Interviews

Weak US growth likely to put damper on jobs report

U.S., Canadian Chamber CEO's speak out on economy, employment

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: A big jobs report due out on Friday and this one could be a doozy, slow growth here and abroad likely keeping the brakes on hiring. But could our neighbors to the north help?

My next guests think so, in a first on Fox joint interview, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue and his Canadian counterpart, Perrin Beatty.

Mr. Beatty, I want to start with you, only because we know what the business community, what the environment is here in America. We have the highest corporate tax rate of all developed nations. It makes it very difficult to do business here.

In Canada, talk to us a little bit about your corporate tax rate. What is your top corporate tax rate there?

PERRIN BEATTY, CEO, CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, the government has been bringing it down consistently even right through the recession, to the point where it's at 15 percent. And that's a major achievement in Canada.

BOLLING: And, Mr. Donohue, it's 35 percent here, correct?

TOM DONOHUE, PRESIDENT & CEO, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Yes, with a lot of add-ons here, there and everywhere.

BOLLING: OK. So back to you, Mr. Beatty.

Now, when you think about corporate taxes and it's coming down, is it coming down because government decided, hey, that's the best plan, or does the government work with the business community to discuss what the best plan is?

BEATTY: The government works with the business community, but they recognize as well that the engine of economic growth is private enterprise. It's business. And by making it more attractive for people to invest in Canada, it drives growth in the Canadian economy. And that in turn drives government revenues.

BOLLING: And, Mr. Donohue, what about here in America? Do we have the same ear of the government? What you're doing at the Chamber of Commerce is the government listening to the Chamber?

DONOHUE: Well, we have very strong working relationships with a lot of the agencies of government and some people in the White House. But, remember, you also have to work the Congress.

It's not just the will of the White House. It's the will of the Congress. And we're going through an inter-generational transition in the Congress. We have a lot of new people. But we're making progress. And I think after the election, sometime after the election, we'll get down to a deal that puts us back on the right track.

BOLLING: Mr. Beatty, what recommendations, what advice would you give President Obama right now to help spur economic growth and businesses to stay here in America?

BEATTY: Well, I want to respect the fact that I'm a guest in the U.S. home at this point. It's not for me to give advice.

I can talk about what we've done in Canada. And what was absolutely key for us was to get our finances under control. For 10 years leading up to the recession, our federal government and most of the provinces were running surpluses. And by 2015, we'll have our books back into balance again. It's no different for a government than it is for running a small business or a household. You can't keep on going on spending more money than you're bringing in without very serious problems down the road.

And we have to make sure that we live within our means.

BOLLING: All right, Mr. Donohue, we just had a guest on from -- he's with a medical device maker, who said, because of what is going on with the taxes buried into ObamaCare, he can't open new plants here in America. He's looking elsewhere.

What do you tell business owners that want to expand and maybe look to the guy to your left, our right on screen, who may be facing a 15 percent corporate tax rate, instead of 35 percent here in America? How do you keep businesses here?

DONOHUE: Well, we're sending the message tomorrow with our conference that we're going to run on the Canadian -- what I call the Canadian miracle. They got together. They dealt with the issue of their banks.

They dealt with the questions of entitlements. They lowered their tax rates. They expanded their trade around the world. And they did it because they had a cash cow. They were able to use energy resources to give them the backbone so they could go ahead and do this.

America has every one of those needs. And that is, what are we going to do about our entitlements, what are we going to do about our deficits, what are we going to do about our problems? And we can do the same thing Canada did because we have a huge cash cow. And that's all of our energy used it in an environmentally friendly way and use it to pay the government, who are the royalty holders.

BOLLING: Right.

DONOHUE: Pay taxes. Hire people.

I'm hopeful that the discussion tomorrow gives a lot of people an idea. The Canadians did it. We can do it in spades.

BOLLING: Right, sir, Mr. Donohue.

Mr. Beatty, to you. There's a lot being made of the XL pipeline. You produce a lot of oil. We'd like to. We use a lot oil here in America. That pipeline would ship a lot of your oil down to our refineries that we so need down in the Texas area, Houston area.

Talk to us a little bit about XL. Where are you on that? Do you look at America as a place that we can do business with, a free-flowing business handshake, or is it bound by regulation?

BEATTY: It's a place where we should do business with each other.

We are each others best customers. I think Canada is the best customer for 38 of the 50 states. And as the prime minister said, when you look at Keystone XL, it's a no-brainer. It can help to ensure -- it will create jobs at no public expense in the United States. It will help to ensure greater energy independence on the part of the United States. According to the State Department study that was done, it could displace up to 40 percent of the imported oil that you're getting from the Middle East today. So it would actually contribute to global security as well.

BOLLING: Sir, let me stay with this, with you for one more question, follow up on that. China is very interested in your oil as well. You would rather sell your oil to America than China, sir?

BEATTY: Obviously, our closest partner, our closest trading relationship is the United States. It makes sense for us. We have a deeply integrated economy. We -- our companies operate on both sides of the border.

Much of the investment in the oil sands is American. And it makes sense for us to have the first relationship with the United States. But the prime minister's made it clear that we will sell our oil to world markets on those people who want it. We hope that there will be an appetite here in the United States for it.

BOLLING: Mr. Donohue, has that message been sent to the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer, who's been in favor of supporting President Obama of holding up the XL pipeline?

DONOHUE: Oh, look, this is nothing but a political play for the election.

You saw the other day the administration gave the authority to build the XL pipeline from Oklahoma down to the Gulf. As soon as we finish the election and as soon as we get past the worry about the environmental community, we're going to build this thing, because, if we don't, we are going to face a lot of problems we don't need and put aside extraordinary relationships that we need to nurture.

There is nobody closer to us than the Canadians. And we just got to get on with it. But we understand these are political times.

BOLLING: Yes, sir.

That's Tom Donohue, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO, and Perrin Beatty, the Canadian counterpart, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Gentleman, it's fantastic seeing you guys work together. We would love to have you back maybe later on in the week and see if -- see what's progressed.

Thank you, sir.

(CROSSTALK)

DONOHUE: Come to the show tomorrow.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLLING: OK. Thank you so much. All right, guys.

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