Anthony Pratt on campaign to create 1 million new jobs in US

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 6, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: By the way, one thing that will come up in that debate, no doubt, jobs, whether they're still growing.

The administration, Democrats will continue to crow about the steady improvement in jobs, about 12 to 13 million created since the downdraft.  Nevertheless, the pace of that job growth is slowing lately. When the jobs report comes out tomorrow, we're expecting around 150,000, which is down markedly from the roughly 200,000-plus we were averaging a little more than a few months ago.

So, some are worried about the pace of that recovery and whether it reverses into something.

Enter Anthony Pratt. He's chairman of Pratt Industries, very big in all things food and food packaging. And he has a lofty goal, that we can double that production in short order if we rearrange our priorities.

Mr. Pratt, very good to see you.


CAVUTO: Tell me what you're doing here, what your goal is.

PRATT: Well, basically, the food production industry is America's biggest industry. It's bigger than auto. It's bigger than movies and tech. And it's bigger than oil and gas.

And we think it doesn't get the attention it deserves. So what we're about is starting a national conversation about how we can double the size of the American food production industry and create millions of American jobs.

CAVUTO: All right, now, obviously, we have that capability to get food out to all over the globe, particularly Asia, which is a big goal now.

I didn't realize all we had going for us in this country, that we have really awesome cows, I guess. We just don't utilize them enough.

PRATT: Absolutely.

America's got this tremendous opportunity to export a tremendous amount of food into Asia's booming middle class. There's two-and-a-half billion Asians going to come into the middle class with greater spending power.

And America's natural advantage is safe, clean food in dairy and meat, as you said, and also in fruit and vegetables, and all of it added value, which means more factories, which means more jobs for Americans in America.

CAVUTO: And presumably in Asia alone, they're getting billions more joining the middle class. They're going to be demanding it, right?

PRATT: Absolutely.

And we're just tremendously excited about this tremendous opportunity.

CAVUTO: Do you weigh into the political scene, like, in our country? I mean, I know you were with Governor Pence not too long ago. What do you think of our race, the way it's going on?

PRATT: Well, Governor Pence was very gracious in opening our $250 million paper mill in Indiana. We built three of the last four American paper mills in our segment.

CAVUTO: Yes, he was wooing you aggressively, right?

PRATT: He has been -- Indiana is a fantastic state to manufacture. The United States is the greatest country in the world to manufacture.

We're fortunate that we employ 6,000 Americans in well-paying manufacturing jobs here.

CAVUTO: Not too long ago, when you were looking at the Donald Trump phenomenon, you had told "The Australian": "The beauty of America is that it has a very regenerative system and anyone can become president. The British system of government makes it much harder for major change to happen like it does here."

Do you still stand by that? In other words, someone like a Donald Trump couldn't -- couldn't do the same in your country?

PRATT: We think that America is a tremendous -- it's the greatest country in the world, from the point of view -- from many points of view. One of them is that the genius of American entrepreneurship is that its natural resource, I think, is entrepreneurial spirit, the propensity of someone to mortgage his house to start a business.

And that's, I think, why America regenerates so wonderfully, better than any other country in the world.

CAVUTO: So you weren't making any comments one way or the other about Mr. Trump, who -- well, you're a billionaire like he is. He's getting a lot of heat in this country over not releasing taxes, that he had a big loss in 1995. What do you make of all that?

PRATT: Well, look, we're businesspeople. So, we live with whatever political structure is of the day.

But we're very grateful to the United States of America. It's the most generous country in the world. And, as I said, we're just grateful that we have been able to create 6,000 well-paying...


CAVUTO: So, you didn't want to -- you don't really want to talk about Mr. Trump?  PRATT: I think that America will -- is great, has always been great, and will always be great.


CAVUTO: That's a very good answer.

You know what I noticing when I talk to people from other countries? They always say the same thing to me. Neil, why is your election process so long? And they're right. It's gone on a couple of years now, technically.  I know, in Australia, I know in places like Britain, I mean, it's 60, 90 days, boom.

What do you think of our process?

PRATT: Well, I think that whatever it is that America's doing is working, because I think it's a country of exceptionalism. I think, you know, the great presidents that have been through the ages, and I think that America is the greatest country that's ever been in terms of its contribution to the world economy.

And it is -- going back to the food issue you mentioned, it's the world's food superpower, and it will continue to be so.

CAVUTO: In other words, so leverage that. The United States should leverage -- we have that ability. We just don't -- why isn't it being leveraged more? Why aren't we utilizing that more?

PRATT: Well, I think the food production industry, as Bill Gates said to me, doesn't get the attention it deserves. And it is a tremendous opportunity.

And we want to start a national conversation as to how to double the size of the food production industry from $850 billion to $1.8 trillion by exporting more into the booming middle class of Asia.

CAVUTO: And that could be productive all around.


CAVUTO: Real quickly, you know, we're dealing with a hurricane that people are obsessing over, for good reason.

Obviously, Australia not a stranger to natural disasters and that sort of thing. How do you handle that sort of thing down there? I mean, how quickly do you clear out an area that might be the target of a typhoon or worse? What's the Australian way to handle this?

PRATT: Right.

Well, firstly, our hearts go out to the people of Florida. And it's a tremendous tragedy. And I think that these weather events are tremendously devastating for the people concerned.


CAVUTO: But if the prime minister comes out and says, we think it's a good bet -- we have the states of emergency that are declared by various states.  How does it go in Australia if an area is imperiled?

PRATT: Well, I think, not unlike America, people converge on the scene and do the best they can for the poor people that have been affected.

And again, our hearts go out to the people of Florida.

CAVUTO: Very good.

Anthony Pratt, Pratt Industries chairman.

Now, you moved out of Atlanta, right? You were in Atlanta. Your kids, you wanted to get educated in Australia, right?

PRATT: Yes, that's right.

CAVUTO: But you have a presence here in New York.

PRATT: Absolutely.

We spend about -- just under half our time here in the United States. And we travel all over. We have businesses in 26 states here, including the great state of Indiana, Georgia, Kansas. So, we spend a lot of time all over the place.

CAVUTO: Do you have any preferences on who you want to be the next American president?

PRATT: No, we live with whatever -- I think America will always be the great country it is. And we just -- we focus on the business, jobs, jobs, jobs.

CAVUTO: That's a very fair and balanced answer.

All right, thank you, Anthony Pratt, one of the richest people on the planet, by the way. So, he's done some things right.

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