(Bloomberg) -- Jamie Dimon said the Biden administration is pursuing the right strategy on China by focusing on national security and working with allies and the business community.
“They’re talking about the right things,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer told reporters at the US Capitol Tuesday, referring to top administration officials. He said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and others are focusing on vital interests such as national security, rare earths and semiconductors while at the same time trying to address unfair trade practices.
“This takes time. It will take a lot of work,” Dimon said, adding that US policy toward China shouldn’t be “just threatening stuff.”
Fresh from a trip visiting clients in China, Dimon addressed a meeting of moderate Democrats in the New Democrat Coalition in part about China, according to lawmakers.
The administration is “getting a lot of help from the business community about what’s the right way to do it without damaging American and international businesses,” Dimon said, adding that China policies should be set on a bipartisan basis and in consultation with allies.
“We have to keep the allies with us,” he said. “We do certain things, the allies get mad at us, that’s a mistake.”
The 67-year-old CEO declined to talk about Taiwan, saying he would leave that to the people whose job is to answer “the tough foreign-policy questions.”
He also downplayed China’s power relative to the US, citing US demographics, relative peace in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s strongest military.
“They are not a 10-foot giant,” Dimon said, emphasizing how much larger per-capita US gross domestic product is compared to China’s. “We made some mistakes in the past, let’s just fix it going forward. We have the most prosperous economy the world’s ever seen.”
A reporter asked if his remarks were a campaign speech — Dimon earlier had brushed off a question about running for president — and the CEO left.
Democratic Representative Gregory Meeks of New York characterized Dimon’s message as emphasizing that the US has strategic advantages over China. “Because we have what we need, they don’t. And we have institutions that they don’t. And so long as we work together with our allies, we’ll be in good shape,” Meeks said of Dimon after the meeting.
But Representative Gerry Connolly said Dimon’s message on China “whitewashes China’s aggressive behavior. We’re not the ones buzzing airplanes,” Connolly said.
“We’re not the ones claiming a whole sea as a private lake,” the Virginia Democrat said. “We’re not the ones encroaching on territorial waters of a dozen countries. We’re not the ones, you know, having an off-and-on again war on the Indian border. We’re not the ones abrogating an agreement in Hong Kong. We’re not the ones threatening Taiwan. So I don’t know, we kind of glossed over that.”
Dimon earlier praised lawmakers for voting for the debt-ceiling deal and reiterated his support for getting rid of the limit in the future.
“I think it’s fabulous that we didn’t have a debt-ceiling crisis, I applaud everyone who voted for it, Democrats and Republicans,” the CEO said. “If I had my druthers, I’d get rid of it one day,” citing the potential damage to the US and the dollar as the foundation of the global economy.
He spoke optimistically about the broader economy, saying consumers are in “great shape,” and added that he didn’t think it would be particularly significant if the Federal Reserve raises its benchmark interest rate another quarter point next week.
“Home prices have gone up for 10 years, asset prices have gone up, debt’s in good position,” Dimon said. But he added that the US “has issues down the road,” including excessive spending, quantitative tightening, the war in Ukraine and energy questions.
“We have to deal with those, so hopefully we’ll get through all of that,” Dimon said.
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