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Russia Faces Retribution from Britain over the Spy Poisoning Case, what Might that Punishment be from Theresa May; France's Finance Minister Says Europe is United and Ready for a Trump Trade War; French Finance Minister says I don't want to fight with one of the closest allies of France and of Europe but if it is a necessity to protect our interests, if it proves to be necessary to take strong measures, to protect our interests, to protect our jobs, to protect our industry, to not have any doubt about that, we will take the necessary strong measures to protect our own interests; CNN Partnering with Young People around the World for Student Led Day of Action Against Modern-Day Slavery

Aired March 12, 2018 - 17:00   ET


Aired 5-6p ET>





hour ago, time difference of summertime means that the Dow closed just down a hundred and fifty-seven points a sort of quiet miserably sort of

day, Uh, a bit like that gravel which was a bit of a pathetic one but start of a new week, down goes the Dow, record on the NASDAQ, trading is over

today, it's Monday, it's March the 12th.

Tonight, Russia faces retribution from Britain over the spy poisoning case, what that might that punishment be from Theresa May.

France's finance minister, on tonight's program says, "Europe is united and ready for a Trump trade war."

I'm Richard Quest, live from the 'World Financial Capital,' New York City where of course, "I mean business."


QUEST: Good evening.

We begin tonight with Russia facing the prospect of yet another round of economic retribution as Britain Prime Minister says she's ready to take

extensive measures over the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter.

Theresa May says, "It's highly likely," in her words that, "Moscow is behind the attack," which took place on British soil. A deadline has now

been set, Moscow has until midnight on Tuesday to explain why a military- grade nerve agent, developed in Russia, was used in the attack.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM & LEADER OF THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY: Should there be no credible response, we will conclude

that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom -


MAY: - and I will come back to this House and set out the full range of measures that we will take in response.

Mr. Speaker, this attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent, in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an

indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom -


MAY: - putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk. And we will not tolerate such a brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil.


QUEST: CNN's Phil Black is in Salisbury where the attack took place. CNN International Correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is in Moscow.

Starting with you Phil, murder, brazen, innocent, victims, the British government must be pretty sure that this nerve agent, this nerve chemicals,

Phil Black, either deliberate from the Russians or as Theresa May said, 'they lost control of it through rogues'?


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those are the two scenarios, they're painted (ph) here, the only two options really, they've given the Russian

government to respond to. Richard, they said that this was direct action by Russia or as you say Russia has lost control of a quantity of this

devastate - or potentially devastating chemical weapon and that it's been used by someone else.

How Russia comes back and respond to those two possible scenarios, precisely what explanation it gives will determine as you heard there,

Theresa May describing what detailed response --

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: -- the British government decides to take from there. And she wouldn't be drawn specifically on what those options would be, today.

QUEST: So, Fred Pleitgen, before Theresa May spoke Russia had said, 'well she's got to tell us some information before we even going to consider what

might happen. She's now send some information -


QUEST: - I mean look this stuff either came from Russia or it didn't?

PLEITGEN: Well I mean that's what Theresa May is saying, certainly to the Russians, they're trying to muddy the waters where they believe that the

waters are a little muddier than that, they'll obviously want to see what sort of evidence there is out there.

I mean what Phil is saying is most certainly correct, the British Parliament wouldn't come out and make such a strong statement and then also

demand an explanation. They've simply (ph) set an ultimatum; they weren't fairly sure about what they had in their hands.

And I think it's quite interesting to see the response from the Russians because Richard it seemed to me as though they may have even been caught

off guard a little bit on how forceful Theresa came out and that ultimatum that she said.

I want to read to you just a little bit --

QUEST: Right.

PLEITGEN: -- of the response that we got from Maria Zakharova, she is the spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, she says, "This is a circus show

in British Parliament. The conclusion is obvious. This is another information and political campaign based on provocation." That's the

script that we've heard from the Russians in the past you know, saying all this is essentially anti-Russian propaganda aimed at making the relations


She didn't talk about this ultimatum. She didn't talk about the case itself about what exactly happened to this script also, it seems to me as

though the Russians certainly were not prepared for the forceful speech that we heard there in British Parliament.

QUEST: Phil Black, I mean the gravity of this is really extraordinary. They could have [0:05:16] been I mean you know, three people are seriously

injured some critically but you know, there could've been loss of life on a devastating scale. The British how - I mean are they spitting feathers?

BLACK: Yes. I think that's - that's what you're getting at there, Richard, is why there is so much passion in Parliament and also that very

much represents the reason behind the strength of feeling in Salisbury too, it's what could have been, how bad could this have been.

You're right, fortunately three people seriously harmed, two of them the Skripals, they're still pretty, quite unwell, the police officer who helped

them is getting better, 18 others treated doing OK now but potentially how bad could this have -- could this have been.

What the people who want to know is, how was this substance brought into --

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: -- their community, how was it then deployed and where and those sorts of details that are very much just (ph) the focus of the

investigation here on the ground --

QUEST: Right.

BLACK: -- will allow people here to determine to what extent the community itself was put at risk.

QUEST: Fred Pleitgen, caught - even if caught red-handed with a bag of swag and a big arrow saying, 'it was him what done it,' is it ever likely

that Russia would admit, either they'd lost control of this nerve agent or that they - that they - their hand was in it?

PLEITGEN: No. No, I don't - I don't think that neither case or in any case the Russians would ever admit that they were behind anything like


I mean if we look back for instance on the Alexander Litvinenko case in 2006 where apparently, he was poisoned by a radioactive substance that was

only manufactured in Russia, then and certainly - and they are still denying that as well, being involved with that or having lost control over

any sort of substance -

QUEST: Well -

PLEITGEN: - it certainly seems highly unlikely that they would admit to it. It's interesting because they also don't really offer any sort of any

other explanation as to what exactly might happen.

They say look you've got to come to us with the facts and then we'll respond to that. We're certainly not going to acknowledge anything -

QUEST: Right.

PLEITGEN: - on our own Richard.

QUEST: Fred and Phil, thank you.

Now let's - let's get more into what the reaction might be, what are the opportunities and what are the potential ramifications.

The U.K. is contemplating 'a robust response,' in the Prime Minister's words. Russian activist, Alexei Navalny says, if Russia is proved

culpable, then sanctions should be aimed at three surnames: Abramovich; Usmanov; and Shuvalov. Abramovich of course, Roman Abramovich owns Chelsea

Football Club; Alisher Usmanov is a stakeholder in Arsenal Football Club; and Igor Shuvalov owns property in London.

Joining me now is the former, British Ambassador to Russia, Sir Tony Brenton.

OK Sir Tony (ph), first of all, so we know where you stand on this, do you believe that Russia either officially or through rogue activity was behind


SIR ANTHONY RUSSELL "TONY" BRENTON, FORMER AMBASSADOR THE RUSSIA: Yes. I do. I mean the Prime Minister would not have said what she said without

being pretty sure. And I think the distinction between Russia acting officially and with some sort of rogue element is not really a distinction.

Russia uses awful - an awful lot of task forces (ph), it operates around the world and in practice the people who did it, they are the Russian state

one -

QUEST: Right.

BRENTON: - way or another.

QUEST: Right. What are the options? Come on then, what are the options? There are already sanctions in some cases against Russia as a result of

Crimea and Ukraine so what other options, hard choices, does the Prime Minister have at her disposal?

BRENTON: Well, I mean, they'll - they'll be a first step, which is a road you in the United States have already been down is that we throw out a lot

of Russian diplomats, we tighten up contacts with Russian intelligence agencies, we make life a lot more difficult for the beasts (ph) of Russia

which have been involved in this.

More on your economic terrain, of course a lot of Russians, a number of names have already been identified have significant property in the United

Kingdom, which is very difficult to explain on the basis of their salaries.

We have instruments in hand and we are working -

QUEST: But -

BRENTON: - on more to enable us to climb down on those and confiscate their property.

But can I add one particular point for your United States audience. Our United Kingdom response will be no doubt robust but it will be immensely

amplified if we can get support from our Western allies, most notably the United States.

If you and other NATO members take similar actions to what we are now contemplating that will make the impact on Russia that much greater and

make the likelihood of what has just happened in Salisbury, that much less on the streets of your cities.

QUEST: Right. But that of course takes you straight into the whole area of the unwillingness seemingly of Donald Trump to want to openly criticize

Russia, certainly not Putin. I mean you know, obviously as a result of the election and the meddling in the election. But even today Sarah Sanders at

the White House briefing would not go along with what the Prime Minister said about Russia being the culprit.

BRENTON: Well I [0:05:07] understand that you have complexities with regard to your Russia policy at the moment. All I can say is that

something awful has happened here in the U.K., your closest ally, we are going to do what we can to persuade the Russians -

QUEST: Right.

BRENTON: - compel the Russians not to do it again. We look to you to find a way through your difficulties to help us.

QUEST: Tony - so Tony, the final point though is I know you diplomats love to talk about a proportionate response to these things but if you bear in

mind what was done here, I mean somebody attempted murder and the potential for much worse in an English town, on a large scale, a proportionate

response means a dramatic response?

BRENTON: Yes. And I'm sure the response will be. I mean dramatic is not a word that we (INAUDIBLE) in English use but we'll be robust. But we are

also conscious -

QUEST: Right.

BRENTON: - that at the end of the day Russia remains a major power with whom we are all going to have to do business so we need to demonstrate to

the Russians that the benefits of doing this sort of thing are not worth the cost that we can impose but at the same time find avenues for

cooperation with them where those also exist.

QUEST: Sir Tony, thank you for joining us. We'll wait to see what the diplomatic robust response looks like.

France's economy minister has warned his country doesn't want a trade war but is prepared to take strong measures if one should break out. Bruno Le

Maire spoke to me earlier and you'll hear from him in just a moment.

But it's the latest threat that we are tracking in our trade war-room. So, in the war room as you will recall, I'll show you exactly what has been

happening. Each side is already showing up its arsenal of trade weapons.

We've got steel and aluminum that the United States wants massive trade tariffs on. In the United States they've already talked about, bourbon

(ph) from the U.S.; jeans, Levi jeans; Harley-Davidson motorcycles. And China has the potential for tax on soybeans that will be put there.

So now with the weapons out and about, the generals are laying out their strategy. We've just heard and we'll show you in a moment from Bruno Le

Maire, the French Finance Minister, putting the strong case in Europe backed up by an ally in Brussels, the Trade Commissioner who has said quite

clearly, "The E.U. will stand up to bullies."

And yet at the same time Donald Trump seems to be opening up negotiations, sending across the Atlantic (INAUDIBLE) Wilbur Ross, the Commerce

Secretary, the try and see is there a deal that can be done on other forms of trade policy and barriers, U.S. tariffs for example, hurting farming


And then China with its general, the Chinese Commerce secretary, saying "We can handle any challenges. There'll be no winners in this trade war."

You see how the world is already starting to break out here.

Well as I say, Bruno Le Maire, the France Economy Minister said, "Europe is ready to stand together and fight."


BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH ECONOMY MINISTER: I really think that we have to find a common response to the decisions of the Trump's administration. We

have a problem with the steel overcapacity and we fully recognize that we have to address the issue. The question is where should we address the

issue of steel overcapacity and my - really my strong belief is that we have to deal with that kind of issue in the multilateral framework, either

the WTO or the G20.

But protectionism is really not the right answer and we have to make that very clear to the Trump's administration. That's why I'm advocating for a

very strong and a very united answer from the Commission and from the E.U. member states.

QUEST: What is that strong and united answer then? Is it to say, no, we won't accept these tariffs or is it to agree to negotiate as Wilbur Ross

wants to, lower (ph) other trade barriers in return, a quid pro quo?

LE MAIRE: I think that a quid pro quo is not to me the right answer. What is the right answer?

First of all, American people have to understand that it is very difficult for us to accept, as close allies to the United States, that some of the

decisions of the Trump's administration might lead to a - the close down of some very important industrial plants in Europe and especially in France

and that's - and that kind of decisions will directly jeopardize the industry and some of our important private companies in France and in


There are some things that [0:05:14] we cannot understand as close allies to the United States.

And then as far as the answers are concerned I think that we have to put everything on the table either countermeasures on some specific products

coming from the United States to do exactly the same as what the United States are doing now against the open products and second measures to

protect our industry.

So that Trump wants to protect its industry, that's something that we can fully understand but once again protectionism is not the right way of

protecting your industry.

And then everybody has to understand that we have also to protect our own industry either by countermeasures or by stricter (ph) measures.

QUEST: And this attempt by the administration to link the steel and aluminum tariffs with other issues, for instance Donald Trump says, the

U.S. is ready to drop tariffs if the E.U. lowered 'its horrific,' his words, rates on U.S. products.

Do you accept that description (ph)?

LE MAIRE: I cannot accept that because that's not the truth. It is not the truth. We are an European economy and when you're looking at the

European situation, international trade products represent more than 32 (ph) percent of the overall GDP of the European nations.

When you are comparing that to the United States, in the United States it is among - I would say 26 percent so I cannot accept that idea that the

European economy would not be open (ph) to international trade, that's not the truth.

And I want to make it very clear to the American people, we, European nations we European nations, we open (ph) nations, open to international

trade but we just want our partners to abide by the same rules, that's the key point for us, reciprocity.

And that framework, I would like to insist on the fact that we are ready to discuss what the question of steel overcapacity because I once again fully

recognize that this is a key issue but the way of addressing it by - I would say, one-way approach, a protectionist approach is not the right way

of dealing with that key issue.

QUEST: Minister, I understand you don't want a fight but are you ready for a fight if it becomes necessary?

LE MAIRE: I don't want to fight with one of the closest allies of France and of Europe but if it is a necessity to protect our interests, if it

proves to be necessary to take strong measures, to protect our interests, to protect our jobs, to protect our industry, to not have any doubt about

that, we will take the necessary strong measures to protect our own interests.

QUEST: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire talking to me (ph).

As we continue, CNN, we're partnering with young people around the world for student-led day of action against modern-day slavery on Wednesday.

Now in advance of my freedom days, CNN's Clare Sebastian will explain what freedom means to her.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN MONEY: Freedom for me is about having the ability to question things never just accepting that

those are the rules and you have to live with them. That's one of the many reasons why I wanted to be a journalist and the main reason why want to

keep being one.

If you can question things, then you have the ability to change them [0:04:07].




QUEST: Lingering fears of a U.S. trade war with the rest of the world has pushed major U.S. indices lower. We have two down, the Dow and the S&P.

The NASDAQ is at a record-high.

Let us (ph) have red today please, thank you because we obviously take the two which obviously outweighs the one and the Industrial stocks were the

worst of the day and the reason the Dow is off so much more than the others were two of the Dow components, Boeing and Caterpillar, they were the

largest losers, down more than two percent and in the price -weighted index of the Dow, that obviously has a much greater effect.

But there was a record, yes, and it was one on Friday because the NASDAQ chalked up a record and I'm going to make a mess of it so we now have 15

records for the NASDAQ so far in this year; 11 on the Dow, 14 on the (ph) S&P and of course, none in the U.K.

The markets are worried about the potential for this trade war but as you see from the NASDAQ it managed to eke out a record-high which takes me to

Clare Sebastian to explain this difference between a NASDAQ which manages to get to a record-high on Friday and today while the Dow is going the

opposite direction.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN MONEY: Well certainly they are literally in the first hour of trading on the Dow.

First of all they was this continued euphoria after that Goldilocks jobs report we got out on Friday with you know, blockbuster jobs number but not

too high wage growth and then it flipped at around 20 minutes in and I think we saw the tug-of-war between that - that euphoria of that jobs

report and the fears of the trade war creeping back in because it did hit as you say those industrials, Boeing, Caterpillar, United Technologies, the

ones that will be the worst hit by these steel and aluminum tariffs (ph).

And GE manages to eke out the best of the day, we remember that before I take (INAUDIBLE), GE was the best performer and Apple was a good performer

today so the worst strong gainers, they just couldn't overwhelm the others.

SEBASTIAN: Apple, yes, Amazon also is up 37 percent this year, the correction is a distant memory, frankly for them. Broadcom is also up

after Intel - there was a report that Intel might take them over.

QUEST: Two stories I need your quick take on. First of all, Goldman Sachs and what's likely to be happening there. Now, we don't know when

Blankfein's going but they've started to move the chess pieces around in anticipation.

SEBASTIAN: Right. Lloyd Blankfein says that you know, he felt like 'Huck Finn listening to his own eulogy,' he hasn't confirmed "The Wall Street

Journal" report on Friday that he will be leaving in 2019 but the - given that news though it was an interesting announcement from Goldman today that

Harvey Schwartz one of the co-presidents is going to be retiring, that leaves only one president left, David Solomon to be the potential

successor, that is (INAUDIBLE) but the timing of that is interesting.

He's an interesting character, (INAUDIBLE), moonlights as a - as a DJ, we have - I think we have a clip of that to show you so he clearly has

interests outside of Investment Banking.




QUEST: Good grief (ph). This man could be the next CEO of -

SEBASTIAN: The most powerful investment bank on Wall Street (ph).

QUEST: -but look at him, there he is, spinning away.

And Larry Kudlow -


QUEST: - reports are out that - reporting that Larry Kudlow has been tapped for the next director of the National Economic Council. Now Kudlow

of course a formal public economist with Bear Stearns, a very much a right- wing economist --


QUEST: -- works of course for CNBC.

SEBASTIAN: Right. CNBC Commentator but he's in favor of free trade Richard, that is a key point here. He's not going to agree with Trump on

these steel and aluminum tariffs so I think that's - that's a really interesting thing here as you say a conservative commentator, he's a

regular contributor on CNBC.

And this is according to our (INAUDIBLE), Trumps thinking as of now that doesn't mean it's necessarily going to happen but he appears to be the

front-runner today.

QUEST: Clare, thank you. Have a good day (ph).

Soon (INAUDIBLE) today (INAUDIBLE) of that (ph).

As we continue tonight, Saudi Aramco is the world's biggest oil company and its IPO could be the largest in history. It's also may be looking further

away than we first thought, CNN's John Defterios is now explaining why a delay is looking extremely likely.


JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EDITOR EMERGING MARKETS & HOST MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST: Richard, the sign seems to point to [0:05:14] Aramco IPO early in 2019 but

this boils down to a big decision that could depend on potential litigation in the United States, this would be behind the original schedule.

The "Financial Times" reports that the delay in the IPO is likely according to British officials, briefed by the Saudi delegation, officially Aramco is

holding the line saying, "A range of international options are being held under active review," but the source acknowledged that the process suggests

that if a decision is not made by April, then the IPO would likely slip to next year.

Compliance issues and a financial roadshow can take up to nine months and with Ramadan on the calendar for mid-May, (INAUDIBLE) the clock is working

against 2018. A wildcard emerged Friday during an interview, the Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid Al-Falih.



sued for you know, frivolous climate change allegations that just throws a lot of risk into our company and quite frankly Saudi Aramco is too big and

too important for the Kingdom to be subjected to that kind of risk.


DEFTERIOS: The key challenge (ph) sources suggested that the Saudi Crown Prince is eager to make a bold statement by listing on the New York Stock

Exchange which is three times the size of London but Aramco is far more complex than a Tech company like Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba which

listed in New York.

The energy giant has physical assets from the United States to China so reducing risk and maximizing return is proving more complex than the young

leader originally mapped out.



QUEST: QUEST MEANS BUSINESS from New York, as we continue tonight turning South Africa's economy from sluggish to sprightly is not going to be easy

particularly when you have something known as 'state capture,' it has to be well unwound.

As the minister responsible for unwinding, Pravin Gordhan, after the break with (ph) QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. [0:02:14]


QUEST: And I am Richard Quest. There's more of (ph) QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, in just a moment, when Pravin Gordhan tells me it's time for South Africa

to finally tackle corruption.

One of Jamaica's most popular resort is under a state of emergency. I'll speak live with the country's Tourism minister.

As we continue tonight, this is CNN and, on this network, the facts always come first.


QUEST: The British Prime Minister Theresa May says it's highly likely that Russia is responsible for the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and

his daughter. She tells Parliament that a weapons-grade nerve agent created by Russia was used to poison the pair last week in Salisbury.

Russia is calling her assertions a circus show.

A witness tells CNN that just before a deadly plane crash in the gulf, saw the plane was flying too low. Katmandu Airport manager says the plane

approached the runway from the wrong direction, but officials are still trying to determine what happened and why. At least 49 people were killed.

The plane was flying from Dhaka in Bangladesh.

France's economy minister says the EU is ready to fight if the US hits it with exports on trade tariffs. President Trump appears to warn the EU that

he is preparing for automobile tariffs along with steel and aluminum. Speaking to me on "Quest Means Business," Bruno Le Maire said, Europe would

stand united.


BRUNO LE MAIRE, ECONOMIC MINISTER, FRANCE: If it proves to be necessary to take strong measures to protect our interest, to protect our jobs, to

protect our industry, do not have any doubt about that, we will take the necessary strong measures to protect our own interests.


QUEST: The fashion industry has lost an icon, Hubert de Givenchy died on Saturday at his home in France. He was 91. His work span more than 50

years and included designs for Princess Grace, Jackie Kennedy amongst others. He is also the mastermind behind the famous little black dress

from "Breakfast At Tiffany's."

Economic growth in South Africa is set to pick up after years of stagnation according to a new report from PWC. Turning the economy around will take

an all-out effort from the new President and top ministers.

Pravin Gordhan is leading the charge to clean up the public sector plagued by corruption scandals. Now, Pravin Gordhan, former finance minister is

now the Minister for Public Enterprises. Viewers of this program will remember he previously served in government of Jacob Zuma.

I asked him to assess the scale of the challenge before him.


PRAVIN GORDHAN, MINISTER FOR PUBLIC ENTERPRISES, SOUTH AFRICA: It's a reasonably bad narrative because state-owned institutions such as our

energy institution, Eskom; our logistics institution, Transnet, and a few others were the targets of what we call state captain in South Africa, with

essentially was about massive levels of corruption to benefit a few families and to get the money out of South Africa.

So, I've been in the job for less than two weeks, but this has been a matter before the public eye in South Africa for some time now and we've

got a good feel for where the challenges are and President Ramaphosa, the head of our republic has indicated very clearly what are imperatives that

we need to work on and we have a clear line on that.

QUEST: So, what was actually taking place because South Africa is a well- functioning democracy and it has large numbers of regulators, experienced regulators, so it begs the question, how were these companies, these

utilities -- how was somebody able to state capture them?

GORDHAN: Well, as a study by several academics in South Africa has shown, and they used the concept of repurposing, which essentially means that at a

political level, a set of decisions were taken to firstly take charge of the boards of these entities, chairperson of the board and a few members of

the board, if not the whole board itself.

Secondly, ensure that these boards in a sense got rid of good people in key management positions -- CEOs, CFO's, head of procurement and some other

situations and replace them with people who would do the bidding of those who wanted to turn these into corrupt entities.

And thirdly, some fairly sophisticated mechanisms were created to extract money in one form or another; sometimes, with the assistance of accounting

professionals, financial professionals, consultants, lawyers as well.

So, you have a fairly interesting mix of people in the state and outside of the state that participated in this activity.

QUEST: Minister, last question and probably the most difficult, you were part of the government that was there when much of this took place, and

indeed, the President was part of the executive as Vice President when much of this took place. I mean, I am not suggesting for one second either of

you are culpable directly, but don't you all -- all of you who were involved...

QUEST: ... in the Zuma government, don't you all have some blame for this happening on your watch?

GORDHAN: I would say no to it because much of what has happened developed over a period of time in a very fragmented way so that one could not

actually get the picture right, and it was around the dismissal of my former colleague, Minister Nene and then ourselves, in March last year,

exactly a year ago that the picture began to take some shape.

And then of course, you might or might not be aware that we had a massive week of e-mails from the Gupta family's enterprises which helped us, as we

say in South Africa, connect the dots and get a proper picture, but to the extent that we were aware of fragmented phenomena, many people in

government both officials and politicians certainly took some brave stances to resist these developments and pay the price for that as well.

QUEST: Finally, Minister, I mean, you have been brought in to clean up this mess. Your reputation is stellar in terms of that which you did to

treasury and in taxation before you. So, arguably, they've got the right man for the job, but it's not going to be easy.

GORDHAN: Not at all, and so, getting a good team together in the Department of Public Enterprises in the first instance, but working with

colleagues in other departments as well and in the law enforcement agencies is going to be critical as we go forward.

And we'll give it our best shot that I am sure that if we talk again in six months' time or less, we can certainly give you a positive report back


QUEST: Pravin Gradhan, we'll hold him to that promise.

A mixed sky across European markets that rose more than half a percent after a complex deal to divide renewable energy company, Engie between the

utility giants E.ON and RWE. The CAC of course have gained, demanding stocks drive down the FTSE and our lovely new graphics make it clear the

way the day went.

Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach has rejected one of the British government's ideas for border with Northern Island after Brexit. The

suggestion was that people crossing the border would pre-register to avoid checks.

Leo Vardkar has said he does not see that happening. Joining me in the seat is Terence O'Rourke, the Charmain of Enterprise for Ireland. Good to

see you


QUEST: You're here of course this March day.

O'ROURKE: It is. It is the biggest tradition we do every year is the Saint Patrick's week.

QUEST: Is FTI from the United States still the most important for...

O'ROURKE: For Ireland, yes, it is. But the message we're sending out this week is the importance of Irish FTI into the US. For example, Ireland --

according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis is the ninth largest source of FTI in the US, $85 billion coming from Ireland.

So, for a country our size, to be the ninth largest source of FTI, I think we're (inaudible)...

QUEST: And what are you looking at from the United States in terms of more FTI going across to Ireland, yes.

O'ROURKE: For Ireland, yes, I mean, we've had a fantastic relations with the US for many years, great connections with the US and it's been so long,

we have now a great base in the business firm in EU, in the Euro zone and great talent and great innovation.

QUEST: All of which could be scuppered or at least, damaged by Brexit. How concerned are you that this -- the level of fudge over the border issue

is now quite remarkable.

O'ROURKE: It is very difficult. It is very hard to see a way out of this. It wasn't agreed so far. The issue for us is, we need as best free trade

we can get. UK still is still in the port market for us, so is the US, so is continental Europe. UK is still an important market. We'd like to have

the best trade across that sea as we can get, but it's going to work -- how that is going to help, we don't know because the commitment given by the UK

government in the December agreement with UE was to have no hard border, and yet, that seems now very difficult to create.

QUEST: I mean, you know, we're not going to deal with politics, but reasonable men and women can agree that this is simply you can't square

this circle. You cannot have a border if you're not prepared to take the full freedom and you're not prepared the full freedoms. Therefore, you

can't have a border. Therefore, this idea of regulatory alignment is really nonsense.

O'ROURKE: Well, it's very difficult. I mean, (inaudible) will continue to recognize this, and that's the reason -- it's very hard to be able to see

how we can square this.

QUEST: So, what do your members want?

O'ROURKE: Our companies only want the best thing, well, we'll probably go around -- we want to export. We want to trade and we want -- especially

Northern Ireland, there's an open border there and it's been remarkable. We've had pieces on it for the last 20 years since we've had the agreement,

we want that continue. It's the best economic environment for us to have and we want this to continue. A hard border would give risk for peace.

QUEST: Now, that's what everybody keeps saying. Is that true? Is it likely or possible or potential...


QUEST: ... that that hard border or any form of restriction on the border that could give a return to the hard days of past?

O'ROURKE: Well, that's the risk, sir. Who knows. But that's certainly a risk, sir. The good and fine agreement of 20 years ago said, there would

be open border between the north and south and we'd trade almost like an all out economy, which we are doing very well until the present. That's

good for Northern Ireland, good for the Republic Ireland, good for UK. It has worked very well (inaudible).

QUEST: So, you're -- let's go back to why you are here, and I mean, I suspect there's going to be a lot of people who are going to be asking you

about the Brexit question, but at the end of the day, you're here to trumpet money in and...

O'ROURKE: And talk about the potential for doing more trade with the world. There are 100,000 people employed by Irish companies in the US and

the world but is slightly more than that by US companies now for example. That's a big number of people that depend on their paychecks for Irish

companies in the US and the world. We hear it's very good and there's more to go.

There are 800 Irish companies active in the US at the moment. There are -- last year, 59 for example, Irish companies opened up in the US this year.

QUEST: Ireland, as long as I can recall has punched above its weight, obviously for political and historical reasons in the United States and

that will be seen on -- for show on Saint Patrick's Day...

O'ROURKE: Absolutely.

QUEST: ... in that sense.

O'ROURKE: The door is open for Ireland this week. It's fantastic. We've got...

QUEST: Really? Tell me, is that true?

O'ROURKE: Absolutely, because we have got Irish companies here trading in the US. They want to get new customers. The best way for them to get a

new customer to come to something say, some providers, currently, the (inaudible) to see President Trump, those are the kind of things where we

get great connections for Irish companies doing trade in the Americas, it's been fantastic.

QUEST: So, you've already got with you -- somebody has got (inaudible), the Waterford Crystal bowl with the shamrock, all ready?

O'ROURKE: All ready, all ready...


QUEST: You don't miss an opportunity do you?

O'ROURKE: I guarantee that that's ever year and that's fantastic. We're (inaudible)...


QUEST: I mean, every cliche you could possibly throw at it.

O'ROURKE: No, but it's great for business. I mean, that's an absolute.

QUEST: Really?

O'ROURKE: It is because as we say, we get meetings with -- our client companies, Irish companies are trying to explore to the US, we want to get

new customers, get meetings this week. They would not get other weeks of the year. And once again, the meeting, (inaudible) with innovative

products, then we can do business.

QUEST: Good to see you, sir.

O'ROURKE: Thank you very much.

QUEST: Thank you very much indeed. Now, as you've heard, we're partnering with young people around the world. A student-led day of action against

modern day slavery, it takes place on Wednesday.

In advance of my Freedom Day, CNN's Nima Elbagir explains what freedom means to her.


NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: For me, freedom means the freedom to dream, the freedom to believe that those dreams are

attainable and it sounds like such a simple thing, but there are so many boys and girls around the world who, whether it's for lack of education or

opportunity or a lack of that fundamental human right are brought up with the narrowest of horizons.

And so, I think that freedom to believe that you can be anything that you want to be really is the ultimate freedom.



QUEST: Jamaica has extended to May the second state of emergency that was brought on by violence in one of its most popular tourist area. It's the

Saint James Parish, which includes Montego Bay known for its glorious beach resorts and cruise terminal.

Now, 335 murders were recorded in the past last year. British, American and Canadian authorities all recommend that visitors exercise a high-degree

of caution when vacationing in the area.

Jamaica's Minister of Tourism is Edmund Bartlett joins me from London. Minister, obviously, you know, we start talking about these sorts of

things. You have states of emergencies in one of your most famous areas.

I understand that there is an element of safety for people to don't go wandering around the streets, but it's still not good to have this sort of

reputation, is it?

EDMUND BARTLETT, MINISTER OF TOURISM, JAMAICA: Well, it isn't and we don't have a reputation for not being a safe, secure and seamless destination.

Indeed, we have prided ourselves on that and we have built a reputation over time and it is a protection of that reputation which causes to act

proactively in finding the (assailants) in a little area just outside of the resort and we are cracking down on it.

And so, the understanding therefore is that here is a destination that has had a 0.1% incidence of crime against visitors over the years with 42%

repeat business that had a 12% growth last year and is really a great value proposition for all visitors, we want to keep it safe, we want to keep it

secure and we want to make it remain seamless.

QUEST: The Caribbean has had a very difficult couple of years, obviously, hit by natural disasters of one description or another. It always bounces

back, but it is getting more difficult, isn't it?

BARTLETT: Well, it is because the incidences of global disruptions are increasing as you know. The issues of climate change is of a present and

imminent danger and the vulnerabilities of small countries such as ours nestled as we are in the middle of the ocean does present a moment for us

to reflect.

So, we have to look at how do you deal with it? How do you develop the capacity to deal with resilience and to manage your process?

QUEST: The UN WTO has a new Secretary General, and we're still really waiting to get an idea of how he is going to change -- he was the former

minister from Georgia. From what you have seen so far, are you optimistic at the direction that the organization is going to take?

There have been some criticisms and some worries?

BARTLETT: Well, I am optimistic. We have had meetings. I met with them only last Friday in Berlin and we had very extensive discussions. He is

very committed to the whole business of building tourism resilience and more so to establish a global center for tourism resilience and crisis

management and an observatory to assist countries to deal with these pandemics and epidemics and global disruptions that come time to time.

He is also very committed to building out the strategy for small and medium tourism enterprises to be able to impact the growth development strategies

and to earn from tourism.

QUEST: Minister...

BARTLETT: ... so as to be a key part of the transformation process for job creation and inclusiveness.

QUEST: So, Minister, PATWA, which is the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association voted you the Worldwide Tourism Minister of the Year. I don't

think that's a little bit of a worry, but you know, it usually it means something is going to go wrong when people give you an award for something,

but congratulations for getting that.

What is it that you still love about tourism after all these years?

BARTLETT: Well, tourism is today, the fastest growing economic activity on earth. It is given more a serious growth for small and medium countries

than any other industry in recent times. And it has enormous potential for more growth.

In fact, some 1.8 billion people will travel across the world by 2030 and earn somewhere in the region of $10 trillion. That's huge and what that

has is potential for all sorts of backward and forward linkages and for growth and transformation.

We have to cash in on that and we -- and I think that this is a great moment...


BARTLETT: ... for us to use tourism as a means not only of enriching nations, but also of ensuring peace.

QUEST: Minister, congratulations on the award and it's nice to have you on the program tonight, thank you.

And if Jamaica isn't enough for you, Elon Musk has another suggestion. He claims his new rocket will become a reality next year and the destination

is Mars. After the break.

Elon Musk says his Mars rocket will be ready to fly next year and he is not interested in people saying he is too optimistic. He says, the short

flight should be possible in the first half of next year and this is what the rocket looks like.

Look at the size and the scale of this. And we've got the engines, the refilling tanks, the pillars -- Samuel Burke joins me from London.

So, who -- I am not sure, this rocket is going to fly next year to Mars? He thinks he is going to get it on its way by March? With or without


SAMUEL BURKE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: So, he says. He knows that his timelines are very optimistic. Something that he has been criticized for

in the past, Richard. We don't know if any humans will actually be on board, but what his angle here is, to get humans up there because of all of

the problems that he says we have on Earth.

Part of his timeline in mentioning all of this, Richard was discussing all of the issues that he'd like to get people away from, so if we just put

them up, he talked about carbon dioxide being a huge problem here on Earth, another Dark Age, nuclear war, World War III -- it's only Monday, Richard,

and artificial intelligence.

So, these are all the things that he says could create so many problems, and so many government regulations. This is a good show to talk about this

on. He says it's hard for business because of all of the government regulations that's why he is thinking about going up there because of all

of those issues here.

QUEST: Right, but as I read earlier in the week, last week, in his speech in Southwest, he also made clear that his space endeavors and Tesla both

nearly went bankrupt earlier on because he said, they nearly ran out of money. Now, they are much better off.

But both -- he nearly had to choose between one or the other.

BURKE: And yet, he runs so many companies and this is one of the reasons that people, when they look at this 2019 timeline, not the second half of

2019, the first half of 2019, they are nearly perplexed.

If I just go through the companies that he is running, SpaceX and Tesla are just a few of them. SpaceX we all know, Tesla used to have Solar City as a

separate company; now, they are one company. The Boring Company, Neuralink and Open AI. He has got a lot on his plate, though he gets the job done.

But you always say, you hope that people are profitable. A lot of the money that they have are people investing in the stock...


BURKE: ... Richard, hoping that one day these companies will be profitable, but for right now, the revenue just doesn't meet those

expectations just yet.

QUEST: There's a very nice handkerchief in your pocket. Is it real or is it stuck there?

BURKE: No, this one is actually real unlike those other cheap ones, but I have to say, I quite like the update for the set, Richard. I like these

new Quest logos.

QUEST: They're very nice. We call that QG -- Quest Gold, just don't try and steal it from us. Thank you very much.

I don't think that pocket square is real. I think he's just...

We'll have a profitable moment. Profitable Moment after the break.

Tonight's Profitable Moment, over the next 24 hours and a few days, you're going to hear a great deal about "My Freedom Day" here on CNN and we want

to get well and truly ahead of all of that.

Tomorrow night, "Quest Means Business" on the eve of "My Freedom Day," this program tomorrow, we're going to be coming to live from one of the world's

busiest airports, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson. The airline industry is taking an important step to crackdown on human trafficking. We will have

executives from various companies that's all about stopping modern-day slavery.

Please join me tomorrow live from Atlanta's airport as we talk about "My Freedom Day." And that's "Quest Means Business" for tonight. I'm Richard

Quest in New York, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. I'll see you in Atlanta tomorrow.