CNBC's Trump Tuesday Debates Wal-Mart's Mexican Business Practices
The "Trump Tuesday” segment on CNBC's Squawk Box temporarily turned into advocacy for overseas bribery as segment star Donald Trump and Staples (NASDAQ: SPLS) founder (and Mitt Romney friend and associate) Tom Stemberg defended Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) practices in Mexico and slammed US practices of prosecuting the practice of bribing foreign officials to gain business licenses.
The pro-bribery deliberations came as an offshoot to a tangent in the conversation about Mark Zuckerberg's potential pre-nuptial agreement as the segment was wrapping up, but provided what may have been its most salient point. The talk was initiated when Squawk Box guest host Tom Stemberg thought the US prosecution of companies attempting to adapt to overseas business practices, which happen to accommodate bribes to officials in order to gain business exposure.
Trump and co-host Joe Kernen agreed: hampering the ability of US companies to be able to compete without an arm tied around their back due to domestic legal issues meant businesses from countries like China would gain the upper hand, eventually resulting in lost jobs in America.
The other co-host, DealBook's Andrew Ross Sorkin, remained an advocate of the anti-foreign-bribery legislation throughout the segment. He thought that doing business would become a “slippery slope” when our country stopped exporting strong business ethics and morals. He maintained that position regardless of whether US was thought to "police" or lead the world.
The three proponents of the other side countered that “the slope was already there,” whether US companies liked or not, so the matter was how competitive US companies needed to be going forward.
Alas, the segment ended without a “winner” in principle, but opens up an ongoing debate. Should the United States abide by its higher moral standards and ethical business practices when the rest of the world is slow or reluctant to do so? Should already-emerged new economic superpowers like China be allowed to unilaterally benefit from unfair (un-American?) business practices? What is the price for American business prosperity and where is this price paid?
What do you think?
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