GE’s Immelt Vows to Speak Out to Support Ex-Im Bank, Trade Bill

General Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt says he intends to speak out in support of reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and legislation to speed approval of trade accords and urged employees to do the same.

In a post Thursday on his “On My Mind” blog for GE workers, Immelt said U.S. companies of all sizes may lose business to foreign competitors if Congress fails to reauthorize the bank or defeats the trade legislation.

“I need your attention and help,” Immelt said in the post. “We need to renew our efforts to grow the U.S. economy and fight back against this attack on exporters and their suppliers.”

Congress in the coming weeks is set to vote on so-called trade promotion, or fast-track, authority, which allows for an up-or-down vote on trade deals that have been negotiated by the president. The charter for the Export-Import Bank, which helps foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods, is set to expire June 30 unless Congress acts.

The two issues, which aren’t linked, have drawn opposition from a number of groups and lawmakers, who have said the bank benefits primarily large exporters, including Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE, and that negotiations for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal haven’t been transparent enough.

“You will see us get involved and do more in the next weeks and months,” Immelt said. “This is about competitiveness and embracing global opportunity - everywhere.”

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