Taiwan: CEOs of US banks say they could leave China if it ever attacks the island

JP Morgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, Town (VS) CEO Jane Fraser, and Bank of America (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan was pressed on the subject Wednesday by U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri during a hearing on Capitol Hill.
“We will follow [the] direction of the government, which for decades has been working with China, and if they change that position, we will change it immediately, like we did in Russia,” Moynihan said, citing the companies’ response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dimon said JPMorgan would “welcome and follow absolutely anything the US government says — that’s all of you — and what you want us to do.”

Asked what she would do if it was up to her, Fraser said it was “very likely that we would have a significantly reduced presence, if any, in the country.”

“We really hope that doesn’t happen,” she added.

Tensions have risen recently between the United States and China over Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island that the communist leadership in Beijing has long claimed as part of its territory, although it has never ruled over it.

Earlier this year, Russia’s attack on Ukraine rekindled fears that China could be emboldened to advance its own military aggression against Taiwan. In an interview aired last weekend, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed that US forces would defend the territory against any aggression from mainland China.
The three US lenders have long operated in China. Citi, which bills itself as “the first American bank to fly the red, white and blue flag in China”, opened its first office there in 1902 and considers the country one of its “highest priorities”.

JPMorgan was launched there in 1921, with a footprint that now includes cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Bank of America offers corporate banking services in China, including a trade finance platform.
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Luetkemeyer also called on leaders to condemn alleged human rights abuses by China’s decision Communist Party.

“Doom is a very strong word,” Fraser said. “We are certainly very distressed to see this happening, and we do not want human rights abuses to occur anywhere in the world.”

Later, another lawmaker, Representative Lance Gooden of Texas, asked the CEOs if they “support a free and democratic Taiwan.”

Moynihan said “yes”, while Fraser was not asked to answer that question specifically.

“I support freedom and democracy everywhere. I’m not going to comment specifically on Taiwan – it’s up to the US government to make that kind of statement,” Dimon said.


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