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Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

Guest blog post by William M. Daley, former Secretary of Commerce (1997-2000)

Free trade agreements are critical to strengthening American competitiveness, spurring economic growth, and bolstering job creation. With the trade agreements we currently have in place, U.S. exports hit a record-high for the fifth straight year in 2014, reaching $2.34 trillion and supporting 11.7 million American jobs. Goods exports to the 20 economies that have trade agreements with the United States reached a record $765.1 billion in 2014– an increase of 4.3 percent from 2013. 

As Commerce Secretary under President Clinton, I led a number of efforts to open new markets to U.S. goods and services, and to help American companies navigate the trade landscape in foreign countries. I visited more than 40 countries to promote U.S. exports, expanded the Department's overseas commercial staff to support U.S. exporters, and aggressively monitored the impact of trade practices of other nations on U.S. business and workers. I saw firsthand how free trade agreements benefited American businesses, and supported good-paying jobs for American workers.  

We must ensure that President Obama can utilize the same tools to negotiate and implement new trade agreements that have been afforded to every President since President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Along with nine other Commerce Secretaries whose tenures span back to 1973,  we all agree – passing Trade Promotion Authority is not a Democratic or Republican request; it is a bipartisan issue that Congress must address now.

The letter from the former Secretaries of Commerce is included below:

As former Secretaries of Commerce, we strongly support Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama. From our experience, it is critically important for American businesses to access new customer markets while staying competitive in the world economy. American companies grow and succeed in the global market place through high-quality high-standard trade agreements that help our firms gain access to new overseas markets. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, we must not allow opportunities to pass us by.

The Innovative and Useful U.S. Cluster Mapping Tool (Video)

When you think of business and investment opportunities in the United States, where’s the best place to start?  America is made up of 50 states plus territories and each location has its own unique economic profile. The U.S. Cluster Mapping Tool, a combined effort of the Harvard Business School and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is THE starting place for anyone looking to expand their business in the U.S. The free, online Cluster Mapping tool uses more than 50 million data records to help you identify industry regional clusters and make informed investment decisions.

USPTO to Host Patent Quality Summit March 25-26

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is holding a Patent Quality Summit on March 25 and 26 at its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, and public participation is key to its success. The two-day event is an opportunity for the public to provide their thoughts about patent quality in order to guarantee the most efficient prosecution and processes, and to ensure the issuance of the highest quality patents. The event will include discussions with USPTO leadership, experts from the agency, industry, and academia, and sessions for brainstorming ideas to enhance patent quality.

The Patent Quality Summit is the kickoff event for the USPTO’s comprehensive new Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative, which supports three Enhanced Patent Quality pillars: (1) excellence in work products; (2) excellence in measuring patent quality; and (3) excellence in customer service. High quality patents contribute to maintaining a strong U.S. economy by providing inventors and companies the chance to develop their technologies, grow their businesses, and expand sales of their products.

“High quality patents permit certainty and clarity of rights, which in turn fuels innovation and reduces needless litigation,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “Our Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative will allow us to further improve patent quality through direct and ongoing engagement.”

Public feedback is pivotal in making both the Patent Quality Summit and Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative successful. The USPTO wants to hear from everyone, from longtime patent owners to Main Street retailers who may have only recently begun to focus on patents; from patent prosecutors to patent litigators; and from patent applicants to patent licensees. By engaging all stakeholders, the USPTO is working to build a world-class patent quality system together.

The Patent Quality Summit is free of charge and open to all. A variety of topics will be covered, and when registering, participants can specify whether they will attend in person or via webinar, and which sessions they would like to participate in. Those unable to participate in person or by webinar are encouraged to provide their ideas via email to WorldClassPatentQuality[at]uspto[dot]gov on or before May 6, 2015, and will also be able to view the recording of the event on the Patent Quality Summit page of the USPTO website. The USPTO is eager to hear public input on patent quality, and is planning additional events throughout the country in the upcoming year.