JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon: The U.S. Should Work with China to Make the World Better

January 16, 2019

By Chloe Aiello

The U.S. needs to work on improving its relationship with China as well as stabilizing its own economy by ending the government shutdown, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday.

"This will be the most important relationship in the world for the next 100 years. It will be incumbent upon both of us to do a good job with it," Dimon said during an appearance at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday.

Dimon's comments come one day after JPMorgan, the world's biggest bank by assets, missed analysts expectations on earnings for the first time in almost four years. Analysts have faulted choppiness in the December markets with a slide in JPMorgan's capital markets operations, and Dimon seemed to echo that sentiment in a statement released on Tuesday that urged "our country’s leaders to strike a collaborative, constructive tone" to help restore stability.

On Wednesday, he shrugged off the miss, attributing Wall Street's estimates to a "smart dumb average" of "what 20 people think are estimates," adding that those people "go on vacation in the last part of December."

As nonchalant as Dimon was about JPMorgan's earnings, he struck a more alarmist tone on what he called "bad policy" impacting the economy, concerning things like trade with China, immigration reform, and the government shutdown.

Regarding China, Dimon said the Trump administration has raised some very important concerns over intellectual property, investment rights, tariffs, and other issues ー and that China is finally listening. But Dimon added it's critical to allow China to grow.

"Americans should understand that China has the right to grow itself, and be proud of itself, and want to regain its rightful spot on the planet. That does not mean you have to have natural conflict," he said.

The U.S. is lucky to have access to sufficient food, water, and natural resources, plus friendly neighbors, in Canada and Mexico.

China, he said, is not that lucky, and has a long way to go before it can come close to matching the advantages the U.S. has in its financial markets, innovation, university systems, and rule of law.

"What we should be doing is working with them to make the planet better for everybody," he said.

Dimon, however, acknowledged things aren't perfect at home, calling the government shutdown "another self-inflicted wound."

On a call with investors following Tuesday's earnings report, Dimon warned that a government shutdown that extends throughout the first quarter of fiscal 2019 could have some serious consequences for GDP growth in that period. On Wednesday, he clarified that it is very difficult to determine what exactly the shutdown will do to the economy, but "it is a negative."

"When the democracy was formed, that meant you compromised. That's what a democracy is. You can't have a democracy where you refuse to compromise," he said.

Dimon recommended that congressional Democrats compromise by giving Trump some of the money he has demanded for border security, in exchange for allowances on DACA.

"At one point we have to get back to regular government," he added.