Thirty years ago, the United States introduced the research and experimentation tax credit (sometimes called the research and development -- or R&D -- tax credit), making the U.S. the first nation to use its tax code to spur innovation. In the decades since, businesses have used the credit to create American jobs, foster new industries, and expand our knowledge in science and technology. Today, in part because of that credit, our greatest global advantage continues to be our capacity for innovation.
In the years since, many nations have seen the benefits the R&E credit delivers to the U.S., and have followed suit. They recognize that incentives that drive innovation are among the most important tools available to create economic growth and promote long-term prosperity.
At Siemens, we know this from experience. Research and innovation are at the core of our culture: more than 7,000 of our total 62,000 employees in the U.S. work on research and developmental activities, driving innovation throughout our product lines. We are awarded well over 1,000 U.S. patents each year, placing Siemens in the top ten of U.S. patent recipients. From the U.S., we annually export $2 to $3 billion worth of products that incorporate the results of our research.
Companies like Siemens are now trying to gauge how lasting the U.S. government's commitment to the R&E credit will be. Since the credit was introduced in 1981, it has always come with an expiration date, requiring Congress to renew it 14 separate times. Washington has failed to renew the R&E credit on eight separate occasions. In 2010, Congress had to pass a retroactive extension after it failed to renew the credit on time.
Investments in research and innovation are, by definition, long-term, and the future returns on those investments are necessarily uncertain. To the extent that the future of the tax credit is unclear, it's difficult for companies to mitigate that uncertainty, thus hindering investments that otherwise would create American jobs and enhance the competitiveness of American manufacturing.