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U.S. needs tax, policy reforms to regain competitive edge: experts

(Xinhua)

14:56, March 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The United States needed serious-minded and long-range reforms in tax code, education, and immigration policies to restore its competitive edge, an expert panel said here on Wednesday.

Tax reform was essential to enhancing corporate America's edge, said many of the panelists in a discussion held by the U.S. think tank named Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars.

The corporate tax rate should be lowered to levels that allow private-sector competition with the rest of the world, they said.

Banking, retail and other services ducked their taxes often by offshoring intellectual property or shifting profit to tax havens. They also pointed out a clear and certain path forward for manufacturers as well, i.e. going overseas.

Besides tax reform, America also needed change in education and immigration policies to contend with stiff international competition for markets, innovation, and talent.

On the education front, improvements were needed throughout the course of workers' careers, as industries adapted to swiftly changing markets, Deborah Wince-Smith of the Council on Competitiveness said.

Students should also be encouraged to pursue careers in manufacturing, she added. "Manufacturing is safe, strong, and surging, not dumb and dangerous," she said, citing exciting new frontiers in nanotechnology, materials science, and bioengineering.

Meanwhile, immigration reform was needed to enhance America's industrial and greater economic competitiveness, former Michigan Governor John Engler said.

"We should staple a green card to the degree of each foreign Ph.D. in engineering and science," said Jan Rivkin, professor of Harvard Business School.

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