NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Coca-Cola (KO - Get Report) CEO Muhtar Kent thinks the U.S. is losing its competitive edge, and that doing business in emerging economies like China and Brazil is easier and friendlier.
"They're learning very fast, these countries," Kent told the paper, referring to China and Brazil. "In the West, we're forgetting what really worked 20 years ago. In China and other markets around the world, you see the kind of attention to detail about how business works and how business creates employment." Kent attributed the United States' shortcomings to divisive politics and outdated tax regulations. An environment under those conditions boosts uncertainty and inhibits investment, he said, insisting that American politicians be held more accountable for their efforts to turn the economy around. "I believe the U.S. owes itself to create a 21st century tax policy for individuals as well as businesses," he said, criticizing rules that tax U.S. companies for repatriating cash brought in from international markets. "If you talk about an American company doing business in the world today with its Chinese, Russian, European or Japanese counterparts, of course we're disadvantaged. A Chinese or Swiss company can do whatever it wants with those funds [earned overseas]. When we want to bring them back, we are faced with a very large tax burden."