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JPMorgan CEO: US economy is 'strong and it's getting stronger'

In an exclusive interview at the launch of the Chicago Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tells CNN's Christine Romans why he believes the strong economy may be sustainable.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 3:06 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 3:06 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: 154411

Reported Deaths: 3836
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10332104
Hinds10190199
Harrison7244111
Jackson6521124
Rankin5805103
Lee523695
Madison4964107
Forrest388286
Jones367788
Lauderdale3575147
Lafayette334952
Washington3241108
Lamar296650
Oktibbeha251362
Lowndes243864
Bolivar242984
Panola229653
Neshoba2241118
Marshall221250
Leflore207791
Monroe203978
Pontotoc202929
Lincoln194865
Sunflower192555
Warren178757
Tate177051
Union171026
Copiah167040
Pike164758
Yazoo158840
Scott157930
Itawamba156135
Alcorn154828
Pearl River154168
Coahoma151943
Simpson151953
Prentiss149531
Adams144451
Grenada142845
Leake139444
Holmes132361
Tippah128030
Covington127939
George126425
Winston124526
Hancock123640
Wayne120623
Marion118646
Attala117534
Tishomingo110842
Chickasaw109032
Newton108029
Tallahatchie97727
Clay93427
Clarke93053
Jasper84822
Stone80015
Calhoun78113
Walthall77229
Montgomery75825
Carroll74015
Lawrence73414
Smith72816
Noxubee72517
Yalobusha72328
Perry68126
Tunica62319
Greene61222
Claiborne58916
Jefferson Davis58817
Amite55814
Humphreys54719
Benton49918
Quitman4977
Webster46414
Kemper44718
Wilkinson40422
Jefferson36411
Franklin3535
Choctaw3507
Sharkey32317
Issaquena1204
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
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