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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC's Carl Quintanilla Sits Down with Jeff Immelt, Chairman & CEO General Electric, on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (Transcript Included)

Jeffrey Immelt
Jeffrey Immelt

WHEN: August 18, 6:15 AM, 7:13AM and 8:52AM ET
WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Box"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Jeff Immelt Chairman & CEO General Electric, today on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

6:15AM

QUINTANILLA: A FEW HOURS AGO, WE CAUGHT UP WITH JEFF IMMELT, AND WE ASKED HIM WHAT LESSONS WILL BE DRAWING FROM THESE GAMES A YEAR FROM NOW.

IMMELT: I THINK FROM AN NBC STANDPOINT, I ALWAYS NEW THAT THEY WOULD DO A GREAT JOB OF TELEVISING IT. I THINK IT'S LUCKY WHEN A GUY LIKE PHELPS COMES IN AND DOES A GREAT JOB. I WAS SAYING THE OTHER DAY, HE MAY BE THE YOUNGEST VP IN GE HISTORY. BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THE ONLINE PIECE, OUR ABILITY TO KIND OF PUT IT ACROSS MSNBC AND MULTIPLE VENUES HAS REALLY BEEN FANTASTIC. I THINK THE ABILITY TO PACKAGE IT IN A WAY THAT WAS ENOUGH LIVE IN THE U.S. WOULD KEEP PEOPLE COMING BACK FOR MORE. I THINK THE TELEVISING PIECE HAS BEEN GREAT. AN THEN I WOULD SAY, CARL, FROM A GE STANDPOINT, YOU KNOW, WE'RE AN INFRASTRUCTURE MEDIA FINANCIAL SERVICE COMPANY. IT WAS ALWAYS OUR HYPOTHESIS THAT USING THE OLYMPICS AS AN INFRASTRUCTURE VENUE WOULD, WOULD, THE ABILITY TO DO $700 MILLION IN BUSINESS HERE, MAYBE DO AN EQUAL AMOUNT OR MORE IN LONDON, MAYBE DO 500 MILLION IN VANCOUVER, AND THEN TAKE WHAT WE LEARNED AROUND THE OLYMPICS AND MOVE IT TO THE SHANGHAI EXPO, OTHER PLACES IN ASIA, I THINK IT'S BEEN A WIN ON BOTH COUNTS. ON THE MEDIA SIDE AND ON THE TOTAL GE SIDE.

QUINTANILLA: BUT CHINA IN PARTICULAR SEEMS TO HIT ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT TO HIT. URBANIZATION, ENERGY, WATER RESOURCES. IS IT THE SWEETEST MARKET YOU'VE GOT?

IMMELT: CHINA'S REALLY CRITICALLY IMPORTANT AND I BELIEVE IN THE CASE OF GE, WE'RE IN THE EARLY DAYS OF OUR GROWTH HERE. I THINK YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT A PLACE LIKE CHINA AS OUR SECOND HOME MARKET AS A COMPANY. AND AS THIS URBANIZATION TAKES PLACE, AS YOU GET -- THERE'S 25 CITIES IN CHINA THAT ARE BIGGER THAN CHICAGO. 25 AIRPORTS. IT'S GOING TO BE THE LARGEST COMMERCIAL AVIATION MARKET IN THE WORLD BY 2020 OR 2025. I COULD JUST GO DOWN THE LIST. SO WE ARE LONG CHINA. WE MADE A BIG STATEMENT HERE WITH THE OLYMPICS AND THE SPONSORSHIP AND WE'RE NOT DISAPPOINTED IN TERMS OF WHAT THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN.

QUINTANILLA: ALL THE SAME, INFLATIONS AT 10%. THE DEMAND, THE BUILDING DEMAND, POST OLYMPICS, NATURALLY WILL FALL. THERE'S CHATTER ABOUT THE WORKERS WHO BUILT THE BIRD'S NEST ARE HAVE TROUBLE FINDING CONSTRUCTION JOBS NOW. IS THE SHIFT GOING TO SLOW EVEN TEMPORARILY?

IMMELT: IT'S ALWAYS BEEN THE SPECULATION THAT POST OLYMPICS, CHINA WAS GOING ON SLOW. I THINK YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK WEST. THAT'S THE NEXT STORY IN CHINA. I'D SAY THE LAST 10 OR 20 YEARS HAVE BEEN ABOUT BEIJING AND SHANGHAI. NOW I THINK THE NEXT FIVE OR TEN YEARS WILL BE ABOUT GOING WEST. IT'S GOING TO BE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. THE TECHNOLOGIES WILL CLEAN UP THE ENVIRONMENT. AND WHEN THE 11TH FIVE YEAR PLAN. AND IF YOU JUST GO BACK OVER THAT TIME PERIOD WITH THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT, REALLY THEY'VE HAD A METHODICAL APPROACH AND THERE'S GOING TO BE A FEW BUMPS IN THE ROAD, BUT I JUST -- I'M PRETTY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WHAT WE SEE IN CHINA. I DID INTERVIEW WITH THE GE GUYS IN CHINA. THEIR BUSINESSES ARE ALL BOOMING. SO I FEEL ABOUT GOOD ABOUT WHAT WE SEE.

QUINTANILLA: YOU MENTIONED A GOVERNMENT. EVERYTHING WE CAN SEE IS THAT THE CHINESE ARE PROUD TO BE PART OF THE WORLD COMMUNITY NOW, RIGHT? BUT THEY'RE EVEN MORE PROUD TO SIMPLY BE CHINA. THE APPROVAL RATINGS FOR THE GOVERNMENT ARE THROUGH THE ROOF. DOESN'T THAT TAKE AWAY ANY INCENTIVE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO BEND ON PIRACY?

IMMELT: I WOULD SAY, AGAIN, I'VE BEEN COMING HERE MORE THAN 20 YEARS. I'VE ALWAYS VIEWED THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT TO BE VERY PRAGMATIC THAT THEIR I DON'T THINK IS TO HOUSE AND FEED A BILLION PEOPLE, THAT THEY'VE ALWAYS RECOGNIZED THAT HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES AND WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD IS VERY STRATEGIC ON THAT PATHWAY. SO I JUST THINK THEY BELIEVE DEEP DOWN THAT IT'S ALWAYS BEEN OFFICIAL TO ENGAGE AND HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S.NOW, IT'S NOT LIKE THEY'RE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING THAT WE WANT THEM TO DO. MAYBE THERE'S SOME PLACES. BUT I THINK THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT GETS THE FACT THAT THEY'RE BETTER OFF WITH US WITH THE FRIEND, US MEANING THE U.S., THAN ANY OTHER WAY.

7:13 AM

QUINTANILLA: WELCOME BACK TO "SQUAWK BOX" LIVE FROM BEIJING. IT'S BEEN A MONTH SINCE GENERAL ELECTRIC GAVE GUIDANCE FOR Q3 SAYING THEY WOULD EARN 50 TO 54 CENTS. WE CAUGHT UP WITH OUR CAUGHT JEFF IMMELT, AND WE ASKED HIM HOW THE QUARTER IS SHAPING UP SO FAR.

IMMELT: WE STILL LOOK AT THAT RANGE. I WOULD SAY ENVIRONMENTALLY, ECONOMICALLY WE DON'T SEE A LOT DIFFERENT TODAY THAN WE SAW, YOU KNOW, IN THE MIDDLE OF -- IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY. YOU KNOW, THE FINANCIAL MARKETS ARE STILL TOUGH. HOUSING PRICES ARE STILL GOING DOWN. THE U.S. CONSUMER IS STILL UNDER SOME STRESS, BUT THE GLOBAL MARKETS REMAIN VERY ROBUST. THE EXPORT SIDE REMAINS VERY ROBUST. WE DIVIDE -- WE ALWAYS PRESENT TO INVESTORS MAJOR EQUIPMENT, SERVICES, AND FLOW. YOU KNOW, THOSE THREE SEGMENTS ARE OUR ORDER PATTERN. NATURE, EQUIPMENT HAVE BEEN RUNNING 30% ORDER FOR FOUR, FIVE YEARS. OUR ORDERS IN THE THIRD QUARTER ARE STILL BOOMING. YOU KNOW, WE STILL SEE THAT KIND OF STUFF. AROUND THE EDGES I WOULD SAY THAT, YOU KNOW, COMMODITIES APPEAR TO BE SOFTENING A LITTLE BIT AND MAYBE WE'LL CATCH A LITTLE BREAK THERE.YOU KNOW, THE OLYMPICS ARE GREAT, BUT, YOU KNOW, THE MEETING HOUSE AND PRICE IS STILL GOING DOWN.THERE'S STILL TOUGH SIGNS AROUND THE U.S. CONSUMER AND AROUND THE FINANCIAL MARKETS.

QUINTANILLA: SOME OF THE SPREADS WE'VE SEEN ARE THE WORST SINCE MARCH.INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, PAYROLLS,JUST LEADING CREDIT INDICATORS MAKE PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THIS IS MARCH ALL OVER AGAIN. IS IT?

IMMELT: I THINK THERE WAS A CERTAIN UNIQUENESS AROUND MARCH THAT WE HAVEN'T SEEN YET WHEN WE GO OUT AND DO GE CORPORATE BONDS WE'RE SEEING GOOD DEMANDS, WE'RE NOT SEEING ANY OF THE SAME CHURN WE SAW IN THE MARCH TIME PERIOD. WHILE THAT'S BEING SAID LOOK IF YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND YOU SEE A BANK OR SOMEBODY ELSE,YOU KNOW, THAT'S DOING SOMETHING NEW, IT'S JUST CHURNS UP THE MARKET ALL OVER AGAIN, AND SO I THINK WE STILL HAVE SOME MORE CHOP AHEAD OF US, AND WE JUST HAVE TO PREPARE FOR THAT.

QUINTANILLA: CHOP OF GREATER DEGREE OR LESSER DEGREE OR IT'S JUST TOO EARLY TO TELL?

IMMELT: TOO EARLY TO TELL. WE'VE BEEN AT THIS A YEAR NOW, RIGHT? THE LEVERAGING STARTED LAST AUGUST. I MEAN, THIS HAS BEEN A TOUGH -- FINANCIAL SERVICES HAVE BEEN REALLY TOUGH FOR THE LAST 12 MONTHS. I WOULD PUT THAT ASIDE AND SAY, LOOK, FROM A GE STANDPOINT, FROM A FINANCIAL SERVICES STANDPOINT, WE MADE MORE THAN ANYBODY ELSE IN THE FIRST QUARTER LAST YEAR. WE'RE GOING TO DO DEALS RIGHT NOW IN FINANCIAL SERVICES THAT ARE GOING TO FUEL EARNINGS FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. I MEAN, IF YOU HAVE SOME CASH, YOU GOT A STRONG BALANCE SHEET, YOU KNOW, THIS IS AS GOOD A TIME AS YOU ARE GOING TO SEE IN THE NEXT DECADE.

QUINTANILLA: STOCKS HAVE ABOUT 14% FROM THE LOW. CRACKED 30 ON FRIDAY BRIEFLY. FOR THOSE WHO ARGUE THAT CREDIBILITY WAS AN ISSUE BEFORE, DO YOU SAY THAT'S NOW ON THE MEND?

IMMELT: YOU KNOW, LOOK, I THINK NONE OF US LIKED WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST QUARTER, BUT I THINK SOMETIMES THE CONTEXT OF GE HAS GOTTEN LOST HERE. THIS IS A COMPANY THAT'S GOING TO EARN, YOU KNOW, $22 BILLION OR, YOU KNOW, AROUND THERE. MAYBE MORE. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN $2.20 OR $2.30 A SHARE. ORGANIC GROWTH RATE UP. REVENUE GROWTH RATE UP. GLOBAL REVENUE IS UP 25%. I THINK A LITTLE BIT THE CONTEXT OF GE HAS GOTTEN LOST A LITTLE BIT. I TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHERE WE ARE AND SO IT'S NOT LIKE WE'VE GOT THIS FIRE SALE GOING ON. YOU KNOW, AROUND THE COMPANY. THIS IS A TRIPLE-A RATED COMPANY THAT'S OUT PERFORMING A RELEVANT COMPETITORS IN THE INDUSTRIES WE'RE IN, AND I THINK THE OLYMPICS A GOOD -- IS A GOOD PROOF STATEMENT OF THAT. IN A TOUGH ECONOMY WE'VE DELIVERED FOR OUR ADVERTISERS, FOR OUR INVESTORS, AND, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS YOU CAN DO.

QUINTANILLA: DOES IT MAKE YOU RETHINK THE LONGEVITY OF BROADCAST TV?

IMMELT: LOOK, I THINK JEFF (ZUCKER) SAID IT ON FRIDAY. YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU'VE GOT GOOD CONTENT, THIS IS STILL THE BIGGEST PIPE THAT EXISTS IS A BROADCAST NETWORK. NOW, I THINK THE BROADCAST NETWORK, NBC, IS STILL CRITICAL TO THE GROWTH OF NBC UNIVERSAL, BUT WE'VE GOT TO BE DOING A MULTITUDE OF OTHER THINGS AT THE SAME TIME. I MEAN, IT'S JUST -- IT'S JUST WITH THE AGE WE LIVE IN, MORE FRAGMENTATION, UBIQUITOUS DISTRIBUTION. GREAT CONTENT ON ONE SIDE AND UBIQUITOUS, QUICK, FAST DISTRIBUTION ON THE OTHER, THOSE TWO THINGS ARE A POWERFUL COMBO, AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT JEFF AND HIS TEAM ARE BUILDING.

QUINTANILLA: HAVE YOU SEEN AN EPISODE OF "KNIGHT RIDER" YET?

IMMELT: NOT YET.

QUINTANILLA: REALLY? PRIMETIME IS GOING TO KNOCK OUR SOCKS OFF.

IMMELT: I KEEP SAYING TO JEFF, YOU ARE SURE THESE THINGS ARE GOING TO BE – WE DIDN'T DO PILOTS THIS YEAR, YOU'RE SURE THESE ARE GOING TO BE ON? WHAT I WOULD SAY, CARL, IS THE WAY THAT WE'VE TRIED TO RUN NBC UNIVERSAL FROM A LEADERSHIP STANDPOINT IS TO PICK GOOD PEOPLE. YOU KNOW, IN OTHER WORDS MARK HOFFMAN AT CNBC, STEVE KAPPAS IN THE NEWS BUSINESS, BONNIE HAMMER, USA SCI-FI. RON MYER. YOU KNOW, IF I TOLD YOU THAT DEVELOPING A TV PROGRAM WAS LIKE DEVELOPING A JET ENGINE EXACTLY, RIGHT, MY NOSE WOULD GROW. I CAN TELL YOU HIRING THESE PEOPLE IS A LOT LIKE HIRING JOHN RICE OR OTHER PEOPLE INSIDE THE COMPANY.

QUINTANILLA: I GOT TO SHOW YOU THIS. I LOVED THIS. THIS IS IN THE "THE CHINA DAILY" YESTERDAY. "IMMELT'S BRIGHT IDEA SET TO PAY OFF. GE CHIEF'S DECISION TO JEEP NBC UNIVERSAL MAY BE MASTERSTROKE." IS THIS WHAT IT'S COME TO? AFTER ALL THE GRIEF YOU'VE GOT, IS THIS GOING TO BE CONSIDERED ONE OF YOUR GREAT LEGACIES?

IMMELT: HERE'S WHAT I WOULD SAY. SINCE I HAVE NEVER CONSIDERED SELLING IT, RIGHT, I NEVER REALLY SHOULD TAKE THE HEAT FOR NOT HAVING SOLD IT. I SHOULDN'T GET CREDIT FOR KEEPING IT. IT'S JUST -- IT'S JUST -- I THINK THIS IS A REALLY GOOD BUSINESS. IT'S GOT GOOD GLOBAL GROWTH. IT'S GOT HIGH MARGINS. WE MANAGE IT WELL. I LOVE MY TEAM. I THINK THE SET OF LEADERS WE HAVE AT NBC UNIVERSAL ARE AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN ANY WE'VE EVER HAD, AND IT TURNS OUT IN THE END THAT BEING GOOD AT PEOPLE AND BEING, YOU KNOW, STRATEGICALLY DISCIPLINED, TWO THINGS I THINK GE REALLY HAS FIRST IN THE MEDIA BUSINESS, JUST LIKE IT WORKS IN THE POWER BUSINESS, THE HEALTH CARE BUSINESS, AND EVERY OTHER GOSH DARN BUSINESS THAT EXISTS IN THE WORLD. YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT'S, YOU KNOW, HOPEFULLY SOME OF THE KOOKY SILLINESS GETS PUSHED ASIDE.

QUINTANILLA: INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS. HOME APPLIANCES, CONSUMER LENDING IN JAPAN, PRIVATE LABEL CREDIT CARDS IN THE U.S. YOU'RE GETTING OUT OF A LOT. ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE MIX AS IT IS NOW?

IMMELT: I LIKE THE INFRASTRUCTURE MEDIA FINANCIAL MIX. I LIKE THAT TRIUMFERANT OF BUSINESSES. WE BASICALLY SOLD 40% OF THE COMPANY. WE'VE GOTTEN OUT OF SLOWER GROWTH STUFF. WE'VE GOTTEN OUT OF STUFF YOU COULDN'T GLOBALIZE AND INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY, LIFE SCIENCES, CABLE PROPERTIES, THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, SO I THINK IF YOU LOOK AT THE BUSINESSES WE HAVE TODAY, INFRASTRUCTURE, MEDIA, FINANCIAL SERVICES, THAT'S A GREAT HAND, I THINK, FOR THE FUTURE. YOU KNOW, IT'S -- IT'S DOING DISPOSITIONS ARE HARD. YOU CAN NEVER TIME IT EXACTLY RIGHT, BUT I LIKE WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW.

QUINTANILLA: I ASKED OF THIS JEFF (ZUCKER) ON FRIDAY, BUT WAS THE INVOLVEMENT OF BAIN AND BLACKSTONE IN REFERENCE TO WEATHER CHANNEL A SIGN THAT YOUR LEVEL OF CONVICTION WHEN BUYING MEDIA ASSETS LOWER NOW THAN IT WAS?

IMMELT: IT REALLY ISN'T. I LIKE PARTNERSHIPS. IN OTHER WORDS, A YEAR AGO WE DID A JOINT VENTURE WITH HITACHI AND NUCLEAR. IT GOT ZERO PRESS. IT WAS STRATEGIC. IT WAS A PARTNERSHIP. FOR WHATEVER REASON, THE WEATHER CHANNEL -- I LIKE DOING PARTNERSHIPS. I THINK IT DOES TWO THINGS IN THE CASE OF WEATHER CHANNEL. ONE IS IF YOU ARE IN THE CABLE BUSINESS OR NEWS BUSINESS, THE WEATHER CHANNEL IS ONE OF THE PREMIER ASSETS. OUR ABILITY TO GET IT IN A GREAT DEAL THE WAY WE DID I THINK IS GREAT. I THINK EVERY NOW AND AGAIN WHEN AN INDUSTRY GOES THROUGH TRANSITION, I LIKE PARTNERING WITH A PRIVATE EQUITY GUY BECAUSE IT HELPS YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT'S THE RIGHT PRICE FOR WEATHER CHANNEL? IN OTHER WORDS, JEFF AND HIS TEAM COULD COME AND SAY HERE'S THE RIGHT PRICE FOR WEATHER CHANNEL, BUT I NOW HAVE BAIN AND BLACKSTONE, AND SO IF YOU LIKE INVESTING IN CABLE THE WAY I DO, EVERY NOW AND THEN I LIKE GETTING A COUPLE OF VALIDATION POINTS TO SAY HERE'S WHAT YOU OUGHT TO BE PAYING, AND YOU GET TWO OF THE SHREWDEST GUYS IN THE WORLD HELPING YOU VALIDATE IT BECAUSE WE'RE NOT DONE DOING CABLE DEALS. I LIKE GETTING THAT VALIDATION OUT THERE.

QUINTANILLA: AT THE TOP OF THE NEXT HOUR, JEFF ON COMMODITIES, THE DOLLAR, AND WHETHER OR NOT WE'VE SEEN THE LAST FINANCIAL BLOWUP IN THE MARKET.

8:52 AM

QUINTANILLA: YEAH, BECK.COMMODITY PRICES ALSO A TOPIC OF DISCUSSION HERE AT BEIJING. WE'LL FIND OUT FROM GE CEO JEFF IMMELT WHAT HE THINKS PRICES WILL DO AND WHETHER THE DOLLAR IS A BET FOR THE U.S. OR MAYBE JUST A SIGN OF GLOBAL WORRY.

IMMELT: OVER THE LONG TERM THERE IS GONNA BE PRESSURE ON COMMODITIES, JUST FROM SUPPLY AND DEMAND, THE DEMAND IS THERE IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE, INDIA, PLACES LIKE THAT, CHINA, WHETHER THAT MEANS OIL SHOULD BE $150 OR $100 OR WHEREVER THAT IS, I DON'T KNOW. IT'S STILL FOUR TIMES WHAT IT WAS FOR THE PREVIOUS TWENTY-FIVE YEARS FUNDAMENTALLY OIL FROM THE LATE 70'S UNTIL 2003 WAS $20 A BARREL. IT'S STILL GOING TO BE FOUR TIMES THAT, SIX TIMES THAT FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.IT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $150 AND $115, I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT DRIVES THAT. MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF DEMAND. MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF SPECULATION, BUT IT'S GOING TO STAY IN THAT RANGE, I THINK.

QUINTANILLA: DOLLAR HAD 2 PERCENT, IT'S ON A TEAR. IS IT AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE US OR A SIGN OF GLOBAL WORRY?

IMMELT: I THINK IT'S A SIGN OF GLOBAL WORRY. I MEAN I ACTUALLY THINK THE DATA OUT OF EUROPE LAST WEEK CONCERNED PEOPLE. I THINK IT'S MORE OF A DOLLAR EURO TRADE RIGHT NOW WHERE THE DOLLAR STRENGTHENING A LITTLE BIT VIS A VIS WHERE THE EURO WAS, AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE SEEING RIGHT NOW.

QUINTANILLA: THAT'S NOT VERY ENCOURAGING.

IMMELT: LOOK, I THINK, YOU KNOW, EUROPE IS -- PIECES OF EUROPE HAVE CERTAINLY SLOWED. IT'S NOT UNEXPECTED. I THINK YOU COULD SEE SOME OF THAT ON HORIZON, BUT, AGAIN, MEETING WITH THE TEAM YESTERDAY, I FEEL GOOD ABOUT CHINA RIGHT NOW. I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE MAJOR EQUIPMENT ORDERS. I FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE SERVICE ORDERS THAT WE SEE. THERE'S STILL A LOT OF ACTIVITY OUT THERE ON THE GLOBAL BASIS.

QUINTANILLA: THE PROBLEMS OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY ARE IN YOUR FACE EVERYDAY AND YET EVERY TIME WE TALK TO YOU YOU FEEL GOOD. YOU SEEM TO FEEL GOOD TODAY.

IMMELT: I THINK THE STRENGTH OF GE --YOU KNOW PEOPLE IN THIS CYCLE HAVE LIKED WRITE ABOUT THE WEAKNESS OF GE. CONGLOMERATES OUT OF FAVOR, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS HAVE A GAME THAT'S WORKING. THE ENERGY PIECE WORKING, INFRASTRUCTURE WORKING, GLOBAL STUFF WORKING THE BEIJING OLYMPICS WORKING, AND THOSE THINGS CAN OFFSET THE FACT THAT THERE'S PIECES THAT ARE TOUGH. I MEAN, IF ARE YOU IN THE U.S. CONSUMER FINANCE BUSINESS, THIS IS A TOUGH STRETCH RIGHT NOW. THE STRENGTHS OF THE COMPANY REMAINS, AND IT GIVES ME THE CHANCE TO ALWAYS HAVE TWO OR THREE THINGS WORKING INSIDE THE COMPANY AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN TIME.

QUINTANILLA: DO YOU THINK WE HAVE SEEN THE LAST HIGH PROFILE FINANCIAL BLOW-UP ON THE A LEVEL OF A FANNIE OR AN INDY MAC?

IMMELT: YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW. I THINK THE FACT THAT THE FED HAS BEEN, YOU KNOW, OPEN UP THE WINDOW AND STUFF LIKE THAT I THINK HELPS PEOPLE TAKE CONSOLATION. I JUST -- YOU KNOW, CARL, LOOK, WE'VE SEEN STUFF IN THE LAST YEAR, NONE OF US WOULD HAVE EVER PREDICTED. I JUST -- I JUST THINK YOU CAN'T SAY, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT. IT'S REALLY HARD.

QUINTANILLA: RUSSIA, GEORGIA CONFLICT HAS GOT EVERYONE CONFUSED. ARE YOU HAVING TO RETHINK YOUR VIEW OF THEM?

IMMELT: YOU KNOW, WE'VE FOUND RUSSIA TO BE REALLY HARD OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS. YOU KNOW, I WOULD SAY THAT WE DO A LITTLE BIT OF BUSINESS -- NOT AS MUCH AS I LIKE TO. NOT AS MUCH AS WE SHOULD. RUSSIA IS LONG IN EVERYTHING THAT'S WORTH A LOT IN THE WORLD. TITANIUM, NATURAL GAS. I MEAN, THEY HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING, AND I WOULD SAY THE COMBINATION OF, YOU KNOW, RUSSIA AND GEORGIA, WHICH I WOULDN'T PROCLAIM THAT I AM AN EXPERT ON GEOPOLITICS AND STUFF LIKE THAT. I'M NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. YOU KNOW, FOR SOMEBODY LIKE ME,WHEN YOU SEE BRITISH PETROLEUM GETTING THROWN AROUND LIKE A RAG DOLL, YOU KNOW, IT WAS A WELL KNOWN HIGHLY RESPECTED COMPANY, YOU KIND OF SAY, GOSH, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S GOING ON? IT IS A CONCERN, BUT, YOU KNOW, THE GOOD NEWS IS THERE'S LOTS OF OTHER PLACES RIGHT NOW. YOU KNOW, THE MIDDLE EAST, PARTS OF AFRICA, BRAZIL THAT OFFER GREAT OPPORTUNITIES, AND IF WE CAN'T DO BUSINESS IN RUSSIA, WE'LL GO DO BUSINESS IN OTHER PLACES THAT ARE FRIENDLIER.

QUINTANILLA: WHERE DO YOU SEE STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

IMMELT: I THINK IT'S -- THERE'S A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS THAT ARE GOING TO BE ANSWERED IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS. YOU KNOW, ONE IS CAN WE STABILIZE HOUSING PRICES IN THE U.S. BECAUSE THE U.S. CONSUMER IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. THAT HAS TO HAPPEN. THAT'S A REAL QUESTION. THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT. NUMBER TWO, WHAT IS THE -- MY OWN HYPOTHESIS IS THAT THERE'S A REAL DOMESTIC ECONOMY IN CHINA TODAY. THERE'S A REAL DOMESTIC ECONOMY IN INDIA TODAY. THERE'S A REAL DOMESTIC ECONOMY IN TURKEY, THE MIDDLE EAST THAT HAS MADE THESE PLACES LESS DEPENDENT ON THE U.S. THAT'S A GOOD THING. NOT A BAD THING.

QUINTANILLA: IT'S FUNNY YOU SAY THAT. WE WERE TALKING TO MARRIOTT EARLIER IN THE WEEK AND WE YOU, MUST HAVE A HUGE EX-PAT BUSINESS AND THEY SAID, NO, IT'S CHINESE BUSINESSMEN COMING HERE TO DO BUSINESS WITH OTHER CHINESE.

IMMELT: WITH OTHER CHINESE, EXACTLY. I THINK THOSE ARE THE TWO QUESTIONS THAT WILL BE ANSWERED IN THE NEXT 6 TO 12 MONTHS THAT SAY, OKAY, DO WE GO THROUGH ANOTHER SLOW GDP IN THE U.S. FOR ANOTHER 6 OR 12 MONTHS AND THEN DOES IT PICK UP OR IS IT MORE SERIOUS OR WHAT ELSE DO WE HAVE TO DO? I THINK THAT'S WHAT I'M LOOKING AT IN TERMS OF HOW WE DO OUR PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE.

QUINTANILLA: SO, THE QUESTIONS ON THE MIND OF OUR CHAIRMAN AND CEO JEFF IMMELT WHO WE MET WITH EARLIER TODAY IN BEIJING.




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