‘Very Scary’: Billionaire Obama Cabinet Member Pleads With US Not To Economically Cut Off China

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Penny Pritzker, a former Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration and billionaire heiress, lamented this week that there’s political momentum behind “decoupling” the U.S. from China economically.

Pritzker, who has held various business interests dependent on China in the time she accumulated a net worth of more than $3 billion, made the comments at Semafor’s World Economy Summit Wednesday. The longtime friend of former President Barack Obama said the current state of Chinese-American relations is dangerous.

“Frankly, the two largest economies need to work together,” Pritzker said. “Decoupling is very scary … what is going to happen is, at some point, American business is going to look at itself and say, ‘It’s not worth it.’ Or ‘I can’t afford to be active in both places I’m going to have to pick.’ That isn’t good for the world.”

“We need our governments talking to one another,” she continued. “We stopped doing that in the last four or five years and that’s extremely dangerous.” She added that both countries realize the ongoing escalation is “extremely dangerous.” (RELATED: LEAKED DOCS: New Chinese Hypersonic Missile Has ‘High Probability’ Of Penetrating US Defenses)

Pritzker, the older sister of Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, currently sits on the board of Microsoft. The company boasts about a 30-year presence in the Chinese market, which is its second-biggest following the United States.

The Pritzker family fortune comes primarily from the Hyatt Hotel empire, which was purchased and built by Penny’s uncle, Jay, in the 1950s. Penny’s cousin, Thomas, is currently the executive chairman of Hyatt, which has more than 100 properties in mainland China.