JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon said that President Donald Trump is correct in his criticisms of China for its theft of American intellectual property as well as its unfair trade practices. At a town hall event in Washington held by Yahoo, Dimon asked Andy Serwer rhetorically: “Had trade been fair with China?” Under the assumption that the answer was “no,” Dimon proceeded to say, “The president pointed this out, and I hate to tell you, he’s right. We all know that. The Chinese know it. They steal intellectual property. There’s cybersecurity. There are very high tariffs for certain things.”
“When he’s right, he’s right,” Dimon said. “There’s no reason in saying he’s Trump, therefore, he’s wrong.”
JPMorgan has an interest in improving bilateral relations. Already doing banking in China, JPMorgan announced in February that it may underwrite bonds in the country’s interbank market. JPMorgan was the first American bank to achieve this approval in China, the world’s third-largest bond market.
During his campaign and thereafter, Trump has criticized China for devaluing its currency and “raping the US” with its unfair trade policy. Trump and Dimon are not China’s only critics. According to a Bloomberg report, China sponsors 90 percent of cyber-attacks in the United States related to economic espionage. According to Yahoo, national counterintelligence executive William Evanina said in 2015 that kind of espionage costs American businesses $400 billion a year. In addition, American businesses claim to have been unfairly targeted by Chinese regulators.
“I think their lack of market reform has hurt them,” Dimon said. “There’s no compelling reason these two powers have to go to [a trade] war … But there’s a pretty compelling reason they should work together.”