GE’s Immelt: Economic Recovery and Exports Go Together

NPR’s “Morning Edition” program last week featured an informative interview with Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, emphasizing GE’s support for trade as an engine of economic recovery and emphasizing the need for government policies that foster U.S. competitiveness.

From “GE Calls For More Exports To Aid Economy“:

Immelt tells host Renee Montagne that the U.S. consumer can’t be the “sole engine of economic growth” in the same way they’ve been over the past two decades. “And for this economy to recover fully, it’s got to be led by business investment, and it’s got to be led by exports,” he says.

Trade deficits and the erosion of the manufacturing base in the U.S. are among the things that have to be fixed, he says. Immelt says the government will also have to focus on improving exports. …[snip]

Immelt says: “In the places where you have relatively high labor costs, they’ve got to be more productive.” The labor in any facility, he says, has to be able to compete on a “global basis.”

Immelt says the government can take steps to help improve productivity. “My sense is that there should be a real definitive desire to make the country more competitive and to try to make sure that we can export more because that’s where the growth is going to be.”

So that’s the big policy picture. Then there’s what the company itself is doing, as described in a GE news release from Friday, “GE To Open Advanced Manufacturing Technology & Software Center in Michigan“:

FAIRFIELD, Conn.–26 June 2009– The General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) today announced that it will open an advanced manufacturing technology and software center in Michigan. The center is expected to grow to more than 1,100 GE employees over the next few years.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Software Technology Center will include a GE research and development facility that will be part of GE’s Global Research network. It will house scientists and engineers who will develop next generation manufacturing technologies for GE’s leading renewable energy, aircraft engine, gas turbine and other high-technology products. Such work will include development of composites, machining, inspection, casting and coating technologies for GE’s Aviation and Energy businesses.

GE is constructing the new, $100 million facility as Visteon Village site in Van Buren Township, Wayne County, about 25 miles from Detroit. News coverage…

Very good news and excellent corporate leadership.


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