've
worked with Cyril Ramaphosa in the past and we're very good friends.
We know Pravin Gordhan is trusted and you know, there's also some questions about maybe, Mcebisi Jonas who was Pravin Grodhan's deputy might be in the
running as well. He's got four days to decide and I am telling you that everyone is saying, if you want to restore credibility to the treasury,
there has got to be a change before the budget next week.
QUEST: So, let's talk about the incumbent who has been on this program, again many times, I mean, is it pretty much accepted that he's out.
GIOKOS: I don't think so, Richard because I mean, today, he said that he serves at the pleasure of the President. We know that, he has in the past
been called a Zuma man and a Zuma loyalist. He has been put in place by President Jacob Zuma. Cyril Ramaphosa's relationship with him is
relatively unknown, but interestingly, Gigaba actually came out on CNN just this week in favor of former President Zuma stepping down which was an
interesting u-turn and from the sentiment we saw today from him perhaps, I don't know, it's up in the air. Who knows?
QUEST: You'll be there to cover it when it happens. Eleni, have a good Friday night, thank you for staying up late tonight.
QUEST: Abebe Selassie is the Director of the IMF's Africa Department, joins me from Washington. Good to see you. Do not worry, sir. We shall
not take you deep into the realms of politics that can be best left elsewhere.
Instead, let me ask you to delve deep into the economics which could be just as difficult when you look at South Africa which arguably has
squandered so much of its economic achievement.
[16:40:00] ABEBE AEMRO SELASSIE, DIRECTOR, IMF'S AFRICAN DEPARTMENT: So,, you know, South Africa is indeed an economy which has tremendous potential
and its economy growing rapidly. It's not just important for the country, the people for creating the millions of jobs that the country needs but
also really, for much the rest of the world, being of the rest of sub Saharan Africa.
So, we're looking forward to working with the new administration and the new economic policies that they are going to - that we are expecting him to
QUEST: The talk is they may need some help from the IMF and I presume you stand ready with the checkbook if necessary?
SELASSIE: South Africa does not need an IMF program. You know, one of the great things about South Africa is that they have very deep and liquid
financial markets. The macroeconomic health of the economy is reasonably robust. The issues really in South Africa for the last few years having to
do with lack of confidence which has held back private investment.
Let me give you just a small example. Growth you know, last year was of the order of 1 percent. If private investment was to revert back to the
levels that it was at in 2011, growth could be as high as 3 percent or 4 percent. So, really you know, removing the policy uncertainty that's held
back private investment is the key thing that we need.
QUEST: Right, so what do you want for whoever is prime minister or sorry, for finance minister, whoever gets the job, what are those policies that
will create the necessary confidence to boost private investment in the economy?
SELASSIE: Okay. So, you know, there's been quite a bit of uncertainty about the direction of policies in a number of areas. I think mining is
one example where I understand the mining charter has been under discussion and has not been finalized, so resolving those kinds of issues to enable
new investment in mining will be one of the challenges, but you know, other parts of the economy also could be opened up a bit more.
So, you know looking to foster new companies through the telecom sector and the like to create more competition will be important and these things,
Richard, just if I may add, these things are important to help improve real wages and standards of living for people. So, looking at the cost
competitiveness of sectors will be important.
QUEST: The president made much in his State of the Nation today about the need to tackle root and branch corruption within South Africa's economy.
Now, you as head of the African Department, you're well-familiar with these arguments. There is - would you agree, there is probably no single issue
greater that he needs to tackle?
SELASSIE: You know, strengthening institutions and making sure that government accounts are transparent that you get value for money for
government investment is incumbent - is important for all economies around the world and more so, of course for economies where the resources are
It's very complex and deep part of the social contract, how can you tax people if you're not showing that you're using the money wisely. So, you
know, making sure that the resources the government has at its disposal is being used wisely, it will, indeed be important for South Africa as it is
in other countries.
QUEST: Good to see you, sir. Thank you for joining us tonight. (Inaudible) thanks.
SELASSIE: Thank you.
QUEST: As we continue tonight, rarely does a movie garner the buzz but the Black Panther has.
Opening weekend upon and ticket sales are in. Marvel's newest hero could be on his way to record-breaking highs.
Marvel's latest superhero movie, "Black Panther" is set to break records. Black Panther is more than a box office success, it's an achievement in
black cinema culture.
Black Panther is now Number 4 on the all-time on Fandango's top pre- sellers. Joining me from the online ticket company is Chris Witherspoon. Well, good to see you, sir.
CHRIS WITHERSPOON, CORRESPONDENT, FANDANGO: Hello. Happy to be here.
QUEST: Look, I don't want to read you, I just had a sort of a message from - the Hollywood reporter sent an alert saying, "Will Black Panther be a
watershed moment for black studio films?" Answer your own question.
WITHERSPOON: I think it already is. I mean, looking at these presales and the tickets that we're selling right now at Fandango, it's our number one
superhero film pre-seller ever. This is incredible to think about the kind of films that have come out and the kind of support that you've seen in the
Marvel universe, but this movie is breaking all of those records.
QUEST: Why? Is it a good movie?
WITHERSPOON: Well, I think it's groundbreaking. I think that it's not just a movie, it's a cultural experience when you go and see this film and
it's groundbreaking. If you look at Twitter, this film was trending. One of the number one trending films on Twitter last year.
QUEST: You haven't told me why.
[16:45:00] WITHERSPOON: Well, I think because people are excited to see this to be a ground-breaking moment in cinematic history, to see a black
superhero. We never have seen an all-black cast in the Marvel cinematic universe the way we are seeing it in this film and the cast is phenomenal.
It's beautifully shot. Ryan Coogler directs it magnificently and again, to see Black Panther and Wakanda and what it represents is transformational
QUEST: Right, but what I have been reading about it over the last few days, obviously, there is the cultural aspect, the all-black cast and the
way it has been put together and the Marvel and that (inaudible), but it's still got to be a good movie. In your view, is it a good movie?
WITHERSPOON: It gets an excellent movie. I love superhero films and I'd say, there's some (inaudible). You have a lot of action. It's great
storytelling and again people have been waiting to see Black Panther and what this Wakanda world really like for a long time. It's been - this came
out in the '60s as a comic book, and I think it's done very, very well.
But I have to say, for me personally, it hits home because it is a film with an all-black cast and we've been going to see films for a long time
and not really seeing people like me represented on the big screen and now it's happening in this world.
QUEST: But I guess, I'd better go see it. Assuming I can get a ticket of course. You don't happen to get a ticket by any chance.
WITHERSPOON: I think I can get you one.
QUEST: Are you sure?
WITHERSPOON: I think - maybe I can, yes.
QUEST: Good on you, buddy. Good to see.
WITHERSPOON: I know a few people.
QUEST: Well, thank you. Well, before we go for that. We'll go see the movie. Thank you very much.
Whether we can go to the movies with good guest or it's more my style, a little fine dining, a table for one, please! This is nice.
In the restaurants of France and elsewhere, you'll hear plenty of talk about the French leadership under Emmanuel Macron. Some say France is
back. So, how better to put this to the test with a lesson in cookery and politics from the Michelin award-winning chef, Pierre Gagnaire.
[16:50:00] QUEST: Just like the Eiffel Tower, the glasses sparkle at Pierre Gagnaire's famous Paris restaurant. Behind the serenity, a frantic
kitchen. At the helm, Pierre Gagnaire steers his staff.
On the menu is modern French cuisine. On the wall, three Michelin stars.
PIERRE GAGNAIRE, MICHELIN AWARD-WINNING CHEF: Yes.
QUEST: Not just one.
GAGNAIRE: Two and six months after, three.
QUEST: You have to be excellent every night?
GAGNAIRE: Lunch and dinner.
QUEST: Enough talking. Time for a cooking lesson. First apron up. So, nice and simple. I'm hopeless.
QUEST: This is not going very well. We haven't even got the apron on. I'm exhausted. We haven't even done anything. Right? A souffle. No --
GAGNAIRE: With butter and sugar with cacao (inaudible), the chocolate piece, bitter chocolate. A touch of salt.
GAGNAIRE: Two hundred degrees. Okay.
GAGNAIRE: Taste it.
QUEST: It's very good. Delightful. Very good. Let us sit down and talk about France.
QUEST: Right, there will be more Pierre Gagnaire in a moment when we will talk politics and the Macron revolution. Yes, it really is do it yourself
in this restaurant.
Service hasn't been very good in this restaurant, but the view is quite nice. Look, if you want to get an idea of the sort of difficulties that
Emmanuel Macron is going to face in his restructuring of the French economy. Think about it, seven French Unions are calling for strikes in
protest of government cutbacks. A day of action has been called for March 22nd. Arguably, this is going to be when the real opposition hits because
government reforms are a key part of Macron's agenda.
So, the second part of my interview, I asked our French Chef Pierre Gagnaire who has three Michelin stars, I asked him about President Macron's
(VIDEO TAPE BEGINS)
QUEST: So, chef, we constantly are being told mainly by the President Macron, France is back. Do you feel a new spirit in this country at the
GAGNAIRE: Yes, and no. Yes, because this guy is very clever, very young. He is very ambitious. But French, wait and see. We shall see.
His wife is a star in France. Everybody loves his wife because she's clever. She's eager. She is not a pinup, but she has the French touch.
QUEST: He has given France an energy.
QUEST: A youth.
QUEST: Almost --
QUEST: -- Kennedy-esque.
GAGNAIRE: Yes, absolutely.
QUEST: Almost Kennedy-esque, isn't it, and the French people are responding to that. Some are, some aren't, but do you feel that here in
[16:55:00] GAGNAIRE: Absolutely, yes. Wait --
QUEST: Interestingly, for businesses like you.
QUEST: For restaurants, for small business --
GAGNAIRE: It's too early to say that.
GAGNAIRE: Yes --
QUEST: Because he is very pro-business. He likes business.
GAGNAIRE: Yes, but --
QUEST: Labor reforms.
GAGNAIRE: Yes, but I have told you of the reality, we must wait, but everybody, I think we are on the good way, true. The point of the story is
fantastic, I think because it is the same profile, elegant, quiet, under - when he say, I don't know, he says, I don't know. You know, and we love
that, the French.
QUEST: French love elegance.
QUEST: I mean, you never hear somebody saying, Theresa May's cabinet (inaudible) - the Minister is elegant.
GAGNAIRE: We are elegant in this head, not elegant with the tie.
GAGNAIRE: Not only that.
QUEST: Not only that.
GAGNAIRE: The way to reason, the way to look at the people, the way to be at the good place at the good moment. He's got (inaudible).
QUEST: Chef, thank you. It's been wonderful.
GAGNAIRE: Thank you. Thank you. Sorry for my English, huh. I do my best.
QUEST: What's your next restaurant? Where is your next restaurant?
GAGNAIRE: My next restaurant, we opened an Italian restaurant in Paris, yes. Because --
GAGNAIRE: Yes, an Italian --
QUEST: Are going to open?
QUEST: An Italian restaurant --
GAGNAIRE: In Paris.
QUEST: In Paris.
GAGNAIRE: Yes, in May.
QUEST: Are you mad?
GAGNAIRE: It's the sun. It's the tomatoes. It's the garlic.
QUEST: Chef --
GAGNAIRE: Thank you.
QUEST: Thank you very much.
GAGNAIRE: Thank you.
QUEST: And then - right. I shall come back again.
GAGNAIRE: Thank you.
QUEST: I'll mention your name to get a table.
(VIDEO TAPE ENDS)
QUEST: Still - something just to titillate a Friday evening. A profitable moment after the break.
Tonight's profitable moment, the French economic experiment, well, it's already bearing fruit. You see it with the CAC quarante which is up 7
percent and then you look at what's happening with Cyril Ramaphosa in South Africa. The new leadership there and the market is up 5 percent or 6
percent in just a few days.
Put all of these together, and you're starting to see an optimism and yet on the other side of the Atlantic with the United States, trade tariffs on
steel, windows and the like from the Trump Administration could end up with a - to jeopardize much of what's seen as good at the moment.
These are complicated times. The markets are extremely nervous, but there are definitely light bits for us to look forward to with optimism. Such
the Macron changes, the Ramaphosa government in South Africa and yes, the market did pull back and recover good 50 parts of its losses so far this
And that's "Quest Means Business" for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. See
you next week.