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Blog Entries from July 2010

Statement From Secretary Locke on the Advance Estimate of Real GDP in the Second Quarter of 2010

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2010.  Real GDP grew 2.4 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, following a gain of 3.7 percent in the first quarter.  The annual revision to the national accounts increased the total fall in real GDP during the recession from 3.7 percent to 4.1 percent.  The economy has grown 3.2 percent from a year ago.  Statement

Secretary Locke Visits Louisville to Highlight Partnership Designed to Boost U.S. Exports

Locke discusses Commerce resources available to U.S. companies to help grow business and create jobs

Secretary Locke at Podium with UPS OfficialsToday Secretary Locke visited the UPS Global Operations Center in Louisville, Ky., to highlight opportunities for local Kentucky businesses to sell their goods and services abroad and support job creation in their community. Locke toured the facility and held a discussion with local business owners on how the Commerce Department can help them grow their businesses and create jobs. Expanding on an existing partnership, UPS has joined with the Commerce Department to identify new markets for current exporters and potential candidates to expand their exports with the help of Department resources through the New Market Exporter Initiative.

Commerce’s partnership with UPS is one way the Department is working to achieve the goals of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years in support of 2 million American jobs. Since the president announced the NEI, the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center has assisted American companies competing for export opportunities, supporting $11.4 billion in exports and an estimated 70,000 jobs. The Department’s commercial service officers stationed around the world have helped more than 2,000 companies generate $3.8 billion worth of exports. To date, the Commerce Department has coordinated 18 trade missions with over 160 companies to 24 countries.

Joining Locke at for the discussion were Larry Hayes, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Scott Casey, Vice President of Legal & Public Affairs for UPS, and Jerry Plappert, Vice President of Corporate Development for CECO Environmental and Chair of the Kentucky District Export Council. | Read more | Remarks

Secretary Locke Highlights Efforts to Bolster CyberSecurity in the Commercial Arena at Commerce Department Symposium

Secretary Locke aon podiumToday the Commerce Department hosted a public symposium on the protection of consumers’ and the commercial sector’s information from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Secretary Locke provided opening remarks at the event, held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., followed by remarks from U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski.

The meeting is part of a broader effort to use the Internet to foster innovation and economic growth. The symposium was organized by the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force and featured senior government and private-sector leaders in a wide-ranging discussion of issues, best practices, and strategies for responding to cyber threats. 

Other administration and Congressional officials who addressed the symposium included U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Commerce Department General Counsel Cameron Kerry.  Panel discussions featured senior officials from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the Commerce Department and private-sector executives.  Remarks  |  Read more

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets With U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans today, Secretary Locke met with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to discuss how government and industry leaders can support travel and tourism in areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

“Jobs are the number one priority of the Obama administration and the travel and tourism industry plays a key role in that effort,” Locke said. “It's clear we are going to need a proactive and aggressive approach to expand travel and tourism both in the Gulf and throughout the United States.”

In addition to the board’s central discussion on improving the industry in the Gulf, members also addressed tourism policies and other nationwide issues. The travel and tourism industry is a significant contributor to trade and economic development in the United States, and the board will play a key role in the development of the administration’s export policies.

Today’s meeting was the second of the current board, made up of 27 industry leaders.  Read more

Secretary Locke Unveils Official Portrait of Former Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez

Locke, Gutierrez and members of the Gutierrez family applaudingSecretary Gary Locke welcomed former Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez to the Commerce Department today for the unveiling of his official portrait. Speaking at the ceremony attended by Gutierrez’s friends, family and former colleagues, Locke thanked the 35th Secretary of Commerce for the guidance he gave him when Locke became Secretary and honored him for his many achievements during his tenure.

Gutierrez served under President George W. Bush from February 2005 to January 2009. During his government service, he was the administration’s point person on comprehensive immigration reform, DR-CAFTA and the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and he co-chaired the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. He also led many high-level trade missions, including the first-ever domestic trade mission to the Gulf region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Before coming to Commerce, Gutierrez was chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Company.

Portrait of Carlos M. GutierrezAlso in attendance at the ceremony were former Commerce Secretaries Barbara Franklin, Norman Mineta and Don Evans, as well as Congressman John Dingell. Gutierrez’s former Executive Assistant, Pat Thorne, sang the national anthem.

Gutierrez now serves on the board of trustees for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Bipartisan Debt Reduction Task Force.

Breaking the Language Barrier: NIST Tests Afghan Language Translation Devices for U.S. Troops


Image from video clip showing characters from For the past four years, scientists at Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have been conducting detailed performance evaluations of speech translation systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previous systems used microphones and portable computers. In the most recent tests, the NIST team evaluated three two-way, real-time, voice-translation devices designed to improve communications between the U.S. military and non-English speakers in foreign countries.

Traditionally, the military has relied on human translators for communicating with non-English speakers in foreign countries, but the job is dangerous and skilled translators often are in short supply. According to NIST’s Brian Weiss, the DARPA project, called TRANSTAC (spoken language communication and TRANSlation system for TACtical use), aims to provide a technology-based solution. Currently, the focus is on Pashto, a native Afghani tongue, but NIST has also assessed machine translation systems for Dari—also spoken in Afghanistan—and Iraqi Arabic.Image of U.S. Marine and Afghan talking on cell phone

All new TRANSTAC systems all work much the same way, says project manager Craig Schlenoff. An English speaker talks into the phone. Automatic speech recognition distinguishes what is said and generates a text file that software translates to the target language. Text-to-speech technology converts the resulting text file into an oral response in the foreign language. This process is reversed for the foreign language speaker.  Read more  |  video

Locke Meets With Korea's Minister of Knowledge Economy and China's Minister of Science and Technology at the Commerce Department


Locke and ChoiU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with Korea’s Minister of Knowledge Economy (MKE) Kyunghwan Choi and China’s Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Wan Gang today in separate meetings at the Commerce Department. 

This was the first meeting between Locke and Choi and the first meeting of the Commerce-MKE Committee on Commercial Cooperation, a committee created through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the U.S. and Korea in June 2009.  Locke and Choi confirmed the importance of further strengthening U.S.-Korea commercial relations and working together on trade and investment issues. The pair also expressed support for removing barriers to trade and finding a way forward on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). Following their meeting, Locke and Choi each spoke at the opening session of the Committee, which then held working-level subcommittee break out meetings.

Later in the afternoon, Locke met with China’s Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang. Locke and Wan have previously met twice in China. Wan is in Washington, D.C. for the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial – which Locke spoke at today – hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Wan has served as MOST since April 2007.  Read more

Secretary Locke Stresses Need for a Clean Energy Economy at First-Ever Clean Energy Ministerial Public Forum

Secretary Locke on podiumU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed ministers, CEOs and clean energy leaders today at the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial Public Forum held at the Ronald Reagan Building. Hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the two-day ministerial brought together government leaders and stakeholders from more than 20 countries to collaborate on policies and programs aimed at accelerating the world's transition to clean energy technologies. The meeting grows out of a Global Partnership launched by the leaders of the Major Economies Forum.

In his remarks, Locke highlighted Department of Commerce clean energy initiatives including the development of a first-ever National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Strategy, a new green patents program, and his recent clean energy trade mission to China and Indonesia.

The countries that participated in the ministerial represent 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 80 percent of global gross domestic product, and 80 percent of the global market for clean energy technologies.  Remarks

USPTO Hosts "Three-Track" Roundtable in Alexandria

Participants at roundtable discussionCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a public roundtable discussion today on a new proposed patent examination initiative called the “Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative,” or “Three-Track” for short, which is currently under consideration by the USPTO. The meeting was held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. 

The proposed initiative would eliminate the “one-size-fits-all” approach the USPTO has traditionally taken to patent examination, provide applicants greater control over the speed with which their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. 

More information about the initiative can be found here at

Secretary Locke Co-Chairs U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum in Denver

Secretary Locke and Minister Miguel JorgeU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman co-chaired the fifth U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum today in Denver. Joining Locke and Froman as co-chairs was Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Miguel Jorge.  This is the first time the U.S. has hosted the meeting outside of Washington, D.C. 

The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum discussed critical business issues, including the negotiation of a bilateral tax treaty, customs facilitation and express reform, and energy and infrastructure. The Forum’s recommendations have advanced discussions between the United States and Brazil governments on other important issues such as visas, customs procedures, education and infrastructure reforms. Established in 2007, the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum is made up of 20 CEOs from the U.S. and Brazil, and meets twice a year to make recommendations to the two governments on ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil economic relationship.

CEO Forum meetings were held at the U.S. Department of Energy's Research Support Facility – the nation's largest net-zero energy building designed to showcase energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies – located on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) campus.  Locke and Froman also toured the Science and Technology Facility on the NREL campus, highlighting the role of public-private partnership in research and development and NREL’s collaboration with Brazilian government and industry.

Following the Forum, the group participated in an event hosted by the 2010 Biennial of the Americas – an international event celebrating the culture, ideas and people of the Western Hemisphere. Throughout the month of July, Denver is welcoming national and international visitors for a cross-cultural experience bridging and unifying the artistic, intellectual and political progress of the hemisphere's 35 nations.  


Commerce Department Hosts Event to Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act

In observance of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Commerce hosted an event today at the Herbert C. Hoover Building in partnership with the White House and the Federal Communications Commission.  At the event, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced a $15 million American Recovery and Reinvestment grant to Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. for a project that will expand broadband adoption among people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The event also included a technology showcase highlighting technologies developed to empower the daily lives of Americans with disabilities, the launch of the FCC’s new Accessibility and Innovation Forum, a video presentation chronicling personal histories of those with disabilities who have been impacted by technology and a performance by Gallaudet University students. Both the showcase and program were free and open to the public.  Read more  |  Related NTIA release


Secretary Locke Hosts Clean Energy Economy Forum at the White House

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a Clean Energy Economy Forum at the White House today with Senior Advisor to the Treasury Secretary Ron Bloom and other top administration officials, community leaders, clean energy investors and innovators. Administration officials participated in a constructive dialogue with attendees on opportunities to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies and strategies to support the creation and growth of emerging clean energy industries and enterprises.  The group also discussed efforts to promote exports through President Obama’s National Export Initiative that will help America transition to a clean energy economy and enhance our competitiveness. 

Today’s event builds on a series of university innovation forums focused on technology commercialization that Locke participated in this week, highlighting the Commerce Department and the administration’s focus on research, innovation and a culture of entrepreneurship.  Remarks

Secretary Locke Wraps Up Series of Innovation Forums with Visit to Georgia Tech

Secretary Locke on podium.U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta today for the final of four regional innovation forums held at universities across the country. Since late June, the department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Administration has hosted forums at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan and now Georgia Tech. Each forum has engaged university leaders and key stakeholders in a discussion about how the Obama administration can help move ideas from the lab to the marketplace, building upon a national dialogue Locke began in February.

“America is not lacking for groundbreaking ideas. Nor are we short on entrepreneurs willing to take risks,” Locke said. “What we need to do is get better at connecting the great ideas to the great company builders.

“Here in Atlanta, you set a very high standard for how universities and the private sector can work with federal research dollars to create businesses and jobs right here in Georgia. Our goal is to make this high level of performance in technology commercialization the standard nationwide.”

Locke with plant employeesFollowing today’s innovation forum, Locke visited Suniva, a Georgia-based manufacturer that is advancing ways to make solar photovoltaic technology more cost-effective. The company’s affiliation with the Georgia Institute of Technology is an example of how public-private partnerships can help create and commercialize important new technologies. Read more  |  Remarks

Secretary Locke Announces Members of National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Michigan Innovation Forum

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the members of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship during an innovation forum at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Locke hosted the event along with the Commerce Department’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Economic Development Administration.

The National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship will support President Obama's innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and identifying new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth and create jobs. Members of the council include serial entrepreneurs, university presidents, investors and non-profit leaders.

“I want to extend my gratitude to the leaders selected to The National Advisory Council. Their work will be a key component of America’s economic recovery,” Locke said.

Participants at the forum discussed the role of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation and commercialization of federally funded research.

Earlier this year, Locke kicked off a national dialogue on these issues at a forum on “Catalyzing University Research for a Stronger Economy” with university leaders and key stakeholders in Washington, D.C. The Ann Arbor forum is the third of four in a series of regional innovation forums hosted by Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, with previous forums held at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Southern California. The final upcoming forum will be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Release

Commerce Secretary Locke, Postmaster General Potter Launch New Initiative to Boost U.S. Exports

Locke and Potter shaking handsResponding to President Obama’s call to double exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Postmaster General John Potter announced the launch of a new initiative between the Commerce Department and the United States Postal Service (USPS) that will help boost U.S. exports. The New Market Exporter Initiative (NMEI) will identify current USPS customers who are exporting their goods and services abroad, and help expand their reach to additional international markets. The announcement expands a strategic partnership formed in 2008 between the two entities.   Read more

Commerce's NOAA: U.S. Had Eighth-Warmest June on Record, Above-Normal Precipation

Map of U.S. showing June temperaturesNOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the June 2010 average temperature for the contiguous United States was 71.4 degrees F, which is 2.2 degrees F above the long-term average (1901-2000). The average precipitation for June was 3.33 inches, 0.44 inch above the long-term average.   This monthly analysis was prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., based on records dating back to 1895.  More  |  June temperatures  |  June precipitation

Senior Commerce Official Visits with Syracuse Businesses on Next Stop of National Main Street Business Tour

Photo of Maffei and Wade holding framed certificateRick Wade, senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, was in Syracuse, N.Y., today for the third stop on his National Main Street Business Tour that is taking him across the country to meet with business leaders and hear directly from them about the challenges they’re facing, taking their concerns and ideas back to Washington.  

In Syracuse, Wade and U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei met with local business owners for a roundtable discussion followed by a tour of New York-based Defenshield, a veteran-owned manufacturer of custom armor and transparent armor solutions. Wade also presented the company with an Export Achievement Award, which recognizes small- and medium-sized enterprises that have successfully entered the international marketplace.


Secretary Locke, Mass. Officials Announce $45.4 Million Recovery Act Investment for Broadband Expansion

Locke and officials meet media. Photo: Holland Hinman/Governor's OfficeU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, joined by Senator John Kerry, Governor Deval Patrick and Representatives John Olver and Richard Neal, today announced a $45.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare in Massachusetts.

The grant to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (Mass Broadband 123) will bring high-speed Internet access to western Massachusetts and connect the region to the rest of the state’s digital economy. Last week, President Barack Obama announced $794 million in new projects that will expand broadband access and adoption across America, including the grant to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.  Read more

Secretary Locke Statement on the Death of Former Commerce Secretary Juanita M. Kreps

Former Secretary Juanita M. KrepsOn Monday, July 5, the Commerce Department lost a member of its extended family with the passing of former Secretary Juanita M. Kreps. After growing up in a Kentucky coal-mining town, she went on to a distinguished career as a professor, author and public servant. When President Carter appointed her Commerce Secretary, Kreps became the first woman to serve in the position and just the fourth female Cabinet secretary in U.S. history. Her leadership under difficult economic conditions and her intelligence and devotion to family are remembered by many. I extend my sincere condolences to her family.

Dr. Kreps was the first woman and the only economist to serve as secretary; she was vice president of Duke University and a labor demographics specialist.  She served as Secretary of Commerce from January 23, 1977 - October 31, 1979.

Secretary Locke Joins President Obama to Announce Members of the President’s Export Council, Provide Progress Report on National Export Initiative

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke joined President Barack Obama and Jim McNerney – chairman, president & CEO of The Boeing Company and chair of the President’s Export Council - today at the White House to announce members of the President’s Export Council. During his speech, the president provided a progress report on the National Export Initiative (NEI), which shows that the president’s goal of doubling exports and supporting several million new jobs over five years is on track, and that exports in the first four months of 2010 grew almost 17 percent from the same period last year. While introducing the president, Locke said that

“we must reinvest in innovation and do a better job of connecting U.S. companies with the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders. That’s where the National Export Initiative comes in. It’s an unprecedented government-wide effort to help double American exports by 2015, and it was designed with one overriding goal in mind: To put Americans back to work in jobs that provide security, dignity and a sense of hope for the future.”  

The president also announced new members of the President’s Export Council (PEC), a group that includes business and labor leaders who offer advice and expertise on how best to promote exports, congressional leaders and senior representatives of the administration.  President’s remarks  |  White House blog

EDA Announces Award Competition to Promote Innovation

Commerce's U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is accepting applications for its 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards to spotlight projects of national significance that advance innovation, boost competitiveness and create jobs.

Entries will be accepted until August 27, 2010.  The award categories are:

  • Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs)
  • Innovation in Commercialization
  • Innovation in Global Export Promotion
  • Innovation in Green Technology

For more information on the 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards visit:

The competition was previously known as the EDA Excellence in Economic Development Awards.

NIST Software Security Patent to Help Improve Health IT Privacy

A computer security invention patented a decade ago at Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is now poised to help safeguard patient privacy in hospitals. The invention—an algorithm that can be built into a larger piece of software—is designed to control access to information systems, and it has attracted the attention of a company that is putting it to use in the health care field. John Barkley, the algorithm’s creator, says the idea could solve one of the pervasive issues in the country’s health care system.

“We think this software will provide dramatically improved security and privacy to patients,” says Barkley, now retired from NIST’s Software and Systems Division and now consulting with Virtual Global, which is commercializing the product. “It solves the problem of overly broad access to patient information, which is widespread.”  Read more

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Investments to Improve Broadband Internet Access

Image of Locke and officials outdoors making announcementFollowing President Barack Obama’s announcement today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held press conference calls with elected officials from Oregon and Vermont to announce American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) investments that will help improve economic opportunity and support job creation in both Vermont and Oregon.  Locke was joined on the conference calls by Vt. Gov. James Douglas, U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sanders, and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch from Vermont, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, and Kurt Schrader from Oregon.

In his remarks earlier today, President Obama said, ”. . . I’d like to make a quick announcement regarding new infrastructure investments under the Recovery Act – investments that will create private sector jobs and make America more competitive.

“Secretary Locke and Secretary Vilsack have joined me here today to announce that the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture will invest in 66 new projects across America that will finally bring reliable broadband Internet service to communities that currently have little or no access.

“In the short term, we expect these projects to create about 5,000 construction and installation jobs around the country.  And once we emerge from the immediate crisis, the long-term economic gains to communities that have been left behind in the digital age will be immeasurable.”  President’s video remarks   BroadbandUSA

The Fourth of July, 2010: Independence Day

John Trumbull's 1818 painting of the signing of the Declaration of IndepenceOn July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.  See an image of the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives.

As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the nation. In 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly-independent nation was 2.5 million. This year, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau estimate is 309.6 million.

For fascinating figures on the Fourth’s fireworks, flags, fanfares, firings (grills) and more, see the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features.

Secretary Locke Addresses Symposium on Copyright Policy in the Internet Economy

Secretary Locke on the podiumU.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke discussed the relationship of copyright policy, creativity, and innovation in the Internet economy at a Commerce Department symposium today. The day-long symposium is part of an ongoing series of events sponsored by the Department’s Internet Policy Task Force. The encourages public discussion of online copyright policy in the United States and seeks comment and input from all interested stakeholders--rights holders, Internet service providers, and consumers--on the impact of current copyright laws, the common and emerging techniques used to illegally distribute and obtain protected works, the extent of such infringement and its effects on creativity and innovation in relevant technologies.

Recognizing the vital importance of the Internet to U.S. innovation, prosperity, education and political and cultural life, the Commerce Department has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation.  The newly created Internet Policy Task Force will identify leading public policy and operational challenges in the Internet environment.  The Task Force leverages expertise across many of the Department’s bureaus, including those responsible for domestic and international information and communications technology policy, international trade, cyber security standards and best practices, intellectual property, business advocacy and export control.  For more information, including the agenda and webcast information, go to the Internet Policy Task Force Web site (w or (  Secretary remarks