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'We are at a point where business and politics are inseparable,' said Box CEO Aaron Levie

Harriet Taylor

Chief executive officers must speak up to ensure America remains globally competitive, Box (NYSE: BOX) CEO Aaron Levie said on "Closing Bell."

"We are at a point where business and politics are inseparable if we're going to stay competitive and be able to innovate for the future," he said.

Corporate leaders must take a more active role in telling Washington what they think about things like immigration reform, encryption policy, privacy issues, global trade and healthcare, which, "is certainly going to impact a lot of different markets," he said.

Indeed other leaders have issued similar comments, calling on business executives to take more of a leadership role, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz said on "Mad Money," Wednesday.

"We must do more for our people that we serve, the communities, and we have a bigger responsibility," he said. "We can't wait for Washington."

Levie did not take a position on the Republican's American Health Care Act (AHCA) ., which was scheduled to be voted on Thursday but ultimately delayed.

"We're a little bit removed from this specific issue," he said.

"We obviously want transformation in in healthcare broadly," said Levie. "We think that healthcare needs to be cheaper, more affordable, more efficient, more patient-centric, there's a lot of innovation that needs to happen still in healthcare."

Though some CEOs — like Uber's Travis Kalanick — have taken heat for participating in President Donald Trump 's economic council or meeting with the President, it is possible to participate in policy discussion without alienating either side, Levie said.

"It's unfortunate that our bi-partisan system equates a side to each issue as opposed to letting us discuss each issue on its own merit and be able to focus on how do we have an economy and a country that can let companies stay innovative," said Levie.

Levie is an active Twitter user and has criticized Trump's rhetoric and policies as regressive in the past, and asked Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) CEO Marc Benioff to deliver that message to the President at a meeting on Friday.

Levie has also previously highlighted the challenges start-up CEOs now face when it comes to hiring foreign employees.




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