Working with SOEs

This page presents all relevant good practice case studies that showcase how business have addressed the Working with SOEs dilemma. Case studies have been developed in close collaboration with a range of multi-national companies and relevant government, inter-governmental and civil society stakeholders. We also draw on public domain sources, including the UN Global Compact's own published Communications on Progress through which signatories are required to report on their performance against the Ten Principles.

The case studies explore the specific dilemmas and challenges faced by each organisation, good practice actions they have taken to resolve them and the results of such action. We reference challenges as well as achievements and invite you to submit commentary and suggestions through the Forum.

GE collaborates with SOE to address potential misuse of its products - China:

In 2011, General Electric (GE), one of the leaders in the global aviation industry producing jet engines and other airplane technology, entered into a joint-venture agreement with Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a state-owned enterprise, in a bid to help the government of China to become competitive in the production of commercial jetliners. As part of this partnership, GE allegedly agreed to share its leading-edge airplane computer technology. This is in addition to GE’s already existing business in China on supplying jet engines. Concerns were expressed that the deal could enable the Chinese government to advance its military aviation with the use of knowledge gained in business partnership with GE. The showing of the Chinese prototype of the Pentagon’s stealth fighter by the state military, as well as the fact of AVIC being a supplier of China’s military aircraft and weapons system have contributed to these concerns. GE shared that the agreement to seal the deal was reached after the company had briefed US commerce, defense and state departments. The AVIC was also acknowledged to be an old and trusted partner of GE’s. GE assured that the joint venture’s (JV) offices and computer and data systems would be different from those used by the military arm of AVIC’s. GE also shared that it took some further measures to address the concerns, such as imposing strict limits on employment of Chinese nationals with military or intelligence background, as well as the mandatory requirement that employees of the JV shall wait for a period of two years before doing work on any military project of AVIC’s. GE executives also maintained that a board committee entrusted with overseeing the compliance of the Chinese partner with these requirements was under the control of GE’s and had the power to overrule the full board in case of disputes.