ITIF

Countries should step-up enforcement of existing trade agreements related to clean energy.

While new trade agreements for clean energy are needed, enforcing existing free trade agreements within the WTO framework is critical to combating rampant green mercantilism. For the United States this means increasing funds for the U.S. Trade Representative to expand capabilities to focus on unfair clean tech trade practices. For other free-trade based countries this means making it a national policy to bring cases to the WTO whenever free trade violations are made and even if the clean energy industry doesn’t initiate the case. In the short term, countries should combat green mercantilism with tariffs on mercantilists’ products.

The United States should offer young innovative firms refundable R&D tax credits in lieu of using carry-forward or carry-backward provisions on business losses.

Investing in R&D is risky, but creates a large societal benefit through knowledge spillovers. Furthermore, R&D creates new products and practices that create economic growth. Many of the benefits of R&D are not captured by the firm producing the research. This is why the United States, like most other countries, offer incentives to firms investing in R&D. Unfortunately, the incentives only impact firms that are profitable. Many of the most innovative young firms engaged in R&D, which the credit should be particularly interested in supporting, will not become profitable until after a high-risk period of R&D investment needed to develop an idea into a marketable product. Offering a refundable R&D tax credits in lieu of using carry-forward or carry-backward provisions on business losses will allow the R&D tax credit to extend to young firms. Australia, Canada, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom have already adopted this method of incentivizing R&D in young innovative firms. Additionally, within the EU, governments can give extra incentives to firms less than six years old that invest more than 15 percent of their total revenues on R&D across all regions and sectors without breaking EU state aid rules.

State and local election officials should adopt the use of online voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting to improve the accessibility of elections for disabled individuals.

Although the gap in participation between voters with and without disabilities has narrowed, people with disabilities are still less likely to vote than people without disabilities. In particular, individuals with a cognitive difficulty, a self-care difficulty, or an independent-living difficulty, vote at significantly lower rates than individuals with no disability. These individuals may have trouble leaving their homes or navigating crowded, noisy environments, so efforts designed to make voting machines and polling places physically more accessible may not address their primary needs. Some states have made changes to election processes to make them more convenient for everyone, such as allowing “no-excuse” absentee voting (i.e., any voter can vote absentee) and creating a permanent absentee voting list (i.e., voters can sign up to receive automatically an absentee ballot for all future elections). While people with disabilities are more likely to vote in states that have made these changes, these reforms have not been adopted everywhere.

Congress should establish a single, national license for telehealth providers

To address this challenge and further enhance development of telehealth services, Congress should establish a single, national license for telehealth providers.

Congress should establish a single, national license for telehealth providers.

State licensing boards establish the conditions under which health care providers may practice within their state. In general, states require practitioners to be licensed in the state in which they practice medicine. Before the advent of telehealth, the state where practitioners worked and the state where patients received treatment were almost always the same. However, since telehealth allows practitioners and patients to be located in different locations—a patient in Florida may want to seek treatment from a doctor in New York—this condition is no longer necessarily true. This has raised legal challenges for providers wishing to provide telehealth services as the rules for licensing vary by jurisdiction. In addition, since health care providers cannot practice medicine without a proper license, a telehealth provider would potentially have to obtain a separate license for every state. These legal complexities create a costly and cumbersome process that impairs the widespread adoption of telehealth. To address this challenge and further enhance development of telehealth services, Congress should establish a single, national license for telehealth providers.

The U.S. should help develop a "Geneva Convention on the Status of Data."

The United States should engage its trade partners in developing a “Geneva Convention on the Status of Data” that establishes international legal standards for government access to data.

Adopt a common definition for trade secrets.

Adopt a common definition for trade secrets: any information that has economic value (actual or potential), is not generally known to the public, and for which the trade secret owner has taken reasonable measures to keep private.

Allow companies participating in pre-competitive research to freely transfer ownership and access rights for IP to foundation affiliates across and between the European Union and the United States.

Allow companies participating in pre-competitive research to freely transfer ownership and access rights for IP to foundation affiliates across and between the European Union and the United States.

Congress should reorganize the U.S. Postal Service to open up all but “last mile” mail delivery to private competition and drastically reduce the size of the agency to meet the realities of the digital age.

Congress should reorganize the U.S. Postal Service to open up all but “last mile” mail delivery to private competition and drastically reduce the size of the agency to meet the realities of the digital age.