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Quest Means Business
Biden To Sign Order On Buy American Policy; Governments Announce Wave Of New Travel Restrictions; France Could Face Third National Lockdown As Cases Soar; Virtual World Economic Forum; Encouraging Global Commitment To Equity; New Antibody Has Crucial Role In COVID Crisis. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 25, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Start of a new week, and the Dow is dipping below 31,000. I should perhaps say further below, just under the
tap. Off 107. The worst of the day has been and gone. But that's the way the markets are looking, and this is what's happened.
Global travel controls are back and they are tougher than ever. Now, the travel industry is left to pick up the pieces.
The French Finance Minister tells me tonight, a new lockdown in France must be a last resort.
And Joe Biden wants the U.S. government to buy American. Where have we heard that before?
The President is due to speak this hour. You'll hear it on CNN.
We all live in New York on Monday. It's the 25th of January. I'm Richard Quest, but yes, I mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, it's getting harder to take an international flight to anywhere. Air corridors are closing down. Border restrictions are going
up. And travel bubbles are bursting as countries are trying to stop the spread of COVID.
The shares in major airlines reflected that today, down sharply as governments on three continents look to close their borders. Airline
executives are warning that tighter restrictions ahead of the summer holiday booking period could yield a very severe, if not death blow to
parts of the industry.
As you see IAG, that's British Airways, Iberia had gone down 11 percent. Lufthansa not down as much, but that IAG is reflecting Spain, and it's
reflecting the United Kingdom.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, you know who he is, he says the measures must be taken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I believe the travel ban will be important in addition to having
a situation where anybody coming into the country now is going to be required to have a negative test before they even get on the plane, when
they land to have a degree of quarantine, as well as another test.
So I believe it was prudent even though it's never perfect. There's always a possibility, and even a likelihood of some slippage. But I think the ban,
which was discussed very intensively by the group was the right decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And those decisions, well, let's look in detail as we begin the week with the biggest wave of travel restrictions since the early days of the
So what Fauci was referring to there in the United States, the President is due to reinstate the ban on travel from Europe, the U.K. and Brazil. Well,
that's been there since the early days of the pandemic. The Trump administration was going to lift it, Biden says no.
Israel is to halt nearly all flights in and out of the country to keep the new variants out. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is
considering mandatory 10-day hotel quarantines for incoming passengers. This is happening already, required quarantining for 10 days, but now to
tighten it up so people can't cheat and escape.
Go to Hong Kong and it is all airline flight crews may be required to quarantine for two weeks, that's going to take its toll on Cathay Pacific.
Whilst in Australia, the bubble between Australia and New Zealand is to close after the New Zealand has reported its first COVID case of community
spread in months.
Axel Hefer is the CEO of a travel booking site, Trivago. He joins me from Dusseldorf, Germany via Skype. Axel, okay, look, we know the industry is
being brave about this in the sense of recognizing this is the case. Ah, and here we have a visitor. Go on. Who have we got there? Say hello, come
on. Let's say hello -- there we go. Who is this, Axel?
AXEL HEFER, CEO, TRIVAGO: He wants to go to bed.
QUEST: Well, wish him good evening for us. What's his name?
HEFER: Victor, but he can't hear you. I'm connected by my buds.
QUEST: Are you okay -- oh no, Victor is determined, but we're going to keep going?
QUEST: Oh, even better. Even better. Now, we're talking. All right. So Victor, not Victor. It's Axel we are talking to. Axel, tell me, just what
are you going to do? The situation is difficult. It's bad, it's getting worse. But what are you going to do about it?
HEFER: I think we have to be a bit patient, to be honest. I mean, we are now in a very critical phase of the pandemic. You've got a new variant that
is spreading, and we have first progress with the vaccination program. So to just stay tight and be in lockdown to reduce the overall infections a
lot more right now is the right thing because the key thing is to have a good summer season.
And I guess we are all looking forward to the first trip that we can do and that's what we need to focus on.
QUEST: You say, have a good summer season, is that possible? I mean, last year was a true sort of good attempt at a summer, but it failed miserably
in most cases. And I wonder, unless the booking mode has changed, so people are really booking a lot sooner.
HEFER: I do think that we have the opportunity of a very, very good summer season and what we've seen in the last summer, and what we've also seen in
in November was (speaking in foreign language).
So, we've seen that there, there is a very, very strong demand to travel and that people do want to travel once it's possible. And I think once we
have made enough progress with the new infections coming down, and the travel restrictions dropping, that there will be a very, very strong demand
QUEST: That's the thing. We know there's a strong demand and the French Finance Minister is going to tell us next that he sees a strong rebound. I
guess, the issue is how you bridge the gap between now and then. How do companies stay in? But many of your member hotels, how do they stay in
HEFER: I mean, there's not that much you can do to be honest. I mean with half of Europe or half of the world in lockdown and people staying at home,
there's not much that you can do other than then hoping for state support and using your cash reserves and preparing for the market when it will
return and that's exactly what we are doing as well.
QUEST: As you were saying that the booking model has changed. You're an example of that. People book later, and I think that you know, I am old
enough to remember the holiday brochures arriving in January you leafed through them, and some people still do that. But can you rely, do you
think, on a late booking model to rescue an industry?
HEFER: Absolutely. And what we've seen is that during lockdown, the booking windows have gotten longer, which is clear because you cannot travel that
easily, but also when we got out of the lockdown that the time to travel was significantly lower than and shorter than it has been in the past. So
people are willing to book on a very, very short notice just to get a break and to get on a vacation.
And I don't think that that we need to see the summer bookings coming in right now to have a good summer season. They can also come in a lot later
and once it's possible people will be willing to book No matter how much time they have left to the time to travel.
QUEST: Axel, it's good to see you, sir. Give Victor a big extra hug and some ice cream from us.
HEFER: Will do.
QUEST: In these difficult days, I can honestly tell you on behalf of the QMB team and our audience, he's made our day. Thank you, sir. Thank you,
oh, and he is back.
HEFER: Thank you.
QUEST: He's back. He's back. He's back for his uncle. You can't keep a good actor there. Thank you.
All right, and we'll move on. The French Finance -- come on, this is good stuff.
The French Finance Minister tells me his government is ready to borrow more money to help ease the hardship for France's battered tourism industry. It
comes as the European Commission proposes new stricter guidelines for traveling within the E.U.
Those guidelines strongly discourage nonessential travel and so-called especially to the dark red zones where most COVID-19 is widespread.
France's medical experts are warning that a third national lockdown may be necessary if COVID rises. I asked Bruno Le Maire if tighter measures are on
BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: We are of course assessing the health situation very carefully. The lockdown is a possibility, but it must
remain the very last possibility because you know that a lockdown would have a direct impact on the level of growth, a direct impact also on the
social situation, on the unemployment rate in France.
So once again, the lockdown must remain the very last measure, if and only if the health situation needs such a decision.
QUEST: Very difficult to get any form of accurate economic data or forecasting because the lockdowns create an immediate drop. The reopenings
create a bounce back, so you're not really sure where you are. And if we look in 2021, I see you're talking about a growth number of six percent or
so. But you can't be sure of that, can you?
LE MAIRE: No guarantee on the way 2021 will look like. But our reference scenario is that on the first part of 2021, we will continue to have to
face the pandemic and we will continue to have measures to support the sectors that are really badly hit by the crisis.
I mean tourism, for instance, restaurants, bars, hotels, but also the aeronautic sector just to give the example of one industry or sector. So
this will be the first part of 2021.
But I also think that there is a possibility and I think it will be the case that in the second part of 2021, there might be a very strong rebound
of the French economy.
QUEST: Where does the money come from, do you think? I know the E.U. has put together a large recovery plan of its own. But within France, where do
you expect -- do you expect to borrow or do you expect to, I mean, taxing higher? It is a zero -- it is a less sum game, because it'll slow down
LE MAIRE: For the moment, I will be very frank as usual. It's time to borrow money. Because the cost to borrow money for the French public
finances is quite limited, thanks to the support of the E.C.B., and we all have to really support what has been decided by Christine Lagarde and by
the E.C.B. because thanks to the policy implemented by the President of the E.C.B., Christine Lagarde, France, and also all the 19 members of the
Eurozone do have the possibility of borrowing money with a very limited cost on the public finances.
When I'm borrowing money for the next 10 years, the interest rate is negative minus 0.33, which means that the cost is quite limited. And I
really think that it would be far more costly to have a wave of bankruptcies in France, social difficulties, economic difficulties for the
employees, this would be far more expensive than borrowing money on the market.
But I also want to be very clear, this means that we will have at the end of 2021, a very important level of public debt. And we will have, on due
time to take measures to reimburse the French public debt.
QUEST: Yes, I mean, I agree. That's in the future, providing, you know, we will ever get that. I wonder though, if you look at the trade relations and
trade relations with the United States, now President Trump has gone, are you hopeful that the outstanding trade issues on wine and things like that
which was put off, the outstanding European tariffs can't be removed?
LE MAIRE: I really hope that the election of President Biden will mean a new start in the relationship between Europe and the United States. You
know that President Macron just had a very important and long and positive phone call with President Biden on Sunday and we would have to look very
carefully at the first decisions that will be taken by President Biden.
One very positive decision was the decision to come back to the Paris Agreement. I think that's really a matter of hope for all of us. The second
key question for us will be whether the United States decided to lift the sanctions on the E.U., and whether we are able to find an agreement to put
this crazy trade war between Europe and the U.S. to an end because I wouldn't want to insist on that this trade war on the Boeing Airbus case
and these sanctions between the E.U. and the U.S. are really clearly only for the benefit of China, but not for the benefit of the U.S. or not for
the benefit of the E.U.
LE MAIRE: So I really hope that we will be able to find an agreement and that the sanctions from the U.S. on the E.U. will be lifted as soon as
QUEST: Bruno Le Maire talking to me earlier. We heard the phrase Buy American. You've heard the slogan before, now Joe Biden wants to make it a
reality. After the break.
QUEST: Within the next hour or so, President Biden is set to sign an Executive Order which will get the U.S. government to buy American. Now,
that might seem like a very familiar phrase.
Now, the order will close loopholes and order the U.S. government to purchase more U.S. goods. President Trump made a similar promise. However,
the Biden officials say this effort has a clear direction and is focused on results.
Phil Mattingly is in Washington. Well, you know, we all wince at the phrase, because we feel we've heard it before. So what is -- what are these
loopholes that are being closed? What is different about Biden's buy America versus Trump's version?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So they believe they've put a deadline on it that the Trump administration never actually
imposed. Richard, you nailed it, the Trump administration talked about buy American and talked about closing loopholes on Federal contracts pretty
much throughout the entirety of his administration, and yet those loopholes still exist and buy American is largely the same as it was before he took
Now a couple key components of what President Biden is signing today. One, it boosts the amount of content that needs to be in a product produced by
an American manufacturer or American jobs for it to be considered by American.
The other is it sets 180-day timeline for this actually to be implemented. The idea according to Biden advisers being, they can't continue to just
keep punting this down the road because it doesn't work for them in terms of how contracts are worked out.
You're talking about a pool of about $600 billion in Federal contracts here. They believe this will make a dent, but a dent is probably as good as
it's going to be given how Federal procurement operations work up to this point.
They're also setting up a specific role inside the administration to keep an eye on this, trying to make all of the contracts also public so people
and manufacturers can actually look at them, get a better sense of where things stand.
But look, you should approach this with skepticism. Administration after administration after administration has pledged to do things just like
this. We'll actually see if the Biden team can come through with what they are pledging.
QUEST: And this is more than just COVID related. This is a fundamental point. But if we do look at COVID, this has to be seen, does it not within
the sort of framework of using the defense procurement act using -- I mean, because of the -- you know, I was taken last week with Dr. Fauci talking
about where the bottlenecks are in terms of manufacturing for COVID.
MATTINGLY: I don't think there's any question about what's occurred over the course of the last 10 to 12 months and that is, particularly in the
U.S. supply chain. There have been major holes that have been exposed by everything that's occurred with coronavirus, everything attached to the
supplies related to trying address coronavirus.
And so yes, you should -- you view this and I think Biden advisers view this proposal, view this executive action through the prism of trying to
address some of that. I also think it's worth noting that there's only so much you can do on the Federal side of things. There's only so much the
President can do with the stroke of a pen.
Congress is going to have to act if they want to close even more of those loopholes, if they want to address even more of the supply chain issues and
there are a number of proposals out there for them to do that. The question is the mechanism to do that.
And Richard, you probably know this better than anybody else, you also have a lot of members of Congress, whether House members in their districts or
senators in their states who are very wary of going too far on some of these issues, because some of the foreign competitors have operations in
So there's a lot of push and pull here in terms of what can actually get implemented. For today, the Biden administration thinks what they're doing
will have an effect, but to have the real effect to have a bigger effect given some of the dramatic holes that were exposed in the last 10 or 12
months, it's probably going to take congressional action.
QUEST: Phil Mattingly, thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Thank you.
Britain's International Trade Secretary tells me it will be fantastic if the U.K. could strike a new trade deal with the United States.
Boris Johnson has been pushing Joe Biden on the issue. The two spoke over the phone on Saturday. Liz Truss says the U.K. interests must come first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH INTERNATIONAL TRADE SECRETARY: Well, I think it's important to know that all the way through our negotiations, we've been
engaging with Republicans and Democrats, and a deal with the U.K., you know, we're a country with high labor standards, high environmental
standards sits very well with a lot of people across the political spectrum.
We're roughly imbalanced in terms of trade between our two nations. There's opportunities to expand that trade further, particularly in areas like data
and digital and services. So I'm confident we can get and continue to hold that cross party support.
QUEST: And related to that, I look at the list, I've got a very -- I've got a list of the deals that you've already done. How important is it to get a
TRUSS: The U.S. is our largest single trading partner. So of course, it would be fantastic to have a deal. The U.K. will be the largest country by
GDP. The U.S. has struck a comprehensive deal with us as well. So I think it's to the advantage of both of our nations. But of course, we already
have a very positive trading relationship with the U.S. and we are not going to enter a deal that isn't right for the United Kingdom.
So I'm not going to say we'll do a deal at any cost. What I'm saying is, I think there are prospects for a good deal that benefits both of our
economies. We're also looking at accession to the comprehensive progressive Trans Pacific Partnership as well, a fast growing group of 11 countries
representing nine trillion pounds of GDP.
So there are lots of options for the United Kingdom in terms of the progress we're making on our free trade negotiations. But of course, the
U.S. would be a fantastic deal to get.
QUEST: And I just to talk about the situation in the U.K. I noticed the U.K. press, lots of stories about the reality now of trading in the E.U. or
being outside the E.U., cost of shipping, cost of returning goods, all of these sort of things.
Now, the Prime Minister did warn people, that there would be differences and difficulties. But that seems to be a reality check now hitting home.
TRUSS: Well, we have always been clear that leaving the single market and the Customs Union would lead to additional processes being required. And in
fact, a lot of those processes are required for trade we do with other countries as well. We have the Brexit Business Advisory Task Force who
gives companies information, you know, we're providing support to business in the U.K.
And what we've seen is that traffic has been flowing fairly smoothly. So a lot of the Armageddon stories simply haven't happened. And I think it's
fair to say that business is adjusting to those processes that now need to take place.
QUEST: What would you say though, to the small traders who are finding that it is going to possibly be cheaper for them to set up an operation in
Europe to handle those things rather than the paperwork and the expense and the extra duties of crossing?
TRUSS: I mean, it's for businesses to make their decisions about how they run their operations. But there are some important rules of origin
agreements that we secured in the E.U. trade deal, duty free, quota free access, and of course access to 97 percent of all the trade. We agreed with
third parties through the E.U., we now have independent trade deals including one that goes further and faster with Japan and again, there are
lots of opportunities there for small businesses, but ultimately, businesses have to make their decisions about how they run their
QUEST: The U.K. International Trade Secretary. Chinese President Xi Jinping has given his first global address since he took -- since Joe Biden took
office. The veiled message with a new U.S. President you'll hear on this program, next.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment.
Virtual Davos begins. We are going to hear from the WEF founder, Klaus Schwab and how he plans to bring the world's leaders together.
And Eli Lilly says its new antibody drug can prevent serious illness from COVID. The chief executive Dave Ricks joins me for that.
Before all of it, this is CNN and on this network the facts always come first.
A critical step in the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump is to begin in a few hours from now. The House Managers will walk to the Senate and
deliver the single Article of Impeachment that charges the former President with inciting an insurrection. The substance of his trial will begin in two
Dominion Voting Systems is suing Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation for falsely claiming that Dominion rigged the
The suit asks for more than $1.3 billion dollars in damages.
Giuliani calls it another act of intimidation meant to censor free speech.
The European Union's top diplomat is calling the arrest of the Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny, completely unacceptable. Joseph Borrell has
criticized the mass detentions and police brutality over the weekend.
On Saturday, thousands of protesters took to the streets across the country demanding Navalny's release.
The Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, says he's continuing to work after testing positive for coronavirus.
His symptoms, he says, are mild and he's receiving medical treatment. Mr. Lopez Obrador rarely wears a mask and has faced widespread criticism over
his handling of the pandemic.
In Japan, more than 18,000 people who have tested positive for COVID are still waiting for a hospital bed or a space at an isolation center. Cases
there are rising drastically, they've more than doubled in over the last two months.
Eleven prefectures are under a state of emergency and that includes Tokyo, the country's largest city.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, called for global cooperation when he spoke to the World Economic Forum -- virtually, of course, on its opening
day of its virtual meeting.
In what sounded like a veiled message to the Biden Administration, Xi advocated open trade and less confrontation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (Through Translator): We should build an open world economy, uphold the multi-lateral trading regime, discard
discriminatory and exclusionary standards, rules, and systems. And take down barriers to trade, investment, and technological exchanges.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: WEF this year is digital and virtual. Xi was speaking from Beijing. It's one example of how this year's virtual event is much different from
the usual gathering.
Now the agenda is as crowded as ever however the town of Davos most definitely is not. Many places (ph) around the world, the streets there are
That congress center, Kongress Zentrum, if it was now with Davos there there'd be armed guards, there'd be barriers around it and every hotel
would be full.
That would be the Belvedere -- well, there you are, the Belvedere, and that's the Intercontinental. They would be festooned with adverts but not
Maybe Singapore in May is when it'll all happen.
I spoke to Klaus Schwab who, of course, is the man behind the event and I asked Professor Schwab why it was important to hold this year's meeting,
even if it meant virtually from a distance.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
KLAUS SCHWAB, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM: I think we are at the beginning of a new year, a very decisive year.
We have a new U.S. administration, we may be in a situation where we make progress in fighting the virus. So we want to use it as a mobilization week
to maybe everybody aware now some changes are needed.
We have to create a more responsible approach to our global affairs.
QUEST: The one thing we have learned is -- we learnt it in the Great Recession but we're learning it again, Professor, is the inequality, those
at the bottom got worst hit again.
And I just question what purpose does any meetings have if this is just always the same story and nothing changes?
SCHWAB: It's not the same story. Because you have to walk the talk. We have a number of concrete projects where we bring together business leaders,
I just mention our project to reskill and upscale 1 billion people in this decade. And this is not just talk.
We have started to work together, mainly with I.T. companies, and we know we will be measured according to what we deliver and not just based on what
QUEST: We on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS have always talked about the CEOs as the new moral barometers. I know some people bristle at that because they say
that's not the CEO's role.
But the reality is what we've learned in pandemic again, like Great Recession before, great power rests with CEOs to set an agenda.
SCHWAB: Yes, it's great power but in combination with governments. We have seen governments becoming stronger and businesses becoming stronger.
What I'm worried about is what is the fallout for small and medium-sized businesses in the future? So it's one of the structural issues which we
have to address.
QUEST: Final question, Professor. How can you ensure -- and I agree fully with what you say about coming together and meeting together and I agree
fully that there is real value in us coming together to talk about these things.
My concern and my question is how can you ensure that real change happens as a result and that we are not in the future going to be back to business
SCHWAB: Look, the problem today is that everything is interconnected. The social dimension, the economics, technological and so on; everything is
And you cannot solve complex issues in very simple ways.
And that's also a difference of Davos. That we deal with all those issues taking -- let's say putting some into an ecosystem and it makes it
difficult, it makes it challenging.
But I think you have to push again and again.
QUEST: We don't have to rely on vaccines alone to get through the coronavirus pandemic.
That's according to the makers of an antibody drug that shows promising results in a new study.
The CEO of Eli Lilly joins me after the break.
QUEST: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine appears effective against the two new variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
It says, though, more testing is needed and a booster shot may be required for fuller protection against the South African strain.
At the same time, Eli Lilly says antibody therapies can also play a critical role in combatting COVID-19.
Eli Lilly says its antibody drug can prevent infections in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and thus reduce the risk by up to 80
The CEO, chairman of Eli Lilly, is Dave Ricks. He is with me now. Good to see you, sir.
So we've all become a bit obsessed, for good reason, by vaccines and the potential for the way vaccination prevents.
But you're telling me that the monoclonal antibody therapies have a large role to play even in those who haven't had it yet?
DAVID RICKS, CHAIRMAN & CEO, ELI LILLY: That's right, Richard. Good to be on your show, I think first time for me.
And an important topic. Which is the industry has done a great job in a rapid way generating both medicines and vaccines -- and we need both. Both
to conquer the rapid spread of the pandemic now but also to live with it for the long term.
So we developed monoclonal antibody therapies which are highly effective both in an early phase of the disease, within ten days after receiving a
diagnosis but then in the study we announced last week, also in preventing its spread especially in congregate settings for high-risk people.
Here in the U.S., that's these nursing home settings --
RICKS: -- where you'll have 30 to 100 residents. One will get sick and within a week many, many others get sick. And we know the fatalities are
devastating in these facilities. Almost half U.S. deaths are in nursing homes.
QUEST: So is the idea here that if you have been diagnosed as positive, and you take these, you are less likely to pass it on rather than
prophylactically giving it to the other residents?
RICKS: It's actually both. So what we've demonstrated is that in newly diagnosed -- people who have a positive test and are symptomatic --
RICKS: -- if we treat them early, what this drug does is it mimics your body's own response but it's sort of like a turbo-charger for a compromised
immune system, those with high-risk factors including age, which we know is highly correlated with risk with COVID.
And so your body's fighting the virus but this just boosts it on top. And patients clear the virus much faster and their likelihood of ending up in
the hospital drops by as much as 70 percent or 80 percent.
It also, though, has been shown that if you're giving this prophylactically and your neighbor has it and can transmit to you the likelihood that you'll
have a positive test and symptoms to begin with --
QUEST: Sir --
RICKS: -- could be reduced by as much as 80 percent.
QUEST: Sir, do forgive me if I -- your first time on our program but I need to go to the president who is speaking now about his future plans. Joe
Biden. My apologies, sir.
(PRESIDENT BIDEN LIVE)