GE CEO Warns Against US Protectionism, Wants Level Playing Field

General Electric Co. Chief Executive Jeff Immelt warned the Trump administration on Thursday to avoid protectionist policies while calling on it to level the playing field for American companies with tax reform, revived export financing and improved trade agreements.

In a speech at Georgetown University, Immelt said American companies and policymakers should “try harder” to compete in the global economy and win.

Public sentiment toward globalization and free trade has permanently changed because of their associations with outsourcing that has held down wages, China’s rise as an export power and job losses, so a new definition was needed, he said.

“Because of these factors, we are not going back to a pure free trade world,” Immelt said. “But is protectionism the answer? I guarantee you … we have the most to lose through protectionism.”

The Trump administration has taken steps toward increasing trade barriers around some industries, launching national security

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