Commerce Secretary Stresses U.S. Competitiveness

January 9, 2012

Commerce Secretary John Bryson has presented Congress with a mandated report on U.S. competitiveness that emphasizes the importance of the federal government's role in research while maintaining the private sector's status as the "engine of innovation."

The study, required under the 2010 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act and compiled in consultation with the White House National Economic Council, synthesizes a range of long-term policy concerns in the Commerce Department's wide portfolio in tax policy; business climate, trade policy and export promotion; intellectual property issues at home and abroad; the health of manufacturing sector; and educational attainment in science and technology. 

"The need for the federal government to play an important role in . . .research, particularly basic research," the report said, "derives from the fact that there is a divergence between the private and social returns of research activities, which leads to less innovative activity in the private sector than is what is best for our country. However, government support of basic research can remedy this problem. The benefits from federal research and development support are not just theoretical . . . the federal government has played a crucial role in the development of many key innovations of the mid- to late-20th century." 

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