The global competitive landscape for innovation leadership continues to evolve. Increasingly, countries with competitive innovation profiles undertake large-scale strategic planning, rulemaking, subsidy and investment initiatives to attain leadership in emerging technologies. Countries compete with the United States to secure capital and talent, gain an edge in the market for new products and services, and establish standards and rules of the road for emerging and strategic technologies.
Unfortunately, some countries aggressively pursue innovation leadership in ways that undercut terms set by international trade agreements and seek to push standards and rules that can undermine U.S. innovation and leadership. Some engage in unfair trade and commercial practices designed to advance their innovation at the expense of U.S. companies through heavy-handed data localization requirements, intellectual property theft, barriers to market access, discriminatory licensing requirements and technology transfer demands. These systematic efforts distort fair competition and create an uneven playing field for U.S. firms in innovation-intensive industries, including industries with serious implications for U.S. critical infrastructure and national security.
While the current multilateral trade rules and trade and investment agreements may not address all these issues fully, the commitments made should be upheld and new commitments should be negotiated to address unfair trade, investment, and regulatory practices that harm U.S. innovation. The opportunity to compete on a level playing field according to principles of fair and open market access not only positions U.S. firms and innovators to succeed in the global innovation economy but also promotes an open culture of innovation worldwide, to the benefit of all. The United States must continue its legacy of leadership setting the rules of trade in a manner that promotes and protects U.S. innovation.