Cover Image

PAPERBACK
$77.50



View/Hide Left Panel

promotion is eschewed, the budgetary pressures are reaching into pre-competitive research and development. There is a debate here as to whether to retain either the Department of Energy or the Department of Commerce, as well as whether to continue the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program. Are these institutions to be considered engines of growth and national assets, as many believe, or are they Jurassic Parks, as their critics charge?

Should it be an accepted goal of government to promote the production of public goods, including providing for the development of technologies relevant to the national defense? Or should government go further to promote national economic and commercial interests? Different countries have differing views on this subject.

Is the government's fostering of R&D in the form of a straight subsidy likely to lead to trade friction if these measures are not accompanied by more distorting promotional policies, such as market closure? Is the promotion of technological development, at least at the level of basic science, likely to lead to major trade friction or does it just spur healthy international competition?

Many governments are continuing to implement competitive industrial policies with investment of public funds in the development of new, commercially relevant technologies. However, at the level of individual firms, the enormous increase in the complexity and cost of developing new technologies is driving an explosion of inter-firm cooperation. This is one of the forces governing the movement toward greater globalization taking place in recent years. Whether globalization is all to the good is also subject to debate. The answer depends in part on whether market forces are being allowed to determine the direction and amount of trade and investment flows, as well as competitive outcomes, to the maximum extent possible.

In this connection, the record of individual countries is mixed. There was a very depressing article in the Financial Times not that long ago. It described advice being given by Japan's Official Development Agency to nations in Southeast Asia. The Japanese officials were quoted as saying that the United States was 100% open while Japan was 80% open. The counsel the officials gave was not to open up too much. The giving of advice of this kind, if the story is accurate, must be a cause for concern.

It should be clear that countries do not need external advice to employ protectionist measures. In some corners of the world, it is the rule, rather than the exception, to seek to force technology transfer as the price for permitting investment and market access. This is a subject that should be dealt with in the Multilateral Agreement on Investment that is under discussion in the World Trade Organization.

How best can conflict be replaced with cooperation? Fortunately we have an exceptionally fine roster of panelists and speakers to address this question. The possibility exists that we are on the threshold of a golden age of international



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement