Leadership in innovation is critical to sustaining U.S. economic growth and job creation. It makes our economy more dynamic and competitive, driving productivity and increasing living standards for all Americans. In short, it is a cornerstone of U.S. prosperity and a foundation for future progress.

Unfortunately, America’s political commitment to the pillars of an innovative economy —including R&D spending, workforce training programs, and STEM education resources—has waned in recent years. When coupled with an accelerating pace of technological change and concerted efforts by other countries to gain ground, this waning commitment means that the United States is at risk of losing its position as the global leader in innovation.

Sustaining U.S. leadership in innovation means recommitting to a cross-cutting policy agenda consistent with the principles and recommendations articulated here. It requires investing in people by providing students and workers with the skills and resources necessary to contribute to cutting-edge industries and technologies. It entails making strategic, long-term investments that lay the groundwork for ideas to develop and flourish, and then removing any roadblocks that would slow or prevent the rollout of new products. It means positioning America to compete by providing an even playing field on a global scale and, finally, it means ensuring that innovation is pursued inclusively so that the benefits of growth are shared by all.

The imperative for investing in the pillars of innovation is clear, and the returns on this type of investment are vast and long lasting. For example, investment in early-stage R&D today sows the seeds of tomorrow’s industries. Investments in shared national assets—such as a best-in-class workforce, modernized regulatory regime, and diverse talent pipeline—fuel the engines of innovation. These in turn boost productivity, create jobs, and catalyze growth over the long-term. Against a backdrop of rapid change and heightened global competition, the time is ripe to invest in innovation and reap these rewards.

As CEOs deeply invested in the continued dynamism and health of the U.S. economy—and as corporate citizens committed to increasing opportunity and raising living standards for all Americans—we believe that it is difficult to overstate the importance of a bold vision and plan for the future of innovation. The Business Roundtable innovation policy agenda provides a forward-looking roadmap for achieving these objectives and ensuring that the United States continues to serve as the global leader in innovation for generations to come.

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