In letters sent today to President Obama and North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, National Foreign Trade Council Foundation (NFTC Foundation) President Bill Reinsch and Research Triangle Foundation President & CEO Rick Weddle outlined a series of recommendations for leveraging public policy to expand U.S. exports, encourage innovation and create high-wage jobs across the country. The recommendations were developed during a one-day workshop hosted by the NFTC Foundation’s Global Innovation Forum in partnership with the Research Triangle Foundation on April 16, which brought together a broad range of innovation stakeholders, including more than 20 CEOs, 90 inventors, academics, non-governmental organizations, and state and federal policymakers.

During the event, which was held in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, attendees identified several areas of concern for U.S. businesses, workers and entrepreneurs, including global trade barriers, counterfeiting and piracy, access to capital and cultivating and retaining entrepreneurs, innovators and talented employees. Immigration and visa policies were particularly high on the list of concerns of local business leaders. Based on the discussion, the letter details five key areas of focus for public policy, including:

Improving U.S. immigration and global mobility policies;
Creating a more open, rules-based, competitive trading environment by aggressively pursuing new trade agreements and enforcing existing regulations;
Promoting the importance of the intellectual property rights system as a means to encourage innovation and provide a framework for advanced research collaboration and technology sharing;
Improving access to capital, particularly for innovative small businesses and entrepreneurs; and
Supporting efforts by emerging innovators, entrepreneurs and small businesses to engage the public policy process.

“We hope this feedback will be useful as you prioritize efforts to shape national innovation and trade policies to support your ambitious goal of doubling exports in five years,” wrote Reinsch and Weddle in the letter sent to the President.

The Research Triangle Park event was the first in a series of innovation policy discussions to be held around the country, made possible thanks to a grant from the GE Foundation to the NFTC Foundation. The next innovation discussion will take place at the Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto, California.

In addition to the Research Triangle Foundation, the North Carolina forum was held in partnership with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions of Duke University, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association. In addition to the GE Foundation, Progress Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, ABB, IBM and Cisco also helped sponsor the event.

To read the letters, please click here.