Even though it serves up a distant version of Mexican food, Irvine-based Taco Bell has only about 300 restaurants overseas versus 7,000 in the United States. But the company is trying to get more global, aiming to have 1,000 restaurants open in other countries by 2022.
However, the executive in-charge of the expansion says it will be harder to accomplish if theTrans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) does not pass, which appears likely since both presidential candidates strongly oppose the massive 12-nation trade pact.
“There seems to be a threat to the idea of free and open markets," Jason Weintraub, Taco Bell's head of international strategy and development, told KPCC Thursday afternoon after speaking at GetGlobal, a conference to assist business expansion in international markets. "I think this is unprecedented since World War II."
Weintraub said the TPP would make it easier to do business in countries like Japan, where local tariffs can make it more complicated and expensive to operate.
“A big example would be importing proteins or importing equipment," Weintraub said. "The more barriers there are, the harder it is to expand quickly.”
On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton made the prospects for ratification of the TPP sound bleak, after Trump attacked her for once calling the pact the "gold standard" of trade agreements.
"I’m against it now," Clinton said Wednesday. "I’ll be against it after the election. I’ll be against it when I’m president."