The PJ Tatler

Jobs for China but not for South Carolina?

That’s what we’re getting from the Obama administration. I’ve blogged at length about the NLRB’s unprecedented move to stop Boeing from opening its Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, which puts 11,000 American jobs in jeopardy. That’s Obama admin policy in action.

While that’s going on, Obama’s jobs czar Jeffrey Immelt has his company, GE, moving its entire health care headquarters not just out of a union state, but out of the United States.

General Electric Co. (GE)’s health-care unit, the world’s biggest maker of medical-imaging machines, is moving the headquarters of its 115-year-old X-ray business to Beijing to tap growth in China.

“A handful” of top managers will move to the Chinese capital and there won’t be any job cuts, Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of X-ray for GE Healthcare, said in an interview. The headquarters will move from Waukesha, Wisconsin, amid a broader parent-company plan to invest about $2 billion across China, including opening six “customer innovation” and development centers.

There won’t be any job cuts for the Boeing plant, either. Those are all new jobs, for American workers, that would help keep an American company competitive. But they’re non-union, so they’re apparently forbidden. Unless you put them in China.

The X-ray business, whose financial results aren’t reported separately by GE, will hire 65 new engineers and support staff at a new Chengdu facility, the company said in the statement. GE has hired “a large number” of engineers who are in training, LeGrand said. GE, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, also has a global research center in Shanghai.

“Over the next five years, China will be GE Healthcare’s most important growth market,” Rachel Duan, the China unit’s president and chief executive officer, said in Beijing.

The company wants to keep its leading position in providing medical devices targeted at higher-end Chinese customers, and also break into China’s growing market for primary health care, a key goal of the Chinese government’s health-care reform plans.

So GE is moving to China to keep its leading position in that field. Just as Boeing wanted to open its plant in South Carolina.

Where’s the Obama administration on all this? In Immelt’s pocket, evidently.