Jeffrey Immelt brushed off worries that protectionist talk in the United States and the recent passage of a bill allowing US citizens to sue Saudi Arabia for the terrorist attacks on the country 15 years ago might affect US-Saudi relations.
Asked about the anti-trade mood stirred up both by US presidential candidate Donald Trump, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders and others on the left, Mr Immelt said: “Our strategies have to survive every election cycle in every country. Globalisation goes in and out of favour from a political standpoint, but it never goes out of favour from our customers’ standpoint.
On the passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or Jasta, overriding a presidential veto, Mr Immelt said: “I’m a proud American and I have sympathy in my heart for the victims of 9/11, but all the generals and the president were against the Jasta bill, and I’ve learnt from many years operating on the ground level that there is no more important relationship than that between Saudi Arabia and the US. This is a time to have a long-term view on the power of friendships and understand how important the kingdom is in the world.”
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