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Senate Bill to Ban TikTok; Chinese Women Battle Government; Kristalina Georgieva is Interviewed about Women in the Workplace; Traveling to Medico for Medical Tourism; Emanuel Urges China to Respect Other Countries. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 08, 2023 - 06:30   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is used by more than 100 million Americans, including my sister, who's watching, who's saying, you can't ban TikTok. No, please don't do it.

Melanie Zanona, live on Capitol Hill this morning.

Good morning to you.

This does have bipartisan support. So, what does it look like?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, good morning to you, Don. I also am going to have that song stuck in my head, and I was doing the dance. So, thank you very much.

But this bill is just the latest proposal on Capitol Hill to threaten TikTok's future in the United States. So, the Restrict Act is being sponsored by Democratic Senator Mark Warner, who heads the Intelligence Committee, and Republican Senator John Thune, a member of the GOP leadership team.

Now, their bill would not ban TikTok outright, but it would create a new process for the government to both evaluate and potentially take action against foreign technology companies if they have a presence in the United States and if there is a security risk.

And, indeed, with TikTok, the Intelligence Community has determined there are risks to American data. There are concerned that the Chinese are using the app for surveillance purposes. That is why President Joe Biden's security advisers said the president does support this bill.

But, Don, even with the bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, and even with Biden's backing, proponents of the bill acknowledge it is probably going to be very difficult to persuade those 100 million Americans, like your sister, who use the app and aren't convinced of the national security risk.

And, meanwhile, you have some lawmakers who say the bill doesn't go far enough and they are pushing for a full on ban.


LEMON: So, what is TikTok saying?

ZANONA: Well, TikTok, of course, is pushing back aggressively. A spokesperson for the company said this is going to stifle American speech. But, you know, that has not stopped policymakers from seeking tougher action against the company.


LEMON: All right, Melanie Zanona, thank you very much.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, ahead for us, gender equity is good economics. That is what the head of the International Monetary Fund chief, Kristalina Georgieva, told us ahead of today, which is International Women's Day. Our sit-down with her about the global economy and her push for women. That's ahead.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, we have the latest on the deaths of two Americans in Mexico and how it's put the spotlight on the risks of medical tourism. Our health team is going to take a look at just how common it actually really is but also how dangerous it could be.





China's rapid modernization means women have made huge economic and educational gains in recent decades, but Xi Jinping is taking China back into a patriarchal direction. Under Xi, the highest echelons of power are all men. Gender-based workplace discrimination is rampant. Major wage gaps remain. As China struggles with record low birth rates, women are now being pressured into taking on more traditional roles and to have more babies. Rights activists say public and domestic violence against women have become disturbingly common while the legal system is stacked against women.

Meanwhile, the communist party repeatedly silences and cracks down on feminists.


HARLOW: Selina Wang, in Beijing, thank you for that.

Today is International Women's Day. Through the show we're highlighting the challenges women are facing across the globe. We also want to highlight, though, a global leader who is pushing for economic inclusion and empowerment of women. Kristalina Georgieva is the head of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF has 200 member countries working together trying to stabilize the global economy. It's been called the world's financial crisis firefighter. With a pool of a trillion dollars to bail out those countries if needed.

So, I sat down with the IMF chief to talk about a lot, recession fears, Ukraine, but we began with International Women's Day.


HARLOW: I don't have to tell you, traditionally it's been men in positions of power like yours. But now we have more women. We have you. We have U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. We have European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde.

How does that reality now finally change the reality for women around the world?

KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: Having more women in position of authority brings more diversity in decision making. And the result is, we make better decisions. I still recognize that we have a long way to go, Poppy. Today, only 5 percent of CEOs of big companies are women. And we want to see more of this coming in the years ahead.

Gender equality is good economics. Labor markets participation of women has gone up, but it is way below labor market participation of men. And what is the result? We lose growth and society is poorer.

Just to give you the number. If we get women to participate in the labor market at par with men, the global GDP is going to be 20 percent bigger. So, imagine what we can do with 20 percent more that we collectively produce and then can enjoy.

HARLOW: You know, I think about this also in the context of you, as the leader of the IMF, because you're also the first managing director of the IMF who grew up behind the iron curtain. Grew up in Bulgaria. You grew up under communism. And you've talked about the real impact on ordinary people of bad policies. And I wonder if you are seeing that play out now.

GEORGIEVA: I see day in and day out, in so many countries, where poor policies punish people. And who suffers the most?


It is the most vulnerable. Women always taking the brunt of those poor policies.

I remember, as a young mother, getting up at 4:00 in the morning to go in queue to buy milk for my daughter. And I know that in many, many societies, if only we allow women to have a stronger voice in decision making, so much better would be the road ahead.

HARLOW: So, let's talk about the global economy. Don, Kaitlan and I, on this show, all the time talk about how confusing all of these economic indicators are. Such a strong labor market. The Fed moves are not getting a handle on inflation. There's real concerns about if we're headed into a recession, both in Europe and the United States.

What do you see?

GEORGIEVA: What I see is one indeed a positive surprise in terms of resilience of the economies about the U.S. and Europe, and especially the resilience of the labor market.

Also, Europe surprised us and it surprised itself with the speed with which it freed its economy from dependency on Russian oil and gas. All of this contributes positively to our prospects for growth.

So, we don't see global recession in the cards for this year. We do see, however, growth slowing down from 3.4 percent last year, to 2.9 percent this year. Good news on the labor market front. Not so good on the inflation fighting side.

HARLOW: Right.

GEORGIEVA: If we don't have price stability, we cannot have strong foundation for reviving growth.

HARLOW: What does that mean you believe Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell should do?

GEORGIEVA: Stay the course. Big data dependent, as he has been so far. And keep driving inflation down. We think it might take a little longer. So, higher for longer when it comes down to interest rates, maybe what we experience this year.

HARLOW: Your advice to the U.S. Federal Reserve is higher interest rates than expected, and holding them higher for longer. How can the result of that not be a recession?

GEORGIEVA: We still believe that there is a narrow path to avoid recession by being very careful in how the fight against inflation goes forward.

HARLOW: There are also major headwinds potentially to the U.S. economy that are self-inflicted, right? There's a big question about -- and you've talked about whether the U.S. Congress is about to shoot itself in the foot, vis-a-vis the debt ceiling.

You were just with Janet Yellen at the G-20 in India. She warned of a global financial crisis. If essentially Congress doesn't do its job and address the debt ceiling, do you have a warning to both Democrats and Republicans in Congress right now?

GEORGIEVA: We have to be very watchful on issues that can affect the world economy today. Why? Because it is a difficult time for the world, Poppy.

Adding more uncertainty to what is already highly uncertain environment, not the way to go. And knowing that the dollar is the world's preferred reserve currency, that financial stability globally depends on stability in the dollar markets, means that we have to be all extra careful.

But, if you take history as our guide, it tells us that in the end the solution is found.

HARLOW: Before we go, just a few questions on Russia and Ukraine. You have - you just met last month with President Zelenskyy. And we

should note, you -- your experience with this is also very personal given your brother was in Kharkiv during the Russian invasion. You have been warning the world that we may be, in your words, sleep walking into a new Cold War.

GEORGIEVA: It is, first, very important to recognize that Ukraine is fighting not only for its existence. It is fighting for rule of law in the world. Without which it is very hard to imagine prosperous society. But also, we have to be concerned about the direction we are taking as a global economy. A more fragmented world. One in which blocks trade with each other is a poorer world and one that is less secure.



COLLINS: So interesting to see her say she thinks Powell should stay the course.

HARLOW: Absolutely. She has no question about raising rates higher, keeping them longer is what you have to do.

What I am so fascinated by with her as a leader is that she's lived it. We talked a little bit about growing up in Bulgaria under communism and the impact of bad policies and bad decision making, what that has on real, ordinary people and the poorest among us. So, that's her warning.

LEMON: You know, I was thinking the whole time, it's sad so many other countries have had women as world leaders, as leaders, I should say, and we haven't. You know, we have leaders in other but not as president of the United States. And we -

HARLOW: Yes, it's unique, right, that you've got her, Janet Yellen and Christine Lagarde now. Hasn't been like that in economics either.



LEMON: So, we have some new details about the deaths of two Americans in Mexico after they were kidnapped at gunpoint. We're going to go live to the Texas border town where the survivors are recovering. Plus, the data on medical tourism, that's next.



LEMON: The latest now on the kidnappings of those four Americans in Mexico. Two of them survived and are back in the U.S. this morning. But, sadly, the other two died. CNN is learning that they were traveling across the border so that one of them could undergo cosmetic surgery. It's part of a trend called medical tourism. More than a million Americans travel abroad for medical procedures each year.

CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard joins us now.

Good morning, Jacqueline.

Why so many Americans getting this medical care out of the country? Is it simply a cost thing?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Don, cost definitely has a play - a role to play in this, but there are also other reasons as well. It can range from cost to they might be seeking a procedure or treatment that's approved outside of the U.S. but not approved here.

And then also there's the wait time. Someone might be on, for instance, an organ transplant list and the wait it shorter outside the U.S. so, all of that plays a role. And it's definitely connected with what kind of procedure or treatment the person is looking for.

So, the most common types of medical care that people seek outside of the U.S. include dental care, cosmetic surgeries, even fertility treatments or cancer care. And, Don, this is on the rise. So, one study says that in 2007, fewer than 800,000 people traveled internationally from the U.S. for medical care. But by 2017, that number rose to more than one million Americans. So, this is a growing trend really right before our eyes, Don.

LEMON: So, what happened here though is highlighting the dangers of that. We know that it is rare for medical tourists to be kidnapped like what happened in that group in Mexico, but there are other risks.

HOWARD: Right. There are definitely medical risks. So, of course, with the group in Mexico, we saw that they traveled to an area high in crime. So, that's a risk when it comes to travel itself.

But when we're looking specifically at the medical risks with medical tourism, there's the risk of infection. You're risking quality of care. There also could be communication challenges with the medical staff. And then the risk of continuing care. If something goes wrong, what do you do? And there are steps you can take to minimize risk, like obtain international travel health insurance. But, overall, Don, these are risks that people need to keep in mind. Bring copies of health records with you, research your medical provider and the medical facility. So, all of that plays a role, Don.

LEMON: Jacqueline Howard, thank you.

HOWARD: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also this morning, Oklahoma motorists did not just say no to legalizing recreational marijuana, they rejected it by a huge margin. What does that mean for the nationwide push for legalization? We'll tell you, next.


[06:57:33] COLLINS: In a new, exclusive interview, CNN sat down with U.S. ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, to talk about the U.S./Japan alliance, China, and the geopolitics of that region that are at the forefront of what's happening in the world. It come after the Chinese Leader Xi Jinping took a rare swipe at the United States and its policy, saying it is to blame for the recent challenges that are facing China.

CNN's Marc Stewart is live in Tokyo with more this morning.

Marc, what did you hear from the ambassador?


Look, if you talk to the ambassador, it is clear that he feels there are some boundaries. He clearly feels that Japan is an ally, yet portrays China as an adversary.

Take a listen to a part of our investigation from earlier today from the ambassador's residence here in Tokyo.


RAHM EMANUEL, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN: China is going to have to realize, if you want to be a respected -- which is what they want, leader of the world, you have to actually respect the people you're interlocking with. You cannot constantly have one hammer. That is -- they have had a confrontation or near confrontation with multiple countries in the region, consistently.


STEWART: And those remarks come as China accuses the U.S. of trying to orchestrate a NATO-style alliance here in Asia, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And what about the -- what did he say just broadly about his time on the ground there in Tokyo, about the relationship between the U.S. and Japan? Obviously, President Biden has visited there, but what is he was - what was he saying about it now?

STEWART: Well, this is an interesting time for Japan. This is a government that has a constitution that is rooted in peacekeeping and passivism, yet over the last few months we've seen it really double down on its military spending. Part of many shifts in this region which Xi gives credit to President Biden for.

Take a listen to that.


EMANUEL: He has brought a level of energy to alliances and to allies that was absent.

That has given our allies confidence, like Japan, to increase their defense budget, to be more active on the diplomatic arena and stage. (END VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART: Finally, the ambassador does not feel that diplomacy is dead.


He is pointing to a recent agreement between Japan and South Korea.