May 4, 2017

Jeff Immelt: We aren't going back to "pure free trade world"

Steven Senne / AP

GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt will make a strong case against protectionism in remarks at Georgetown this afternoon, and will acknowledge that global companies like his (operates in 180 countries) have made past mistakes by being too elite:

"When companies believe that globalization is only about outsourcing … and when our country is less competitive … and when our government does not engage … and when companies reduce investing … workers suffer. That is what happened in the U.S. Because of these factors, we are not going back to a pure free trade world."
"The role of government is to level the playing field. In this regard, President Trump is right. We don't have the same opportunity to sell our products globally that is enjoyed by those selling in the U.S. or our global competitors. Trade can be made more fair, and American workers would benefit."

Why it matters: This is an executive who has called out Trump on issues including climate and the travel ban, but is working to navigate the new Washington.

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