Commerce Secretary Don Evans

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 14, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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BRENDA BUTTNER, GUEST HOST: The administration has been largely speaking with one voice when it comes to Iraq. But so have Germany, France and even Russia when it comes to playing the waiting game. Could this rift cause any economic fallout between our nations as we move forward? Let's ask one of the president's closest advisors, Commerce Secretary Don Evans.

Welcome, sir.

DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Welcome, Brenda, how are you?

BUTTNER: I'm well, thank you. This is much more actually economic I think than military. How much of this is France and Germany trying to get a commercial edge or advantage in the Mideast? And what role can we play there?

EVANS: Well, you know, Brenda, let me say that where I'm focused on is growing this domestic economy, the American economy, growing jobs in this country, and providing an economic security for all Americans. You know, I don't think that Russia's position or Germany's position or the French position has anything to do with economic issues related to that part of the world.

BUTTNER: Well, but actually, sir, as commerce secretary, you're very involved in trade and international business and could have a very direct effect on France and Germany. We could take out some subsidies. We could really - they are putting the screws to us, why don't we put it to them?

EVANS: Brenda, look, trade and opening up trade all around the world is very important. The president is very focused on that. It was very important to get trade promotion authority passed for this president this last year. We are moving very hard to make sure we have a World Trade Organization free trade agreement finished by January 2005. We're working very hard in the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which are all the Western hemispheric country to have a trade agreement with them by January 2005. The president is focused on opening up markets all around the world. That will include opening up markets in Russia. It will include opening up markets in France, in Germany, in Eastern European countries, Asian countries.

BUTTNER: But the White House is also very focused on the war against terror and the war against Iraq and the relation between the two. Turkey has been asking for some financial aid in exchange for letting us use their facilities. That was something the president was talking about today. Any progress on that front?

EVANS: Well, I know we're in active discussions. We'll continue those discussions. We'll continue to work with Turkey and other countries that are joining us in this coalition. And you know, we need to continue to work with all our friends around the world as we fight this war on terrorism.

BUTTNER: A lot of Americans are facing a very direct tax. You can give them tax relief on gas and oil prices. Any movement there? We only have about 15 seconds, sir, I'm sorry.

EVANS: A direct tax on gas?

BUTTNER: Yes. Our gas prices are going up. We're facing a tax, it's taking money out. Do you plan on doing anything about that?

EVANS: Yes, we can. We can get Congress to pass an energy bill as the president has been calling for for the last couple of years.

BUTTNER: Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt you. We have got to pay our bills.

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