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AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Cargill chairman and CEO Dave MacLennan has not been shy about his support of global trade, and his confusion over whether President Trump's rhetoric on the subject is a negotiating tactic or a legitimate threat. Axios caught up with MacLennan on the sidelines of the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. Some takeaways:

Top-line loss: Cargill believes that the dissolution of NAFTA – sans replacement – would result in a 10% haircut to company revenue, which totaled around $110 billion in the most recent fiscal year. For context, Forbes lists Cargill as America's largest privately-held company.

Communication: MacLennan had his first-ever meeting with Commerce Sec. Ross yesterday, and only has had a phoner with Ag Sec. Perdue. He has still not met or spoken with the U.S. Trade Rep. Lighthizer.

New rival: He keeps a close eye on Amazon. Not only because of its move into the food space – now competing with major Cargill clients like Costco and Walmart – but also because he could see it moving into areas like freight (Cargill is the world's largest charterer of dry freight).

Private vs. public: MacLennan says that while Cargill is a major adopter of automation technologies, he believes that the company can be slightly less aggressive because it isn't publicly-traded. "Sometimes I ask at a location why we have people doing a job that maybe seems more efficient and safer to use a machine, and I hear about the importance of creating jobs in that local community, or about the cultural importance of keeping certain people. I'm not sure those arguments would work as well if we had to meet quarterly analyst estimates."

M&A: He declined to comment on reports that Cargill has interest in buying poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride, but did say that the decision is unlikely to be impacted by that company's recent $1.3 billion purchase of Britain's Moy Park. "Both companies are owned by JBS, so I view it as less of a deal and more of an accounting change."

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.