Recently, the science and technology policies of the U.S. government have changed in a number of important respects. First, Modifications in the organization and funding of civilian research programs are being made or considered to improve the ability of U.S. firms to realize the commercial profits from the innovations spawned by such research. Second, defense research funding is being used to support advances in civilian technologies in order to provide eventual technological improvements for the military—a dramatic reversal of earlier patterns of funding and technological spillover. The new science and technology policy priorities of the U.S. government and the increased salience of these issues for foreign governments have elevated the importance of science and technology issues within trade policy. This article examines the implications of these developments for the international competitiveness of U.S. firms and for the tradeliberalizing objectives of U.S. trade policy, concluding that the new policy initiatives could have a detrimental impact in both areas.
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