This was a great panel, chaired by Dave McCurdy of EIA. A former members of Congress, he has been to China dozens of times and is a very bright and thoughtful guy. Panel members included Jim Greenwood of BIO (another former member of Congress) and Chad Evans of the Council on Competitiveness. Among the highlights:
— There are more Chinese taking English as a second language than there are Americans speaking English here in the US. (McCurdy).
— Our current rate of personal savings is at record lows. (McCurdy)
— There are over 400 publicly-traded biotech companies in the US, with over 300 new biotech drugs in clinical testing. (Greenwood).
— some 400 million people in the world eat a daily diet of rice, but there is no Vitamin A in rice. (Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, says the World Health Organization.) Bioengineers were able to put vitamin A in rice, making “Golden Rice” which is now shipped around the world, aiding millions of children. (Greenwood).
— The US is the world leader on biotech products. (Greenwood)
— There is a $1.5 billion positive trade balance in biotech. (Greenwood).
— “We need to embrace globalization”, said Dave McCurdy, “It’s time to play offense”. The EIA report, “The Technology Industry at the Innovation Crossroads” is their playbook.
A lot of brain power, a lot of wattage on this panel. The challenges for us are real but the consensus was one of hope, that we can still remain the best, most competitive manufacturers in the world through our innovation.
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