JPMorgan CEO: A trade war could reverse economic growth

In an exclusive interview at the launch of the Chicago Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tells CNN's Christine Romans how he would have handled trade and China.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 5:51 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 5:51 AM

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is worried the economy's momentum could be derailed by President Donald Trump's trade wars.

"If you do another $200 billion of tariffs and this national security thing about cars, I think that you're getting pretty close to reversing some of the benefits you've seen in the economy," Dimon told CNNMoney's Christine Romans.

Trump has announced pending tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, as well as potential tariffs on imports of autos and auto parts.

Dimon is probably America's most influential bank CEO. He is the longest serving chief executive on Wall Street and heads the powerful Business Roundtable. Dimon spoke with CNNMoney last Thursday in an interview that touched on trade, education, immigration and Trump.

On China, Dimon said, Trump has "raised serious issues that are pretty accurate." But his tactics pose risks, and have the potential to dial back gains from corporate tax cuts, he said.

"I would remind folks that's the president's team has already said, 'There will be no retaliation.' They've already been wrong," Dimon said. "If I was the president, I'd be a little ticked off at some of my advisers, to tell you the truth."

On trade: 'Our next step' is not clear

Dimon said it's too early to know whether tariffs will undo the economy's gains, but that such a reversal is "possible."

Earlier this year, the United States imposed steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, angering allies such as Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which retaliated with tariffs of their own. The United States and China have swapped tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's goods, and Trump is threatening to strike again at even more Chinese exports.

Dimon said issues like Chinese intellectual property theft would have been better addressed by forming a "common front" with US allies such as Mexico, Canada, Europe and Japan.

"Now we have a little bit of a trade war, [a] trade skirmish — however you want to define it — with all our allies and China," he said. "That's complex. It raises the uncertainty a little bit."

While China will probably stick to "measured, tit-for-tat retaliation," it's not clear what the United States will do next, Dimon added.

"I just don't know what our next step is going to be," he said. "We're all anxiously waiting to see."

Dimon also said he wants the United States to wrap up negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"We want NAFTA done," he said. "To be torturing Mexico in this way, in my opinion, is dead wrong, and it should be fixed."

On immigration: Worried about the brain drain

Dimon reiterated his support for DACA, the Obama-era program that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to live and work domestically without fear of deportation.

"Most Americans like the immigrants they know, who help them and work with them," he said. "We need the jobs."

He also expressed concern about a US brain drain. Foreign nationals who go to college or graduate school in the United States should be awarded green cards after graduation, Dimon said.

"In Toronto, Vancouver, they're saying, 'We'll take them all,'" he said. "So you have these new research centers, new AI centers, and new [engineering] and design centers that are being built in Vancouver and Toronto, and not in Seattle. That can't be smart."

On infrastructure and education: 'Declare an emergency'

The United States remains the best place in the world to do business, Dimon said. But he believes the country has lost its way on infrastructure and education.

"We have a national emergency in inner city schools," Dimon said, adding that he would "do infrastructure and education like World War II" and "declare an emergency."

"It isn't like we haven't been trying a little bit, but we need success at this point," he said.

In recent years, JPMorgan has focused a good chunk of its giving on economic development in underserved communities.

On Thursday, the bank announced that it would invest $4 million to provide minority entrepreneurs on Chicago's South Side and West Side with the money and resources necessary to get their businesses off the ground, replicating funds the company set up in Detroit, San Francisco and New York City.

"We know what to do, and we have to do more of it," Dimon said.

On Trump

Dimon said he doesn't agree with all the president's policies, but believes he has an obligation to engage. "You can't take yourself off the playing field," he said.

Businesses can work with an administration without supporting all its policies, he added.

"I think it's a mistake to say that because business is trying to work with government that they're supporting every policy of the government," he said. "That just is not true."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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