JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said it’s very unlikely that the U.S. and China will secure a new trade deal ahead of the 2020 election, but the United States is in the catbird seat when it comes to negotiating strength and leverage.
“I don’t expect it to happen before the elections, tell you the truth,” Dimon said Wednesday at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. “But I hope after that we have a fair trade deal.”
Dimon didn’t go into further detail of why he doesn’t think there will be a trade deal, but the prevailing train of thought is that China will take its chances by waiting out the first term of U.S. President Donald Trump to see if he loses the 2020 election. Then China can deal with a Democratic president in hopes that it will get a better deal.
“They should take trade more seriously than they have,” Dimon said of China. “Fair means kind of reciprocal. Trade has never been reciprocal, but closer to reciprocal in a way that’s good for everybody.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average actually shot up 150 points Wednesday morning after Trump said a trade deal could arrive sooner than expected. Though, things were kept in check in part due to the House of Representatives opening an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump sought foreign influence to meddle in the 2020 election.
Wall Street doesn’t think the impeachment inquiry will help Trump get a new deal with China, and will actually hinder the process.
“I think we kind of baked in the front end of the announcement during the course of the afternoon, but we’ve got a lot more to learn,” National Securities chief market strategist Art Hogan told CNBC. “This is going to be news that spills out over time but I can’t imagine the start of this process improves the tone of the U.S.-China trade talks.
“If I’m China, I feel empowered.”
Dimon, however, said the U.S. is in a much stronger position.
“People should look at China a little bit differently,” he said. “I say this out of respect: They don’t have enough food, water and energy. Their neighbors are really complicated, including the Koreas, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, India and Russia. They have 500 million people living in poverty and a GDP per person of $10,000.
“Even if we do a crappy job running this country for the next 30 years, our GDP per person will be three times theirs 30 years from now.”