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NFTC’s Global Innovation Forum Hosts Conference on Role of Innovation Policy in Growing Exports, Creating Jobs in North Carolina
Date: 4/20/2010
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council’s Global Innovation Forum (GIF) hosted a one-day workshop and conference, themed “Going Global to Support North Carolina Innovation,” on April 16 in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The event, which brought together a broad range of innovation stakeholders, was aimed at developing a targeted set of recommendations to generate innovative solutions to global challenges, expand U.S. exports abroad and create high-wage jobs in North Carolina.

“Innovation fuels the U.S. economy and drives America’s global competitiveness,” said NFTC Vice President for Global Trade Issues Jake Colvin. “As U.S. companies and policymakers look increasingly to foreign markets to sustain jobs in America, this event marks the beginning of an ongoing national conversation NFTC has planned with senior public and private sector leaders about the role of public policy in promoting jobs and economic growth.”

Nearly 100 attendees – from inventors, academics and representatives of non-governmental organizations to CEOs, entrepreneurs and state and federal policymakers – participated in the forum. The conference featured keynote remarks by North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan and included three panel discussions and a workshop led by twenty senior business and thought leaders from Washington, DC and North Carolina.

Consensus formed around several key recommendations for public policy, including establishing better global rules and agreements for transparent and open markets, reforming U.S. immigration and visa policies, protecting U.S. intellectual property (IP) rights in foreign markets, and improving access to capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses. NFTC will present a summary of the recommendations to the officials responsible for innovation and export policies in the Offices of Governor Bev Perdue and the Obama Administration.

“We must continue to build our state into an innovation hub that produces goods and services valued in a global economy,” Senator Hagan said in her keynote remarks. “North Carolina is already home to some of the world’s most important innovations in the biotech, pharmaceutical, defense and IT fields, and we are well positioned to lead the country in the emerging clean energy sector. Investing in these fields will not only put our state at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and research, but also bring high-tech, high-paying jobs to North Carolina.”

The forum was held in partnership with the Research Triangle Foundation, 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. Sponsors included the General Electric Foundation, Progress Energy, GlaxoSmithKline, ABB, IBM and Cisco.

“By bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, this event provided an opportunity to advance the discussion about how innovation policy can help achieve the goals of increasing U.S. exports to markets around the globe and creating jobs for America’s workforce,” said John Stubbs, Executive Director of the Global Innovation Forum.

About NFTC and the Global Innovation Forum

The National Foreign Trade Council was founded in 1914 and is the oldest and largest trade association devoted entirely to advocating an open, rules-based international trade system. NFTC promotes open markets and U.S. engagement in the world on behalf of its member companies, which include Boeing, Caterpillar, Chevron, General Electric, Hanes Brands, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, United Technologies and Wal-Mart.

The Global Innovation Forum is a project of NFTC’s educational arm, the NFTC Foundation. NFTC established the Global Innovation Forum to create a greater understanding of how the innovation ecosystem and public policy can improve the lives of workers, families and communities around the world. Through educational events and workshops, the Global Innovation Forum brings together diverse groups of innovation stakeholders to bridge differences, build consensus and create solutions. Its aim is to arrive at public policy solutions that support entrepreneurism, investment, development, trade, transfer and deployment of innovation and enable solutions to common challenges.