Technology and Innovation: Where Does Trump Stand?
During the recent presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump did not focus on issues of technology and innovation policy. According to a recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) he had “few articulated policy positions” in these areas, other than those concerning taxation and trade.
At the core of Trump’s economic plan are a reduction of the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, allowing unlimited first-year expensing on all equipment, and taxing repatriated foreign source income at 10 percent. He did not articulate a clear position on high-skill immigration, according to the ITIF report.
Nor did Trump take a position on federal funding for research and development, but he did signal the possibility of funding to current infrastructure challenges as opposed to future-oriented R&D.
According to the report President-elect Trump has not taken a position on technology transfer and commercialization, supporting startups and small businesses, and patents reform.
In the campaign, Trump opposed H-1B visas, calling instead for U.S. companies to hire from a pool of the unemployed and raising wage requirements for H-1B workers. He suggested tying student loan decisions to job prospects after graduation, which would promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors with high expected wages.
While reducing corporate taxes 15 percent, Trump would also end the deferral of tax on foreign earnings. He also said he wanted to eliminate “corporate loopholes that cater to special interests.” He would taxes past foreign corporate profits held in cash at 10 percent, which would encourage the repatriation of capital and investments in the United States.
On trade, the president-elect has said that he’s “not against trade. I just want to make better deals” and that his goal is accountability and not protectionism. He favors bilateral over multilateral trade agreements and has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the World Trade Organization. He would place more emphasis on trade enforcement.
With regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trump said he would withdraw. He did not take positions on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) nor the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). He said he would “renegotiate elements of NAFTA and withdraw the U.S. if negotiations are not satisfactory.”
Trump’s empahsis on trade enforcement would include unilaterally applying tariffs against China, declaring China a currency manipulator, and introducing countervailing duties against the People’s Republic. He would increase number of trade cases the U.S. brings against China at the WTO and domestically and “adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft.”
Trump favors shuttering the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
He would also “punish companies that offshore production by taxing (or placing additional tariffs on) their imports back to the United States,” noted the ITIF report. The president-elect “favors taxation of ‘foreign, not domestic, production’” and has “proposed a blanket 45 percent tax on Chinese imports and 35 percent tax on Mexican importers if the two nations do not reform their policies affecting U.S. trade.”
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