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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 3:46 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 4:06 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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 608519

Reported Deaths: 9693
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion840461335
Lake45349684
Allen32803548
Hamilton29394315
St. Joseph27380381
Elkhart24404345
Vanderburgh19411249
Tippecanoe17970138
Johnson15069295
Porter14783169
Hendricks14401248
Madison10965221
Vigo10726181
Clark10677144
Monroe9383110
Delaware9116134
LaPorte9065163
Howard8236144
Kosciusko806983
Warrick672999
Hancock6697104
Bartholomew6484100
Floyd6428110
Wayne6136162
Grant5991115
Dubois555579
Boone551168
Morgan541295
Henry507864
Marshall503984
Cass483263
Dearborn479845
Noble473059
Jackson425047
Shelby417581
Lawrence391079
Clinton373043
Gibson370359
Harrison348144
DeKalb347164
Montgomery345754
Knox335639
Miami321444
Steuben313745
Whitley307326
Wabash303251
Adams300936
Ripley298445
Putnam296850
Huntington291659
Jasper289034
White273243
Daviess270474
Jefferson263338
Decatur247683
Fayette247148
Greene239862
Posey239328
Wells236051
LaGrange228862
Scott225339
Clay222532
Randolph213548
Jennings198936
Sullivan192333
Spencer191321
Washington186423
Fountain184027
Starke175443
Jay167623
Owen165737
Fulton164030
Orange159534
Carroll158015
Rush155118
Perry154229
Vermillion149134
Franklin148333
Tipton132332
Parke13078
Pike116926
Blackford111022
Pulaski97037
Newton90921
Brown88035
Benton86610
Crawford7999
Martin73713
Warren6817
Switzerland6615
Union6287
Ohio4907
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 859841

Reported Deaths: 10680
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101171707
Cuyahoga855711125
Hamilton64017448
Montgomery43107418
Summit34836761
Lucas31350625
Butler30973232
Stark25786435
Warren19671140
Lorain19017223
Mahoning17321338
Lake16080154
Clermont15926111
Delaware1438878
Licking13204137
Trumbull12809316
Fairfield1279381
Greene12055137
Medina11591168
Clark10942265
Wood10348158
Allen9897126
Portage9296109
Miami916873
Richland9139118
Marion7459113
Tuscarawas7381182
Columbiana7327124
Pickaway726150
Wayne7034171
Muskingum703141
Erie6152129
Hancock552390
Ross548998
Scioto539164
Geauga508455
Darke470292
Ashtabula453073
Lawrence452654
Union451828
Sandusky436662
Mercer433589
Seneca430166
Huron428741
Auglaize422264
Shelby421222
Jefferson419269
Belmont416840
Washington388740
Athens38009
Putnam374975
Madison355129
Knox352622
Ashland344938
Fulton338443
Defiance330086
Crawford322374
Preble320637
Brown312921
Logan307332
Ottawa293943
Clinton290143
Williams278667
Highland275118
Jackson263845
Guernsey254125
Champaign252028
Fayette236530
Morrow23234
Perry231318
Holmes225474
Henry218749
Hardin213033
Coshocton205622
Van Wert202245
Gallia196726
Wyandot196051
Pike176217
Adams176115
Hocking172024
Carroll155616
Paulding144321
Noble120540
Meigs108624
Monroe100732
Harrison89121
Morgan83130
Vinton70213
Unassigned00
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