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Chase, IBM CEOs Speak Out Against Trade Tariffs

U.S.-China trade war

Chief executive officers are continuing to raise concerns about rising global trade tensions and market volatility, reports from Yahoo Finance said Thursday (June 13).

Reporters spoke with Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who both agreed the biggest concern today is trade uncertainty.

“I think the biggest self-inflicted risk to growth today would be trade going south,” Dimon said during a discussion held by CEO lobbying group Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C. this week, according to reports. The Roundtable also released a survey that highlighted CEOs’ rising trade concerns despite persistent optimism about the future.

“I think trade is the scariest area,” said Linebarger. “We have been the most successful trading economy ever — that ever existed — and we built many of our companies on the back of being successful internationally. So stopping us from competing would be the worst damage to the U.S. economy.”

He added that trade tariffs “are a significant burden on U.S. companies and farms” that could have a long-lasting impact on those businesses and, eventually, the overall economy.

“I’m really concerned about that impact it has on our economy and the Chinese economy, for that matter,” Linebarger said, arguing that the cost of the trade tariffs outweigh the benefits of the 2017 tax cuts.

JPMorgan Chase’s Dimon also warned that President Donald Trump’s proposal for another round of 25 percent tariffs on Chinese imports is likely to dampen corporate outlook.

“It adds to the risk of pushing into a downturn,” he said, according to reports. “It’s just raising the risk of a bad outcome. That’s all it does.”

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, also speaking at the roundtable, said the CEOs are hopeful for the outcome of Trump’s planned meeting with Chinese President Xi.

“You would hope what it would do is create an environment for productive discussion, right?” said Rometty. “That’s actually very important as well on the Chinese side … that there can be a set of discussions in the right tone, with the right perspective as they go forward.”

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