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Industry Leaders: US Losing Competitive Edge

Technology business leaders say the United States is losing its competitive edge to developing countries in Asia.

Business leaders told a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that America's lead as a technology giant is eroding.

The group says the big technology winners have been countries such as China and India. The leaders say the U.S. has lost its edge, in part, because of the country's declining number of university graduates with science and engineering degrees.

Last year in China, 500,000 students received engineering degrees. In India, the number was 200,000, and in the United States, 70,000.

During the meeting, Senator John Ensign, a senator from Nevada, proposed doubling the nation's investment in scientific research and improving math and science education in classrooms.

The latest figures show the U.S. trade balance in high-tech goods fell from a surplus high of $33 billion in 1997 to a deficit of $27 billion in 2003.