Former American International Group Inc. CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg on Wednesday called the trade war with China “unfortunate,” as President Trump reportedly looks to increase pressure on Beijing with an additional round of tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Greenberg recently wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, emphasizing the importance of leveling the playing field between the two nations, which are the two largest economies in the world.
“They have 1.4 billion people, we have 300 million. On size alone, and all they’ve learned in the last 20-30 years makes them a candidate to be the largest economy in the world,” he said. “They can’t have the same benefits from us on trade that they had in the beginning. We helped them quite a bit … And I would hope the Chinese realize that and we come to an agreement.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced plans to remain in power for life. However, Greenberg said it’s hard to tell whether the plan will hold.
“He made himself the leader for life. Now is that going to stick? Remember there’s only about a million and a half communist members in China. They have a population of 1.4 billion. Are they going to be satisfied with President Xi for life? Time will tell,” said Greenberg.
Trump's tariffs are meant to punish China for unfair trade practices and the theft of intellectual property. Greenberg said while China won’t admit it, change is essential.
“Will it change enough to satisfy us? Probably not, but there will be movement,” he said.
When Bartiromo asked Greenberg about the potential for implementing the additional tariffs this week, he responded: “A tariff is only one part of trade. Does trade create jobs? Does it help income? It’s many things that it does, it’s not just the tariffs and we have to keep that in mind.”