Allen's view of US challenge

American industry is trying to pull itself up and out of recession, while the high-tech industry faces increased competition from Japan. TRW Inc.'s executive vice-president, Charles Allen, has some ideas on how the process is going:

Reaganomics: ''I was pleased by the 1981 tax laws, less pleased with the 1982 ones. But the '82 laws were necessary to help reduce the overwhelming size of the deficit - an alarming development.''

Long-term R&D: ''We need more cooperation (in funding and tax breaks) between government and industry. In Japan they have this, while here it's a confrontation.'' Some of the biggest businesses, such as AT&T and IBM, are doing the most research, he says - yet government ''has a mind-set'' about antitrust suits, and this attitude could hurt the quality of thier research.

Trade with Japan: ''We believe in free trade, not trade barriers. Restrictions on duties and US content in products is a mistake over the long run. It is one world, and we must let the free market run. However, Japan should loosen their protectionism and allow more entry of foreign goods.''

Engineering students: Mr. Allen is less concerned with quality than with quantity of graduates. ''They get good fundamental training, and their education doesn't stop with the degree. What I'm concerned about is the number of engineering graduates. They should be a much larger fraction of the total number of graduates.''

Last year TRW started a program with universities - both business and engineering schools. TRW's senior executives work with the schools to help influence decisions on the curriculum. Allen's school has been the University of California at Los Angeles, which he says is ''receptive'' to TRW input.

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