In an interview with weekly paper Die Zeit, Jeffrey Immelt, who is one of the world's most powerful executives, praised the German economy's high proportion of manufactured exports.
“We Americans have to believe again that we can build things too,” he said. “I'm always saying lately, that we have to follow the example of Germany.
“More than 40 percent of Germany's gross domestic product is exports, while in the USA it is only 7 percent. That is laughable."
Immelt also used the interview to criticise the continuing American resistance to embracing climate change measures as a business opportunity, as have many German firms.
“I personally believe that green investment is one of the great growth industries of the 21st century," he said. "You have to be quick and position yourself at the forefront or you'll be left behind.
"China will invest more this year in wind energy than the USA. It's just not enough, this 'wait-and-see' that we're doing. The world will move on without our country. And it's very important to me that GE is part of this movement," he said.