In the USA, firms engaged in cooperative research and development (R&D) are accorded more lenient antitrust treatment by the National Cooperative Research Act (NCRA). An objective of the NCRA was to give American firms a competitive advantage over foreign firms. This article addresses whether the NCRA has had that effect. Analysis of panel data containing information on industry trade balance and cooperative R&D reveals that the trade balance in industries with participants in cooperative R&D is approximately $620 million higher than the trade balance in industries without participants in cooperative R&D. This suggests the possibility of improved competitiveness.