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Japan's Growing Technological Capability: Implications for the U.S. Economy
standards, intellectual property rights and other standards that affect global competition as much as trade questions do.
It will take some time to build these new rules. In the meantime, the U.S., European and Japanese governments can support some cooperative R&D ventures and develop joint efforts to address global problems, as has been proposed in the past. We need to remember, however, that there is a need for earlier and more in-depth consultations among countries on global program proposals, such as the Intelligent Manufacturing System, the Human Frontiers Program, the Superconducting Super Collider, and others to avoid misunderstandings.
A major obstacle to cooperation and understanding is a lack of symmetry in market access. Neither the U.S. nor the Japanese market is completely open, but the U.S. market is more so than the markets of Japan or of most European Community countries.
A key to the solution lays with multinational corporations and the key role they play in setting the context. To the extent that they transfer technology, assure value-added production, and train and employ locally, they will be welcomed by host countries. On the other hand, there can be problems if foreign investments lead primarily to the buying up of small innovative companies or plants, add little to the technological infrastructure of the country, and are not designed for the long term. Foreign investment will then be seen as problematic, and will not serve as a tool for international understanding and cooperation.
We must recognize that we are now in a new global environment, where knowledge itself is the driving force behind global competition.
For that reason, my focus has been on the increasing importance of technology to the fate of countries and nations, on the accelerated pace of technological development, as well as on the spread of technology across the globe. We must also recognize that there are tensions between the globalization of technology, and national interests in building economic and technological strength.
These are just a few of the issues that need to be addressed. As I said in the beginning, the United States needs to bring its own house in order, including its economic and education infrastructure, as well as its technical capabilities. These issues form the basis of all the questions covered in the last two days. All these conferences, observations, papers and reports that have been written will be for naught unless we begin to act constructively to deal with these issues.