June 21st, 2015
02:30 PM ET

Sec Jack Lew discusses TPP, currency rates, cybersecurity, the new $10 bill and more on Fareed Zakaria's GPS

Please credit any usage to “CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”

The following transcript is of an exclusive interview with United States Secretary of Treasury, Jack Lew, about the new 10-dollar bill, the President’s tough time getting his trade agenda passed following a Democratic revolt, and if hacking will be on the agenda when Secretaries Lew and Kerry meet with their counterparts from China next week in D.C. Also included, is a web extra on whether Greece will default.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Lew on convincing Democrats to support President Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: “…I make the argument that this is all about creating a better economy for American workers, creating a better future for our young people. … …will the United States be able to compete to sell goods and services in the rest of the world? And will other countries be adhering to the kinds of standards that we adhere to so that the level playing field works in our favor as opposed to us having high standards and them having low standards making it uncompetitive. So I think these are arguments that are real… …I try to convince people who are, kind of convinced there's no argument to be made.”

Lew on why a woman’s image will be on the 10-dollar bill: “…you know, this is a moment in time where it's been over 100 years since a woman has - the image of a woman has been on our currency. The reason the 10-dollar bill was chosen is because we make the decision based on security criteria. …We're going to unveil the 10-dollar bill by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage. I don't think we should wait any longer before we put a woman on our currency.”

Lew on the decision-making for putting the image of women back on U.S. currency: “…I will. It's actually one of the kinds of unique powers and decisions that you have as Secretary of the Treasury to make decisions regarding the design of our paper currency. And I take it very seriously. …A lot of people are weighing in on it. …our currency is not just something that's important here in the United States. Obviously, we use currency in our daily life. We touch it. It connects us to our history. But around the world it's a symbol of the values of the United States and the safety and soundness of the United States. So it really is a high obligation to make responsible, good decisions on how we have managed the design of our currency and it starts with security. And we are really looking forward to hearing from the American people and making a decision that will put a woman on our currency who represents our traditions of democracy, our history and our goals for the future.”

Lew on discussing currency rates and cybersecurity with Chinese economic officials next week: “…We need to use the S&ED [Strategic & Economic Dialogue] as a place to raise both the issues where we can work together and the issues that are of conflict between us.”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

Secretary Lew on who will be the woman on the next 10-dollar bill

Secretary Lew on how the portrait decision will be made

Secretary Lew on Greek & Euro – Web Extra

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: My next guest needs no introduction, so all I will say is, Jack Lew is Secretary of Treasury of the United States of America.

Jack, a pleasure to have you on.

JACK LEW, TREASURY SECRETARY: Good to be with you today, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: So, um, tell me, who is it going to be? Who is the woman who is going to not completely replace, but join Alexander Hamilton?

LEW: You know, Fareed, we have quite deliberately not made a decision. I have not made a decision yet. There are a number of can - a number of candidates. And I think in our history, there are a number of very strong candidates. But we've deliberately opened a conversation and gotten quite a lot of response, even in the first days, getting ideas from the American people about the symbols, ideas, things that they think represent democracy and what they think should be on our 10-dollar bill.

ZAKARIA: You're getting a lot of push back...

LEW: So I'm going to wait...

ZAKARIA: - you're getting a lot of push back, though, or some push back on taking Hamilton down a peg. A number of people have said why not Andrew Jackson? Andrew Jackson didn't even like the idea of a national currency. He didn't like the idea of a national bank. He's the guy you should have replaced.

LEW: So let me start by saying in our pantheon of founders, Hamilton has a special place. Our economy - many of the institutions of our democracy - are really attributable to his contributions.

He will continue to be represented on our currency. He will continue to be represented on the 10-dollar bill. We have a lot of ideas and design, how to incorporate it in a way that honors his contribution and legacy.

But, you know, this is a moment in time where it's been over 100 years since a woman has...the image of a woman has been on our currency. The reason 10-dollar bill was chosen is because we make the decision based on security criteria.

How do we make sure our currency is safe and sound and that it has the technology and it really is technology in our currency, to make sure we stay a step ahead of counterfeiters? For years now, the next piece of currency that's been in development is the 10-dollar bill. We're going to unveil the 10-dollar bill by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

I don't think we should wait any longer before we put a woman on our currency.

ZAKARIA: Are you going to make the decision of who the woman will be?

LEW: Yes, I will. It's actually one of the kinds of unique powers and decisions that you have as Secretary of the Treasury to make decisions regarding the design of our paper currency. And I take it very seriously.

ZAKARIA: That's a lot of pressure...

LEW: You know, the currency...

ZAKARIA: - your wife is going to be weighing in on this, I'm sure.

LEW: A lot of people are weighing in on it. You know, and our currency is not just something that's important here in the United States. Obviously, we use currency in our daily life. We touch it. It connects us to our history.

But around the world it's a symbol of the values of the United States and the safety and soundness of the United States. So it really is a high obligation to make responsible, good decisions on how we have managed the design of our currency and it starts with security. And we are really looking forward to hearing from the American people and making a decision that will put a woman on our currency who represents our traditions of democracy, our history and our goals for the future.

ZAKARIA: A tougher subject.

Why is the president not able to convince enough Democrats to support him on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

You know, without getting into the legislative, uh, you know, arcane TAA and TPP, the fundamental problem is there are a lot of Democrats who simply don't support the president on this and he hasn't been able to convince them.

LEW: You know, Fareed, I've worked on trade issues for over three decades. It has always been an area where it takes bipartisan support for Congress to enact trade legislation. And it's no secret that it requires more Republicans than Democrats.

ZAKARIA: What do you say to those Democrats who are on the fence or are wavering? How do you convince them? What is the argument that makes sense?

LEW: Look, I make the argument that this is all about creating a better economy for American workers, creating a better future for our young people.

If you look at...

ZAKARIA: But they say the jobs are all going to be outsourced to these countries.

LEW: So the growth in the future in terms of demand and markets is not mostly in the United States. It's mostly in other parts of the world.

The question is will the United States be able to compete to sell goods and services in the rest of the world?

And will other countries be adhering to the kinds of standards that we adhere to so that the level playing field works in our favor as opposed to us having high standards and them having low standards making it uncompetitive.

So I think these are arguments that are real and we've obviously persuaded enough Democrats to put a majority together. You know, I obviously never give up. I try to convince people who are, you know, kind of convinced there's no argument to be made.

But I think it will pass and the one thing I can say is the president has spared no effort on this. He has talked to more members than I can count, more senators than I can count. And everyone in the cabinet, including myself, is doing their job to try and get this across the finish line.

And it's been complicated. And there's been a lot of noise along the way. I take the long view on things like this. In the end, when we succeed and when we have a good agreement that builds a better, stronger U.S. economy and global economy, it will be seen as a major, major accomplishment and something that lays a foundation for a strong future.

ZAKARIA: You're meeting with top Chinese officials, your counterparts, as part of this Strategic Dialogue that takes place.

Are you going to raise the issue of cyber hacking and the fact that there's this extraordinary situation where they have hacked what appears to be millions and millions of government workers' identities?

LEW: Fareed, the Strategic & Economic Dialogue is a very important part of our engagement between the United States and China.

On the economic side, we've used it to do important work like bringing their exchange rate policy into a place where they're making progress where they've been moving slowly, but moving to open their markets and where we've been able to raise tough issues like their policies that restrict their market because of their requirements, say, in the area of national security or for information technology requirements.

We need to use the S&ED as a place to raise both the issues where we can work together and the issues that are of conflict between us.

You know, in the area of cyber security, we are the two largest economies in the world. We should work together to have rules of the road that make sense for the future.

But we've also been clear that China does things that we don't do. And, you know, in the past, we've been very clear at confronting them on issues about the theft of intellectual property and trade secrets.

ZAKARIA: Are you getting...

LEW: On the...

ZAKARIA: - anywhere?

Are you?

LEW: You know it is a tough issue. I'm not going to say that we have resolved it. But it's a tough issue. We need to be able to talk about it. We need to be able to work together where we can, but we need to be able to deal with the tough issues.

I'm not going to comment on the current situation. It's a matter of investigation by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. But the Strategic & Economic Dialogue is a very important place for us to try and work through tough issues and as we look ahead to September, when the leaders meet, to lay a foundation for us to continue to be able to make progress.

ZAKARIA: Jack Lew, a pleasure to have you on. Come back soon.

LEW: Great to be with you, Fareed.

WEB EXTRA

ZAKARIA: If Greece exits the euro, will that produce a Lehman-like moment?

LEW: You know, I'm not going to predict what the consequence would be. It's clear that within Greece, the consequence of a failure here would mean a terrible, terrible decline in their economic performance. It will hurt the Greek people. They will bear the first brunt of a failure here.

The risk of contagion obviously is different than it was in the past because Greek sovereign debt is no longer sitting on the balance sheets of financial institutions. It's mostly sitting in sovereign places.

That doesn't mean that we can sit here and know exactly how the markets and how the psychology will result if Greece fails, if Greece were to withdraw from the euro group. The reality is we see from day to day that there are impacts on other markets. I don't think anyone should want to find out.

What we know is the best solution is for Greece to make some tough decisions and for this to be worked out.

They are hard decisions and I've urged all the parties to be flexible. But I think we're at a moment now where the burden is on Greece to come back with a response that's the basis for reaching an agreement as quickly as possible.

END INTERVIEW


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