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GE CEO says U.S. companies should try harder to ‘compete for the world’

U.S. companies should commit to global markets by investing on the ground to achieve export-led growth, according to the head of General Electric Co. GE, +0.07% .

Jeff Immelt told students at Georgetown University late Thursday that multinationals have failed to invest at home or abroad for far too long, moving away from innovation and the pursuit of new markets. As a result, the U.S. has lost manufacturing jobs and gained retail jobs, leading to stagnant wages. That, in turn, has helped demonize the idea of globalization and sparked a wave of protectionism around the world.

“Economic nationalism is replacing free trade as the dominant idea of the era,” Immelt said.

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