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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

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

2 hours ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.

China's crypto throwdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's latest move to ban cryptocurrency shows how tough it will be for the technology to deliver on its backers' vision of disruptive, decentralized change.

The big picture: Control of the currency is a foundation of sovereignty, and governments don't plan on losing that control even as money inevitably turns digital.