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Blog Entries from February 2011

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle Duff- Mitchell, Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative

 Michelle Duff-Mitchell, Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the President's vision of winning the future through their work.

Michelle Duff- Mitchell is the Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Last year, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI) during his State of the Union Address, as a key component of his economic recovery agenda, setting the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015 in order to support and sustain millions of American jobs.

In my role as Deputy Director for the NEI, I have the distinct pleasure of working on an issue that is very dear to me: ensuring America's competitiveness today and in the future.  And it's important to remember that at the center of this ability to compete are the contributions of African-American inventors, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals -- who we celebrate and honor during Black History Month and every month.

Today as the global marketplace expands and takes shape, it gives me great pleasure to continue in the legacy of my African-American forefathers and mothers through my work on the NEI.   As Deputy Director, I have the ability to help American companies find new and innovative ways to grow their sales in international markets and create employment opportunities for American workers.  As Secretary Locke often says, “As American companies sell more of their goods and services abroad, they will need to produce more, which means more good-paying American jobs for our workers.”  With only 1 percent of American companies exporting and only 58 percent of those businesses exporting to just one market, there is tremendous opportunity for America to strengthen our economic footing through the expansion of exports—meaning we aggressively compete for every contract and every job.

Secretary Locke Joined President Obama for First Meeting of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

President Barack Obama meets with the members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 24, 2011. From left are; General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, chair of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness; President Obama; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, Secretary Locke joined President Obama at the White House for the first meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Today’s meeting served as a forum on how to continue the dialogue between government and the private sector. The Council is focused on finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally, and to attract the best jobs and businesses to the United States. The Council’s members represent various sectors of the economy, bringing diverse perspectives on how the government can best promote growth, spark innovation, create new jobs, and invest in American competiveness so we can out-compete the rest of the world.  As part of the effort to bring diverse perspectives to the table, two of the Council Members are small business owners, representing the critical role small businesses play as the backbone of our economy and in securing America’s future prosperity.

The President and Secretary Locke talked with the Council about:

  • Helping entrepreneurs get the financing they need to get started and helping existing business owners get the financing they need to expand their businesses,
  • Ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills they need to out-compete the rest of the world,
  • And bolstering job growth at home by promoting American exports across the globe, especially in 21st century industries like clean energy.

See more in this White House blog post.

Spotlight on Commerce: Rick Wade, Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff

Wade speaking from lectern

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Rick Wade is a Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

During his recent State of the Union address, President Obama reminded us that in order to be competitive as a country, we need to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”  One of the best ways we can celebrate Black History Month is to revive the spirit of past African American inventors and invest more in innovation and entrepreneurship.

It was back in 1907 when Booker T. Washington said, “every member of the race should strive to be successful in business, however humble that business might be.”  My work at the Department of Commerce provides me an opportunity to help businesses start, flourish and create high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Secretary Locke Kicks Off 'Compete to Win' Address Series in Columbus

Locke at podium with large projection screen behind him

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Columbus, OH, today to deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Columbus Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.  This event launches Locke’s “Compete to Win” address series – an ongoing outreach effort to Chambers of Commerce across the country in which Locke will listen to the ideas and concerns of members of the business community and highlight Obama administration economic policies that are designed to spur growth and support job creation.

During his address, Locke highlighted President Obama’s plans to strengthen the economic recovery, create jobs, help businesses succeed, and position America to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition.  He specifically discussed the administration’s focus on infrastructure and research and development investments, tax code reform and export promotion as top priorities that will help American businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more successful.  Locke also talked about Columbus’ own regional economic development strategy, Columbus2020!, and how administration policies will support and complement this initiative.   
Locke is scheduled to address the Dallas Regional Chamber on March 8 and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on April 12.  Remarks

New Investment by Embraer in Florida Creates New Opportunities and New Jobs

Participants in ribbon-cutting ceremony

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Yesterday I was honored to participate in the opening ceremony for the new Embraer assembly facility in Melbourne, Florida. Embraer is a Brazilian manufacturer of commercial, general aviation, and defense aircraft, and this new plant will employ up to 200 people from the area.

The ceremony embodied what I believe in about the future:

  • Exports create jobs;
  • The key to the future of the American economy is international trade; and
  • Economic integration among the nations of the hemisphere is how all of us remain competitive in the face of rising global competition.

The aircraft assembled in the new facility symbolize the growth of the hemispheric market and represents how international trade brings the economies of the hemisphere closer to each other.

Brazil and the United States understand that hundreds of millions of new consumers are giving birth to a new global market that will demand quantity as well quality.  Quantity and quality almost define Embraer itself.

Defining the future, too, are the United States and Brazil, which is why President Obama will be travelling to Brazil next month.  The gathering of dignitaries yesterday in many ways can be looked upon as part of the President’s visit to Brazil, for it incorporates the spirit and intention of the journey.

The United States is also interested in launching an Aviation Cooperation Program with Brazil.  We see this as a way of elevating and deepening our relationships with the Brazilian government and industry. 

All of us should embrace Embraer’s decision to build this assembly plant in Florida.  It foreshadows the greater future that lies before us and Florida – and before the United States and Brazil as well.

Spotlight on Commerce: David Hinson, National Director of MBDA

David Hinson, Director of MBDA

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the President's vision of winning the future through their work.

David Hinson is the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

As I travel around the country, I am in awe of the tenacity and the indomitable spirit of minority business owners and their unwillingness to quit in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s the spirit that makes America great.

As the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), I am proud to be a part of this Administration and a part of an Agency where our work helps to expand the U.S. economy and create new jobs through the historically underutilized minority business community.

I have the privilege of serving on the senior staff of the Secretary of Commerce and serving as Bureau Chief of MBDA, as well as engaging with various stakeholders, members of Congress, minority-owned and operated businesses, and nonprofit organizations that support minority business development across the nation.

MBDA is a national organization with more than 46 business centers in five regions, which generates nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital for minority-owned businesses. We also create thousands of jobs for all Americans and help save thousands of existing jobs.

Minority-owned firms are an engine of job creation for the U.S. economy, outpacing growth within the general business community for most of the last decade. Collectively, minority-owned businesses generate $1 trillion in economic output and create nearly 6 million jobs. They also possess almost $2.5 trillion in buying power.

My first introduction to business was as a child growing up in St. Louis, MO. I learned lessons about entrepreneurship from my next door neighbor who ran a small cookie distribution company from his home.  He taught me about the importance of inventory and business efficiencies. While I was a dreamer, who often thought about what people were doing in other countries, my parents’ neighbors and teachers taught me that simply dreaming wasn’t enough. Making dreams come to fruition requires true grit and determination.

Secretary Locke Appoints New Deputy Director at the USPTO

Teresa Stanek Rea was appointed by Secretary Locke as the new Deputy Director of the Commerce Department's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week.

Serving alongside USPTO Director David Kappos, Rea will take charge of a Commerce office that is integral in encouraging innovation and technological advancement in the U.S., and helps businesses protect their investments, promote their goods, and safeguard against deception in the marketplace.

Rea is a leading attorney in the field of intellectual property with more than 25 years of legal experience and a past president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). She is currently a partner in Crowell & Moring LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, where she has focused on intellectual property and dispute resolution related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life science issues.

“Teresa has an impressive track record of success across several disciplines and will be a tremendous asset to the USPTO,” Locke said. “Her leadership will be instrumental in the USPTO's efforts to foster economic growth and job creation by reducing the backlog of patent applications, enhancing patent and trademark quality, and becoming more efficient.”

Rea is a member of several technical and legal associations and has been a frequent lecturer and publisher on patent topics including biotechnology, nanotechnology, licensing, technology transfer, patent practice, export control and interferences. She received a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Michigan.

Arriving at a critical time for the agency, Rea joins the USPTO just as Congress prepares to move forward with vital patent reform legislation that would enable the USPTO to better serve America’s innovators in bringing their products to market faster and, in so doing, help spur economic growth and job creation.

Build It Here: American Manufacturing

During the course of our economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, domestic manufacturing has been a star. In the past, manufacturing output and job growth have typically lagged behind the economy’s overall recovery in the United States. But this time, manufacturing has led the way.

Manufacturing activity expanded in January at its fastest pace in seven years, recording its 18th month of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s January manufacturing index. As Commerce Department Chief Economist Mark Doms noted recently in his new blog, manufacturing jobs are associated with relatively high wages, hence the commonly used phrase “good jobs” in reference to those created in the industry.

In the video below, U.S. companies from a wide range of industries from health care to plastics talk about why they manufacture their goods in America. The United States offers a highly educated workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a business climate that supports and encourages innovation. For ET Water, Labcon, Supracor and others, manufacturing in America just makes smart business sense.

See video

Secretary Locke Kicks Off New Markets, New Jobs Export Tour in Minneapolis

Locke on podium at tour event

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Minneapolis, MN, today to launch the inaugural New Markets, New Jobs National Export Initiative Small Business conference.  Joined by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Locke discussed the importance of exports to America’s economic recovery and job creation, and the resources that the government is providing to connect small- and medium-sized businesses with foreign buyers in order to help them sell more overseas and hire more at home.

Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, New Markets, New Jobs is a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to proactively bring government services to businesses across the country that are interested in exporting.  After Minneapolis, the tour will make stops in Los Angeles, Louisiana, and Wilmington, DE.  Remarks

NTIA Launches National Broadband Map

Image of interactive broadband map

Today Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched the first-ever public, searchable nationwide map of broadband access.  

The National Broadband Map is an unprecedented project created by NTIA, in collaboration with the FCC, and in partnership with each state, territory and the District of Columbia. The map was created at the direction of Congress, which recognized that economic opportunities are driven by access to 21st century infrastructure.

With funding from NTIA’s State Broadband Data & Development Program, state partners have gathered and worked to validate broadband data from thousands of providers across the country. Together, a dataset and website were developd that includes more than 25 million searchable records displaying where broadband Internet service is available, the technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds of the service, and the names of the broadband providers. Whether you are a consumer seeking more information on the broadband options available to you, a researcher or policymaker working to spur greater broadband deployment, a local official aiming to attract investment in your community, or an application developer with innovative ideas, the National Broadband Map can help.  And if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for on the map itself, you can download the entire dataset.  NTIA press release  |  Broadband map

Commerce Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank Visits Department Campuses in Boulder

Acting Deputy Blank shown on tour with mechanical equipment

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank traveled to Boulder, Colorado this week to visit some of the department’s state-of-the-art facilities run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Her four-hour tour included stops at the nation’s time standard, NIST's F-1 Cesium Fountain Clock; the quantum devices group where NIST scientists study and make volt standards, photon detectors and quantum computing chips; the temperature, humidity and vibration controlled Precision Measurement Lab, under construction at NIST and due to be completed in the spring of 2012; and NTIA's radio, video and audio labs at the Public Safety Communications research facility.

At NOAA, Blank saw demonstrations of a unique visualization tool, Science on a Sphere; toured the Space Weather Prediction Center and the National Weather Service’s Forecast Research Center; viewed a demonstration of the wind profiler model; and visited the Global Monitoring Division and the Environmental Data Archive.

The cutting-edge work that takes place at the department impacts the daily lives of the American people – from the accurate timekeeping ability of the Atomic Clock to high-tech weather forecasting capabilities to the continuous improvement of communications devices used by first responders. The scientists and researchers at NIST, NTIA and NOAA are leaders in research and development and help to keep the United States at the forefront of innovation and global leadership.

Working with the Private-Sector to Enhance Cybersecurity

Howard Schmidt, Philip Reitinger, Dr. Patrick Gallagher

NIST Director Patrick Gallagher joined White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Philip Reitinger of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Michael Kaiser of the National Cyber Security Alliance at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week to discuss the need for increased public-private collaboration in cybersecurity

Engaging an audience of several hundred people, the panel highlighted the value of cybersecurity education and discussed ways to increase government-industry collaboration in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats in cyberspace.

Collaboration "is critical to winning the future," Schmidt said. "From everyday users to specialists who tackle our most challenging questions, the goal is to get everyone pulling in the same direction."

The panel also addressed a new Obama administration initiative to make the online environment more secure and convenient – the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. To be led by the private sector with coordination by the Commerce Department, the effort aims to develop voluntary identity credentials that limit the amount of personal information consumers must share online. Consumers could use the credential – a smart card, digital software certificate in their cell phone or other technology – to prove their identity for sensitive online transactions like banking or checking health care records. For surfing the Web, blogging, or other activities, they could remain anonymous.

"At NIST, just about every activity is done in conjunction with the private sector," Gallagher said. "It is the way we do business."



The Commercial Service Will Find You the Perfect Partner this Valentine’s Day

U.S. Commercial Service Logo

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service can help businesses find their perfect match in each of more than 80 countries in just 15 business days. Our trained staff helps companies increase their sales by connecting them with strategic international partners through its International Partner Search.

It’s simple - companies provide background and marketing materials about what they do, and the Commercial Service uses its worldwide network and extensive contacts in the appropriate target markets to identify potential business opportunities. The result is a detailed description of up to five prequalified prospects. Working only with prequalified international partners that best meet each company’s business needs saves time and money. Commercial Service customers receive information on the marketability and sales potential of their products and services, as well as background on their prospective international partners.

For businesses that prefer face-to-face meetings, the Commercial Service offers the Gold Key Service, a tailored program where companies travel to a target business market and meet with potential agents, distributors, sales representatives, and other business partners. Before traveling, companies can get customized briefings by U.S. Commercial Service staff on industry sector market research and guidance with travel, accommodations, interpreter services, and clerical support. Following the trip, participants share their experiences with U.S. Commercial Service staff and together develop appropriate follow-up strategies. Businesses short on time also have the opportunity to use the Video Gold Key Service, which uses video conferencing in lieu of travel.

Ready to get started? Find your local Commercial Service specialist to schedule a meeting!

Commerce Department’s Proposed 2012 Budget

The Commerce Department’s proposed 2012 budget makes tough choices and reduces spending by $242 million, while making important investments that will help America out-build and out-innovate our economic competitors.With a proposed five-year, non-security discretionary spending freeze that will save $400 billion, President Obama’s budget reduces non-security, discretionary spending to its lowest percentage of the economy since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office.

Among the highlighted cuts and reductions:

  • $15.8 million from eliminating the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program;
  • $37.3 million from eliminating EDA’s 21st Century Innovation Infrastructure program;
  • $20 million by restructuring the International Trade Administration to focus on high-priority markets and industries. This means eliminating a number of foreign posts, among other cost savings;
  • $43 million by eliminating the Emergency Steel Guaranteed Loan Program;
  • More than $2 million by reducing the reliance of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program on federal funding and shifting it to a private sector footing, and;
  • $20 million by eliminating the Public Telecommunications Facilities, Planning and Construction Program.

In addition to the program cuts mentioned above, the budget includes savings that result from reforming the way Commerce works – doing more, while spending less. That meant changing how the department handles acquisitions and logistics, such as shipping, to find places where it can leverage buying power; tightening the filling of vacancies to the highest priority positions and better using information technologies. All told, the proposed 2012 budget finds more than $140 million in administrative savings.

Successful Trade Mission to India Wraps Up Today

Secretary Locke Meets a Member of the Dabbawala Association Organization

After the final day in Mumbai, Secretary Locke and delegates from the 24 U.S. businesses who travelled to India on the six-day high-tech trade mission to India wrapped up their business.

Secretary Locke said, “This trade mission was a resounding success.  For some companies on our trip, ‘success’ was an initial meeting or consultation with Indian government or business leaders that will lead to deals down the road. For others, success was more immediate with some companies leaving India on the cusp of making multimillion dollar sales.  Either way, these companies have made important inroads into one of the most promising high-technology markets in the world.”

On Friday morning, Secretary Locke met with the executive committee of the U.S- India Importers’ Council, an initiative developed to support Indian companies that import goods and services from the United States.  The mission of this Council is to advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, and to support the efforts of Indian companies that import products from the U.S.
Locke then visited Mumbai’s legendary Dabbawala Association organization to learn about their unique logistics operation that delivers home-cooked food to hundreds of thousands of people daily.  Association president Raghunath Medge provided Locke with an overview of the organization’s labeling and sorting methodology and the dispatch process. Dabbawala’s lunch delivery service has been cited as a model of entrepreneurship and supply chain management at the grass-roots level. In the afternoon, Locke engaged in multiple bilateral meetings with Indian officials.

India Trade Mission Has Been a Success for Pelican Products

Scott Ermeti, VP Marketing and International Business, Pelican

Guest blog post by Scott Ermeti, Vice President, Marketing and International Business at Pelican Products.

Ed note: Pelican Products is a manufacturer of watertight protective cases, submersible flashlights and ATEX certified torches.

We are nearing the end of Secretary Locke’s weeklong “India High Tech Business Development Mission” and by nearly all measures it has been a success for Pelican Products.  As a mid-sized American manufacturer of high-performance protective cases & packaging solutions and portable lighting equipment, it would have been very difficult for us to have received such a fine and rapid indoctrination to the Indian market elsewhere. 

Multiple meetings and presentations have educated us on the enormous opportunities that exist here:

  • The Indian “middle class” is made up of more than 300 million persons; larger than the entire U.S. population
  • The Indian economy is forecasted to grow at a rate of 7-9% for the next five years.
  • The Indian government is forecasted to spend:
    • $50 billion dollars in Aerospace and Defense improvements in the next five years
    • $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and airports in the next five years.
  • Currently manufacturing makes up only 16% of Indian GDP, but the goal is to increase that percentage to 25% over the next 10 years.

U.S. Census Bureau Launches Interactive Map of Local 2010 Census Data

2010 Census Redistricting Data Release by State

The U.S. Census Bureau has launched a new, interactive map that conveniently and easily displays local-level 2010 Census population counts. The application allows users to compare county-level population change from 1960 to 2010, as well as state-level data on race and Hispanic or Latino origin for 2010.
Last week, the rollout of detailed data began with the release of local population counts for Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia. This week, local data for Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Vermont are being released. For each state, the Census provides summaries of population totals as well as data on race, Hispanic origin, and voting age for multiple geographies within the state, such as census blocks, tracts, voting districts, cities, counties and school districts. The counts are being delivered on a state-by-state basis, and all states will receive their data by April 1.

As new data is released, the Census Bureau will update the map. Learn more about your state.

Secretary Locke Arrives in Mumbai for Final Stop of High-Tech Trade Mission

Locke with Indian CEOs in Mumbai

Locke meets with Chairman Ambani of Reliance Industries and other Indian CEOs

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke returned to India’s business center today for the final stop of his high-technology trade mission to India – which he announced during President Obama’s trip last November. Locke is joined by a delegation of 24 U.S. businesses seeking to promote their technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology to India. Locke is the first Cabinet secretary to travel to India after President Obama’s visit.

At a speech he delivered to members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Mumbai, Locke highlighted the U.S.-India commercial relationship and encouraged development of new business opportunities between the members of the delegation and their Indian counterparts. He also talked about the great progress India has made in opening its markets to U.S. companies but he noted that much more work needs to be done.

“If India continues its walk down ‘the path of reform,’ if it continues to become more open to the investments and the innovations of foreign companies – like the 24 companies I have with me this week – it will stand a much better chance of meeting the needs of its people and of helping to lead the global economy in the 21st century,” said Secretary Locke. “We've made important progress this week, not just to lay the groundwork for more sales of U.S. goods in India, but to take another real step towards strengthening the bonds between the governments, the businesses and the people of India and the United States.”

While in Mumbai, Locke also met with Indian CEOs, including Chairman Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, who are part of the U.S.-India CEO Forum as a follow up from their meeting during President Obama’s trip to India in November. Locke solicited the group’s goals for the 2011 forum and they discussed a wide range of critical issues, including clean energy, standards and education.

Trade Mission to India Brings Tangible Benefits to Kulite

Tonghuo Shang, Vice President, Technology Development and Asia Operations at Kulite Semiconductor Products, Inc.

Guest blog post by Dr. Tonghuo Shang, Vice President, Technology Development and Asia Operations at Kulite Semiconductor Products, Inc.

Ed Note: Kulite is the world leader in pressure transducer technology, serving several high technology industries such as Aerospace, Flight Test, Automotive, Motor Sports and Industrial Processes.

Today I just concluded my portion of the journey with the India High Tech Mission. While I regret that I won’t be traveling to Mumbai with fellow delegates, the fact that most Kulite customers are in the Bangalore area necessitates that I stay here and meet them individually. This trip is a memorable experience for me, in what Kulite has achieved, as well as in the friendships with other delegation members.

At the start of the mission Secretary Locke asked delegates to evaluate the mission, and to identify the factors that made it a success. I think the most important factor is the elevated profile that a government delegation brings. With Secretary Locke we were able to listen to several key Indian Ministers and hear their ambitious plans for India, and their upbeat economic outlook. The US Commercial Service, being a government entity, is also a valuable and effective resource. Case in point - on Tuesday, the delegation met with the General Managers of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. After listening to their presentation I requested a follow-on meeting with one of the HAL divisions. The in-country staff located the contact point and developed a meeting plan within two hours!

This mission brings tangible benefits to Kulite. I am able to evaluate the market potential in a very short amount of time, and sees clear business growth in the next two years. I would like to thank the entire DoC team for their tireless effort putting this together. The seamless planning and personal attention to each company is remarkable. Trade missions like this are highly recommended, especially for small and mid-sized companies when resources are limited.

Good luck to my fellow delegates in Mumbai.

Secretary Locke Touts U.S.-India Trade, Opens U.S. Pavillion

Locke with students

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of innovation in the U.S.-India trade relationship today in Bangalore with remarks and a discussion with students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) before officially opening the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India 2011.  Bangalore is the second stop of his three-city high-technology business development trade mission with U.S companies to India.

During the discussion at IISc, Locke interacted with students, research scholars, and professors at one of India's premier educational institutions for science and research.  Locke discussed how India's efforts to build a more open commercial environment will help empower the next generation of Indian innovators to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems like climate change, poverty and disease.

"I'm optimistic and confident the world is equipped to deal with the challenges we face – and a big part of the reason is seeing young people like you," said Locke.  Because although these problems are daunting, they do have solutions.  Many of them can be solved with the science, math and engineering skills that are taught and learned at IISC every day."

The secretary added that unlocking the full potential of IISc students and researchers, and indeed the entire U.S.-India trade relationship, depended on India continuing to work towards "a regulatory infrastructure that encourages the freer flow of ideas, people, and technologies across its borders."

Secretary Locke Touts U.S.-India Trade, Opens U.S. Pavillion

Locke Meets with Chairman Tata, Minister of Defence A.K. Antony on the margins of Aero India

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of innovation in the U.S.-India trade relationship today in Bangalore with remarks and a discussion with students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) before officially opening the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India 2011.  Bangalore is the second stop of his three-city high-technology business development trade mission with U.S companies to India.

During the discussion at IISc, Locke interacted with students, research scholars, and professors at one of India's premier educational institutions for science and research.  Locke discussed how India's efforts to build a more open commercial environment will help empower the next generation of Indian innovators to help solve some of the world's most pressing problems like climate change, poverty and disease.

"I'm optimistic and confident the world is equipped to deal with the challenges we face – and a big part of the reason is seeing young people like you," said Locke.  Because although these problems are daunting, they do have solutions.  Many of them can be solved with the science, math and engineering skills that are taught and learned at IISC every day."

The secretary added that unlocking the full potential of IISc students and researchers, and indeed the entire U.S.-India trade relationship, depended on India continuing to work towards "a regulatory infrastructure that encourages the freer flow of ideas, people, and technologies across its borders."

Kent Displays: Trade Mission to India Working for Companies of All Sizes!

Dr. Al Green, CEO of Kent Displays

Guest blog post by Dr. Albert Green, CEO of Kent Displays. 

Ed note: Founded in 1993, Kent Displays, Inc. is a world leader in the research, development and manufacture of Reflex™ No Power LCDs for unique, sustainable applications including electronic skins, writing tablets, smartcards and eReaders. Improv Electronics was formed in 2010 as the consumer products subsidiary of Kent Displays. 2010 sales of its first product, the Boogie Board™ LCD Writing Tablet, exceeded forecast by 10 times. Its paperless LCD technology represents a significant opportunity to reduce global paper consumption for everyday tasks such as memos, reminders, to do lists, sketching and other writing and drawing activities.

Kent Displays is honored to be a representative on this trade mission to India. It’s only a few days into the mission, and the benefits of participating are already immeasurable. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the U.S. Commerce Department and Secretary Gary Locke for organizing the trip and selecting Kent Displays for the business delegation.

Going into the trade mission, Kent Displays had limited focus on the India market. We considered a greater focus in the past, but decided that the upfront exploratory effort to “get the ball rolling in India” would require a commitment beyond our available resources.

By participating in the mission, we hope to gain a better understanding of its business, government and consumer dynamics. We also expect to establish relationships with business and government leaders that would help identify immediate and future business opportunities. In the final analysis, this mission is the impetus for convincing us that now is the time to explore business possibilities in India. 

Black-Owned Businesses Outpace Growth of Non-Minority-Owned Businesses

Today the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners showing that the number of African American-owned firms in the United States increased by 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 1.9 million firms. African American-owned businesses also drove job creation over the five-year period, with employment growing 22 percent, exceeding that of non-minority-owned businesses.

“We are encouraged by the overall growth of the minority business community, including African American-owned businesses, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said MBDA National Director David A. Hinson. “Creating new businesses and new jobs on a path to entrepreneurial parity in size, scope and capacity is our primary goal.”

While minority-owned firms are experiencing substantial growth, African American-owned businesses still only represent 7 percent of all classifiable firms but 12 percent of the adult population. MBDA works to promote the growth and global competitiveness of minority businesses, so they are better equipped to create jobs, boost their local economies and compete in the global marketplace. 

Find out more about African American-owned businesses.

Next stop: Bangalore to Inaugurate the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India and Visit Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Facilities

Locke and And Ambassador Roemer in HAL helicopter

Today Secretary Locke flew to Bangalore for the second stop of his high-technology business development trade mission to India.

Locke’s first stop on his visit was Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.’s (HAL) facilities. HAL is one of Asia’s largest aerospace companies, employing approximately 34,000 people with roughly $2 billion in annual revenue. The company has partnered with leading U.S. aerospace manufacturers – Boeing, Honeywell, and Lockheed Martin – on several projects. The U.S export content value for HAL is $40 to $50 million dollars annually with hundreds of millions in future export opportunities.

Intuit Shows Secretary Locke Behind-the-Scenes Impact of GoConnect

Locke, Alex Lintner and store owner, Deepak Gupta

Guest blog post by Alex Lintner, president and CEO of Intuit's Global Business Division

Ed. note: Intuit has focused on a simple mission: to improve the financial lives of people so profoundly that they could never imagine going back to the old way of doing things. By solving big underserved problems, we have become woven into the financial lives of more than 50 million small businesses and consumers worldwide. Readers from the United States are most likely familiar with flagship brands: QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax.

Intuit is proud to join U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on the business development trade mission to India. It is an honor to represent my company as we contribute to trade that creates jobs for people in both the United States and India.

On day one of the mission, I had the privilege of seeing our impact firsthand. Secretary Locke joined us at a neighborhood grocery store in South Delhi that was founded by an Indian national who “exported” his knowlege and experience from running a store in Utah back to India to build a successful business here in the Indian capital.  Store manager Deepak Gupta provided a tour of the shop, shared his goals for the business and shed light on how the store has been marketing to the community. The purpose of the trip was to provide Secretary Locke with a “behind-the-scenes” look at what went into developing Intuit’s GoConnect, the new mobile marketing service we created to give small businesses the power to increase visits from existing customers via personalized, targeted mobile marketing campaigns that can be managed via the Web or mobile phones. Using GoConnect, the store has seen a sales increase of seven percent and a concurrent decrease in marketing costs of 90 percent. 

Secretary Locke, India Commerce and Industry Minister Sharma Discuss U.S.-India Trade Relationship

Locke and Sharma, seated

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met today with Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma.  The discussion focused on increasing the kind of mutually beneficial trade that provides win-win opportunities for both countries. Secretary Locke and Minister Sharma met during President Obama’s November visit to India.  Photo shows Secretary Locke and Ambassador Romer examening GE engines.  See full release  |  CII Luncehon remarks

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address on U.S.-India Commercial Relations in New Delhi

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address today at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) luncheon in New Delhi, where he discussed increasing the kind of mutually beneficial trade that provides win-win opportunities for both countries.   

Locke added that seizing the full potential of our cooperation will require India to take further steps to open its economy, including: reducing a variety of tariff and non-tariff barriers; lifting restrictions on foreign direct investment; and improving the protection on intellectual property.

CII works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government alike through advisory and consultative processes.

Secretary Locke is in New Delhi as the first stop of a high-technology trade mission he is leading to promote exports of leading U.S. technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology. The mission will continue through February 11, and also make stops in Mumbai and Bangalore. 

Visit the Commerce Department’s India trade mission website at for updates on the trade mission.

Press release

High-Technology Trade Mission To India with Secretary Locke and 24 U.S. Companies Kicks Off

Today, Secretary Locke kicked off a high-technology trade mission in New Delhi to promote exports of leading U.S. technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology. The mission will continue through February 11, and also make stops in Bangalore and Mumbai. 

His first stop was at a neighborhood grocery store in New Delhi that is using technology developed by a U.S. company to market its products, manage its customers and organize its business operations.  Intuit, based in Mountain View, Calif., created “GoConnect,” a new innovative mobile and web-based marketing service that is helping Indian micro and small businesses grow and improve the way they communicate with their customers. Intuit’s new application was first announced during the President Obama’s visit to India.

"Intuit's GoConnect technology is a prime example of the kind of mutually beneficial trade that creates jobs in both countries, creating opportunities from the Intuit offices in Northern California to a neighborhood grocery store in the streets of New Delhi," said Secretary Locke. "We look forward to finding more commercial opportunities like these during this trade mission."

GoConnect was developed in both India and the U.S. The data is hosted in Intuit's data center in Quincy, Washington. 

Secretary Locke Arrives in India for High-Tech Trade Mission

Secretary Locke and Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Earlier today, Secretary Locke landed in India at the start of a high-tech trade mission. He wrote an opinion editorial for The Times of India explaining the importance of trade to the economic growth of India and the United States.

When President Barack Obama spoke before the Indian Parliament last November, he said: "The relationship between the United States and India - bound by our shared interests and values - will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century."

During the president's visit, there was action backing up those words, including $10 billion in job-creating deals between American and Indian businesses and the Indian government; President Obama expressing support for India gaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council; and an announcement of significant reforms to US export control policies - opening the door for increased high-technology trade and cooperation between India and the US.

This week, I am travelling to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to help 24 US companies walk through that door. These companies - more than half of which are small- and medium-sized businesses - are leaders in the civil nuclear, defence and security, civil aviation, and information and communications technology sectors. They are eager to find Indian business partners and to help India continue its remarkable transformation.

Read the rest of "Opening the Door to India" and find out more about the high-tech trade mission.

USPTO to Issue Proposal for Accelerated Patent Examination as part of Three-Track Program

File photo: Kappos and panel announcing Threee-Track (Jly, 2010)

Today, Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced new details on its “Three-Track” program designed to enable applicants to choose the speed with which their patent application is processed.  A notice to be posted in the Federal Register on Friday lays out plans for implementation of “Track One,” which will give applicants the opportunity for prioritized examination of a patent within 12 months of its filing date for a proposed fee of $4,000. Public comments on a number of different proposed requirements for participation in Track One will be accepted for 30 days after the notice is published.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the “Three-Track” patent examination program, first published for public comment in June 2010, at the White House’s launch of the “Startup America” initiative earlier this week.

“The Patent and Trademark Office plays a key role in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship,” Locke said. “This new system will bring the most valuable patents, as determined by inventors, to market faster and will help shrink the backlog by catering to the business needs of America’s innovators.”

For smaller entities, the USPTO is working to offer a 50 percent discount on any filing fee associated with Track One, as it does with many other standard processing fees. The patent reform legislation recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would enable the USPTO to set its own fees and thereby extend this discount to small entity applicants.

The USPTO also announced today a new effort to eliminate the “tail” of backlog applications that were more than 16 months old at the beginning of the fiscal year and had not yet received a first office action, known as “Clearing the Oldest Patent Applications” (or COPA).  This initiative is a critical first step in reaching the agency’s strategic goal of providing first office actions on all new applications in an average of 10 months from their date of filing by 2014.

Over time, COPA and the Three-Track program will help to lower overall patent pendency and speed up the time it takes for applicants to get a decision on their patent applications. Complete Press Release

NIST Helps to Accelerate Federal Government Adoption of Cloud Computing

Department of Energy diagram of cloud computing

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued two new draft documents on cloud computing for public comment, including the first set of guidelines for managing security and privacy issues in cloud computing. The agency also has set up a new NIST Cloud Computing Collaboration website to enable two-way communication among the cloud community and the NIST cloud research working groups.

Cloud computing is a way for nearly anyone or any organization with access to the Internet to rent computer power for applications and data storage from cloud providers who run large computers. Working on a cloud feels the same to users, but the cloud provider performs the many management activities required to keep computers operating and secure.

U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra asked NIST to accelerate the federal government’s secure adoption of cloud computing by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders. The release of these new publications and the new website are part of NIST’s work to fulfill that mission.

The publications include The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, which documents years of NIST research on cloud computing, and Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing, which provides an overview of the security and privacy challenges for public cloud computing and presents recommendations that organizations should consider when outsourcing data, applications and infrastructure to a public cloud environment.

The new Cloud Computing Collaboration website, developed to foster the cloud community’s collaboration on the federal government’s secure adoption of cloud computing, provides information about NIST’s cloud computing program and invites public participation on working groups that address a wide range of cloud computing topics.

To comment on these reports, contribute to the Wiki, or get additional information, visit

Secretary Locke Announces 47 Percent Trade Surplus in the Travel and Tourism Industry

Secretary Locke convenes travel and tourism advisory committee

At a meeting of the Commerce Department’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a 47 percent surge in the travel and tourism trade surplus in 2010; the surplus now exceeds $28 billion. The United States welcomed more than 55 million international visitors during the first 11 months of 2010, 11.4 million more visitors than the year before. While international visitation increased 10 percent, international visitor spending increased 11 percent to $122.7 billion. The travel and tourism industry employs nearly 8 million people across the United States.

During the meeting, Locke discussed the progress made on the president’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double exports by 2015 in support of several million U.S. jobs. Through November 2010, total U.S. exports were up 17 percent, and travel and tourism is on track to contribute to significant export growth.

“Travel and tourism continues to be one of the bright spots in the U.S. economy,” said Locke. “With a $28.3 billion trade surplus in the first 11 months of 2010, this industry has a huge role to play in helping our country answer President Obama’s call to double our exports by 2015 and win the future.”

The Board consists of 30 industry leaders from the travel and tourism industry who are appointed to advise Secretary Locke on matters relating to the industry and provide policy recommendations.  The Board was re-chartered in September 2009, and the current term will expire on September 3, 2011. 

Members of the Travel Facilitation Working Group presented a letter to Secretary Locke with 10 recommendations that address key visa and customer service issues, with the goal to increase the number of overseas international visitors to the U.S. to meet the current forecast of 36.7 million visitors by 2015, supporting job creation. |  Remarks

NIST Opens $20 Million Grant Competition to Support New Scientific Research Facilities

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched a new competition for grants to support the construction of new and expanded scientific research facilities at institutions of higher education and nonprofit scientific research organizations.

Through the NIST Construction Grant Program (NCGP), the agency expects $20 million to be available for grants ranging from $5 to $10 million over a period of no more than five years.

The program provides competitively awarded, cost-shared grants for the construction of new science research buildings or the expansion of existing buildings, including laboratories, test facilities, measurement facilities, research computing facilities and observatories. Proposed projects must complement the research goals of one or more of the department’s three science agencies: NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). These agencies conduct research in measurement science, engineering, oceanography, atmospheric research and telecommunications.

Since 2008, NCGP has provided over $250 million in grant funding for new or expanded facilities at 24 institutions across the nation to pursue research in topics ranging from earthquakes and ocean ecology to nanoscale engineering and quantum physics.

Additional details of the competition, including deadlines, application procedures and requirements, are available at and the NCGP website. Read the full press release.