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Fmr. GE CEO: To solve big problems, China has to be our partner

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In an interview with Yahoo Finance's Julie Hyman, former GE CEO Jeff Immelt discusses globalization and the importance of forging a relationship between the world's two largest economies.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Gotcha. You also mentioned globalization. I do want to ask you about China as well because you have extensive experience in terms of business interests in China. The Biden administration has continued to take somewhat of a hard line toward China. So how should business leaders be thinking about their relationships there, both with corporations that are based there, as well as the Chinese regulators and authorities?

JEFF IMMELT: Yeah, look, to a certain extent, we always have to follow the lead of the government. And the relationship with China is more complicated and negative today than at any time, certainly, in my business career. But it's going to be the biggest market or the second biggest market in almost everything that's important. If you want to solve bigger-- some of the biggest problems like climate change, China has to be our partner. Can you imagine the two biggest economies in the world not having some kind of economic relationship?

So, look, I advise business leaders not to pull back right now. In fact, if anything, if I were back in the seat of running a big public company or a multinational company, I'd be investing more in China now, not less, just because, you know, electric vehicles, clean tech, AI-- I could go down the list. Many of the futures of the industries we care a lot about are going to be determined both in the US, but also in China. And the Chinese influence in Europe and Africa and Latin America is not going to go away.

So my belief is for engagement, I think it's important. I know it's really hard right now and very controversial, but I wouldn't pull back. I'd keep focused on building the right kind of Chinese context inside inside your company.