Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO, says US in ‘good position’ to negotiate with China

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And that’s a message the billionaire Wall Street titan wants the U.S. to remember, saying America needs to “take a deep breath” when it comes to relations with China.

“We have all the food, water and energy we need,” Dimon said in a Wall Street Journal interview published yesterday.

The two nations are separated by vast oceans, Dimon also pointed out, with no wars in North or South America to add to geopolitical tensions.

While the U.S. is self-sufficient for many of its own resources, the 68-year-old pointed out: “China imports 11 million barrels of oil a day. They’re a very complicated neighbor—their own actions are causing all their neighbors to re-arm. Their GDP per person is $15,000 versus our $80,000. So we’re in a very good position.”

In fact, the gap between China and America’s GDP per capita is even greater than Dimon laid out. According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s GDP per person is approximately $13,000 while the U.S. stands at more than $85,000 per person.

With that perspective in mind, Dimon said: “We have to restructure trade around national security.”

This is a warning he has given before. In his 2023 letter to shareholders, Dimon wrote the U.S.’s dependency on China for its own national security is the “most critical” aspect of the problem.

“The United States cannot rely on any potential adversaries for materials essential to our national security,” he explained. 

“Think rare earths, 5G and semiconductors, penicillin and materials critical to essential pharmaceuticals, among others. We also cannot be sharing vital technologies that can enhance an adversary’s military capabilities.”

But “they need oil and gas,” Dimon noted.

“So I would negotiate them around all of that,” the Wall Street veteran said, adding that he was glad the U.S. seemed to be doing so.

‘Hard to have a great relationship’

Given certain geopolitical alliances, Dimon said it was difficult for the U.S. and China to have a “great” relationship at the moment.

This week China has been told by NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that if it wants to have relationships in the West it must stop supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine.

While on a visit to Berlin this week, Stoltenberg said Beijing was helping prop up Russia’s economy by sharing technology like semiconductors.

Per Reuters, Stoltenberg said Russia imported 90% of its microelectronics—needed for missiles, tanks, and aircraft—from China. Beijing is also helping Russia with improved satellite and imaging capabilities, he added.

“China says it wants good relations with the West. At the same time, Beijing continues to fuel the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. They cannot have it both ways,” Stoltenberg said.

Dimon echoed this sentiment, saying: “As long as Ukraine is there, and they’re doing anything to aid and abet, I think it makes it very hard to have a great relationship with them.”

“I’m glad the government has the authority to do certain things,” he added. “If, in fact, some of these things are true then yeah, they should do some sanctions. But they should expect some back by the way.”

This week the WSJ reported—citing people familiar with the matter—the U.S. is drawing up sanctions that threaten to cut off some Chinese banks from the global financial system, in a bid to curtail China’s relationship with Russia.

What if Russia wins?

Dimon, who was paid $36 million for his work in 2023, has repeatedly said the biggest threat to the world economy is geopolitics.

In September last year, Dimon told CNBC affiliate network CNBC TV-18: “We have dealt with inflation before, we dealt with deficits before, we have dealt with recessions before, and we haven’t really seen something like [Russia’s war in Ukraine] pretty much since World War II.”

And if President Putin vanquishes over President Zelenskyy it could be a “potential disaster,” Dimon said this week.

“This is the first war in Europe, a free democratic nation invaded by 200,000 or 300,000 Russian soldiers under the threat of nuclear blackmail.

“We’ve never had nuclear blackmail before, which is also teaching the whole world that maybe having nuclear weapons is a good thing because people will be afraid of you and you can abuse a neighbor if you feel like it,” the Wall Street veteran continued.

But a win for Russia could also realign global powers, Dimon said, with other nations questioning whether America will come to their aid—be it in a military or economic sense.

“I’m a little worried that if Russia wins that war you’re going to see the world enter a little bit of chaos as people realign alliances and economic relationships,” he concluded.

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