One of the most important responsibilities that I have as President is to make sure that in the 1980's, and also now, we have a strong and vital economy with adequate job opportunities and with the competitive position of our country maintained in world markets and also in giving our own people a better quality of life. We have additional problems in controlling inflation, solving our energy problem, dealing with housing needs, improving our agricultural communities, and many others in a list of important considerations for every American.
Since I've been in office, we've tried to form a very close partnership with the different elements of American society, particularly in the private sector, and, in addition to that, to restore what we had begun to lose in a very serious fashion, and that is the innovative nature of the American free enterprise system and our initiatives that, in the past, have been one of our most precious resources of our country.
Today I'm announcing a program and sending a message to Congress which will significantly enhance our Nation's industrial innovative capacity and thereby help to revitalize America's industrial base. This program is the result of a thorough, 18-month analysis, and it's been conducted by the Domestic Policy Staff, by representatives from the private sector of our economy, and also, in particular, by the Department of Commerce. It represents the most wide-ranging initiative ever made to spur initiative and innovation and to unleash America's creative genius.
Industrial innovation, or the development and commercialization of new products and new processes, is an essential, but increasingly overlooked factor in a strong and growing American economy. This will help to ensure economic vitality, improve productivity, international competitiveness, the creation of jobs, and a better quality of life for every American.
Further industrial innovation is necessary if we are to solve some of our Nation's most pressing problemsórestraining the cost of products and thereby reducing inflation, providing new energy supplies and better conserving existing supplies of energy, ensuring adequate food production for ourselves and for the world's population, protecting our environment and our natural resources, and improving health care for every American.
Our Nation's history, as you know, is filled with a rich tradition of industrial innovation. For over a century, America has been the world's leader in developing new products, new processes, new technologies, .and also new ways of assuring wide distribution of new products and their beneficial use by humanity.
We are still the world's leader. but our products are meeting with growing competition from abroad. Many of the world's leading industrial countries are now attempting to develop competitive advantages through their own innovative capability and an increasing concentration of their efforts in this realm of economic life. This is a challenge which we can no longer afford to ignore. To respond to this challenge, we must initiate our own policies to foster the Nation's competitive capability and entrepreneurial spirit in the decades ahead.
The actions that I'm announcing today meet this goal. First of all, they will loosen some of the stifling restraints that have been placed upon innovation by government. Secondly, they represent a first major step toward forging a public and private partnership which will rally cooperative efforts to spur industrial growth. Third, they will enhance our economic position, in enabling America's industry to develop and to market new processes and products, both here in our own country and also abroad.
These actions will be detailed to you shortly, and they include the development, for the first time in our history, of a uniform Government patent policy. This will foster the widest possible use of the results of Government-supported research and, at the same time, will protect the interests of the Government and, therefore, the population of our country at large.
We'll also include the widest possible dissemination in this country of technical information which is developed in Government laboratories, in universities and private industry through Government sponsored research, in other industrialized nations, and also buried in our own patent files. The derivation and promulgation of this available information throughout the American economic system will be enhanced greatly by this new proposal.
Programs to encourage the cooperative development of vitally needed resources and technologies are now largely ignored. We will establish two corporations for industrial development, specifically to assist small businesses. A lot of the innovation and initiative comes from small business. This will be a major target of our innovative processes and efforts, because small businesses do, quite often, have startup problems.
These actions, along with others that will be outlined as part of this program, will make a major difference in our Nation's ability to develop and to pursue industrial innovation.
I'd like to point out, however, that this will not solve the problem alone. This problem has arisen over a long period of years. It's recognized as being a serious problem by labor, by industry, and by government at all levels. There's no doubt about it. And it will take years to overcome the problem in its entirety. It will also require a sound economic climate. But the two are mutually supportive. More innovation will help the economic climate; a better economic climate will also help to encourage innovation.
Today's announcement does represent an important first step in dealing specifically with this problem of industrial innovation and more generally with similar types of economic problems that will be facing our country in the 1980's. With the cooperation of the private sector and the Congress, these problems of today, which are different in many ways and in major ways from those we've experienced before, can be solved. I'm committed to work toward their resolution.
Secretary Juanita Kreps will now provide some additional words about the program and answer questions from you.
Unfortunately for me and for our Nation, this is one of her last days in office. And I want to take this opportunity to commend her on her fine work on this program, typical of a superb performance that she has exhibited for us in this country as Secretary of Commerce, and I am particularly grateful to her for the great work that she's done in the last 34 months. She's already promised to make her advice and counsel and services available to us when she retires from this public job. But there's no way I can adequately express my personal thanks to her and the thanks on behalf of a grateful nation.
Secretary Juanita Kreps.