Remember this? Remember when Bernie Sanders used a chunk of his FiliBernie to note that GE CEO Jeff Immelt, whose company benefited from $16 billion in welfare from the federal government, was a big fan of outsourcing to China?
Gee! When GE had, a couple of years ago, some really difficult economic times, they needed $16 billion to bail them out, I didn’t hear Mr. Immelt going to China, China, China, China, China. I didn’t hear that. I heard Mr. Immelt going to the taxpayers of the United States for his welfare check. So I say to Mr. Immelt, and I say to all these CEOs that have been so quick to run to China, that maybe it’s time to start reinvesting in the United States of the America.
Well, that “Nut on China,” Immelt, will take the opportunity of Hu Jintao’s visit to the US this week to sign a deal that will share GE’s jet technology with a Chinese partner hoping to compete with Boeing and Airbus.
G.E., in the partnership with a state-owned Chinese company, will be sharing its most sophisticated airplane electronics, including some of the same technology used in Boeing’s new state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner.
For G.E., the pact is a chance to build upon an already well-established business in China, where the company has booming sales of jet engines, mainly to Chinese airlines that are now buying Boeing and Airbus planes. But doing business in China often requires Western multinationals like G.E. to share technology and trade secrets that might eventually enable Chinese companies to beat them at their own game — by making the same products cheaper, if not better.
The other risk is that Western technologies could help China in its quest to play catch-up in military aviation — a concern underscored last week when the Chinese military demonstrated a prototype of its version of the Pentagon’s stealth fighter, even though the plane could be a decade away from production.
The first customer for the G.E. joint venture will be the Chinese company building a new airliner, the C919, that is meant to be China’s first entry in competition with Boeing and Airbus.
Now, I’m not surprised about this–this is what all companies hoping to do business in China do. In fact, GM is surely sharing technology with its Chinese partner at the same rates it was before it got an even bigger bailout from the federal government.
This is just the next phase of it, the next higher level of technology we give away to China, soon to be followed by our jobs.
You’d think we could have gotten more in exchange for that $16 billion we gave GE.