This site contains information from January 2009-December 2014. Click HERE to go the CURRENT website.

Blog Entries from April 2011

Secretary Locke and Congressional Delegation Conclude Productive South Korea Meetings

Secretary Locke, Reps Crowley and Reichert Overlook North Korea from the DMZ

Today Secretary Gary Locke and the congressional delegation concluded their three-day trip to Seoul with a visit to the Demilitarized Zone – the border between South and North Korea – and a lunch with U.S troops and their families at Yongsan Garrison to thank them for their service. The group also met with leaders of South Korea’s Democratic Party and Grand National Party at Korea’s National Assembly to discuss the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS).

“Over the last few days we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits that KORUS will bring to the economies of both the U.S. and Korea,” Locke said. “There is great demand for U.S. products -- from made-in-America cell phone components to life-saving medical equipment. This agreement will increase mutually beneficial trade, strengthen our economies and create jobs in both of our countries.”

Locke also visited Seoul National University Hospital for a demonstration of Varian Medical Systems’ (Palo Alto, Calif.) advanced radiotherapy technology.  Varian is the world leader in this life-saving, cancer treatment technology with approximately $34 million worth of annual sales to South Korea.  Their equipment is manufactured in California and Utah and exported globally. Under the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, the tariff on Varian’s products would be eliminated, making the company more competitive in the Korean market. 

Varian Medical Systems Could Save More Lives and Compete More Efficiently Under U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement

Secretary Locke, Reps. McDermott and Reichert Listen to an Explanation of How the Varian Linear Accelerator Works

Guest blog post by Timothy E. Guertin, President and CEO of Varian Medical Systems of Palo Alto, CA.

Editor’s Note:  Varian Medical Systems focuses energy on saving lives. By partnering with customers and others, the people of Varian develop leading solutions for improving cancer treatment, X-ray imaging, and security.

Varian Medical Systems is honored that Secretary Locke and an esteemed Congressional delegation devoted time to seeing our systems treating cancer patients at Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH), while on a trade mission to the Republic of Korea.  SNUH, a longtime partner of Varian, provides some of the most leading edge cancer treatments available to those stricken with this terrible disease.  The Varian linear accelerators that perform radiotherapy treatments at SNUH were manufactured in California and then installed and serviced by a team of technicians in Seoul, providing jobs on both sides of the Pacific.

While visiting the radiation oncology department at SNUH, Secretary Locke was able to see firsthand the easy and painless process a cancer patient goes through when being treated with radiotherapy.  Radiotherapy is a non-invasive technique that targets tumors with high-energy photon beams that stop cancer cells from reproducing.   Treatments on Varian linear accelerators are tailored for each patient, focusing on breast, prostate, brain, lung and other types of cancers.    In the next several months, SNUH will be acquiring the new Varian TrueBeam system that will enable clinicians in Seoul to treat more complex cases, while at the same time reducing treatment times for patients.

Trading with South Korea

Congressman Jim McDermott with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, South Korea – April 26, 2011

Guest blog post from Congressman Jim McDermott, who is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Trade, and represents the city of Seattle, WA in the U.S. House of Representatives. He wrote this post while on the CODEL trip to Korea with Secretary Locke.

The U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement is something that is good for both countries.  For South Korea, this is an opportunity to solidify their position as a world economic power by establishing a relationship with the United States. They are in a situation where they are surrounded by China, North Korea and Japan. They are a group of 50 million people who since the Korean War have gone from absolute devastation to a solid economic performer – a country that can deal with the United States on an equal basis.

When we began trading with an impoverished South Korea, we opened our doors and lowered our tariffs to the point where they paid almost nothing to export to the United States. Simultaneously, we paid enormous tariffs when we exported to South Korea – tariffs that are still in effect.

I’ll give you an example: a bottle of wine that would cost $13 in Seattle would cost $68 here in Seoul because of the tariffs. With the new trade agreement, those tariffs will come down and we will have Washington State wine sold here in Korea. Instead of drinking French, Italian, Spanish and Argentinean wines, they will be drinking Washington wine. That’s just one example of how we stand to benefit from an economic standpoint.

Secretary Locke and Members of Congress Tour Pantech and Meet with U.S. Businesses in Korea

On the second day of the CODEL trip to Korea, Secretary Locke and the congressional delegation visited Pantech, one of the largest mobile phone makers in South Korea, to see firsthand how the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement will help American and South Korean businesses and workers in today’s global manufacturing and supply chain. 

Currently, Pantech imports about half a billion dollars worth of U.S. products annually, including chipsets from Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) and Gorilla Glass from Corning Inc. (Corning, New York).  Gorilla Glass is manufactured in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and is exported around the world for use in smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices and has applications across a large range of industries.  In addition, nearly 60 percent of Pantech’s production equipment is made by U.S. companies.

With the approval and implementation of the U.S.-South Korea agreement, Pantech is expected to quadruple its purchase of U.S. products by 2015, while Corning will see existing tariffs on Gorilla Glass eliminated immediately upon implementation of the agreement. Corning, utilizing these benefits, will gain market share in South Korea’s growing mobile-device market by enhancing its competitiveness vis-à-vis other manufacturers in the region.  Corning is also investing $180 million to expand its factory in Harrodsburg in order to meet the growing demands of its customers in Asia, including South Korea.  Earlier in the day, Locke met with his South Korean counterpart, the Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Joong-Kyung, to discuss KORUS and the cooperative relationship between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

AMCHAM Korea Welcomes Secretary Locke to Seoul

Amy Jackson, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, Hosts Secretary Locke During a Luncheon in Seoul, Korea.

Guest blog post by Amy Jackson, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM Korea) was very pleased to welcome Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and his delegation of four distinguished Members of Congress to Korea this week.  Their visit symbolizes the strong ties that underline the U.S.-Korea bilateral relationship – and also the expectation that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will soon be taken up by the legislatures in both countries for a vote.

AMCHAM Korea is the oldest and largest foreign business association in Korea.  We are a fully private organization, and we have around 2,000 individual members coming from about 1,000 companies that span all sectors of the economy – aerospace, automotive, agriculture, consumer products, financial services, healthcare, education, professional services, and many more.   Our member companies are big and small and employee hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers throughout the United States. 

Our key message to Secretary Locke and his delegation was that early ratification of the KORUS FTA is essential for the continued success of U.S. companies in the $1 trillion dollar Korean economy.  Our members emphasized that they compete head-to-head with European companies here, and once the Korea-EU FTA goes into effect on July 1, European companies will have a significant cost advantage over their U.S. competitors.  In addition, companies in the Congressional districts of the Members who accompanied the Secretary noted that they are already looking at changes in their supply chains as a result of the Korea-EU and KORUS FTAs.  If KORUS goes into effect soon, this could mean significant increase in sourcing from U.S. suppliers.

Secretary Locke and Congressional Delegation Met With Korean President Lee to Discuss U.S.-Korea Commercial Relationship

Locke and Lee discussed mutual benefits of U.S.-Korea trade agreement

Today, Secretary Gary Locke and members of Congress met with the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-Bak at the Blue House. Locke, who is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to build support for the passage of the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS), reinforced the importance of the bilateral commercial relationship as part of the two countries’ historic alliance and emphasized the importance of KORUS in spurring economic growth in both the U.S. and Korea.

“Korea is a vital ally, a strong friend, and an important economic partner,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “KORUS is a win-win for both the U.S. and Korea. This agreement will strengthen our partnership and take it to the next level, by lowering tariffs and creating a more level playing field for businesses in both countries.”

The congressional delegation consists of four members from the U.S. House of Representatives – Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and David Reichert (R-WA).

Locke and the delegation discussed the benefits of KORUS for both the U.S. and Korea in productive bilateral meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-Hwan and Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon. Earlier in the day, they met with the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, as well as top Korean business executives.  Locke and the delegation also met with a diverse group of Korean university students over afternoon tea where they had an in-depth discussion about the youth perspective on KORUS and how various elements of the agreement will benefit the economic future of both countries.  They talked about Korea’s impressive economic growth and its emerging economic leadership in the region and the world.

Secretary Locke Kicks Off CODEL to Korea

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke.

This week, I’m visiting the Republic of Korea, one of the United States’ closest allies in the world, and one of our most important trading partners.  Last December, President Obama signed a landmark trade deal with Korea that could boost annual exports of American goods to Korea by up to $11 billion, supporting at least 70,000 U.S. jobs.

But the deal still needs to pass Congress, which is why this week, I’m leading four Members of Congress on a fact-finding mission that will demonstrate firsthand how this trade deal will lead directly to more sales of American goods and services abroad and more American jobs here at home.

Korean and U.S. businesses are already collaborating, innovating and trading together like never before.  This week, members of our bipartisan delegation – which includes Representatives Dave Reichert and Jim McDermott from my home state of Washington and Representatives Joseph Crowley and Charles Rangel from New York – are getting to see this up close.

Tomorrow, we visit Pantech, one of Korea’s largest mobile phone makers, and a major buyer of U.S. technology. 

4th Annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards at the Department of Commerce

The winning team from NIST. From left to right:  Brian Dougherty (NIST), Dennis Campbell (NIST), Frederick Stephens (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer), Daniel Gilmore (NIST), Stella Fiotes (NIST Chief Facilities Management Officer), and Jatin Patel (NIST).

The Department of Commerce celebrated Earth Day this week with its 4th annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards ceremony.  The department’s Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards honor outstanding efforts in promoting environmental stewardship and energy conservation across the department.  This year there were six winning teams:

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, honored for sourcing more than five percent of its energy from renewable sources in FY10;

  • The Herbert C. Hoover Building Green Team, honored for implementing a toner cartridge recycling and reuse program whose savings are estimated at $50,000 annually;

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service’s Coastal Services Center in Charleston, S.C., honored for installing an innovative rainwater harvesting system to redirect stormwater from roofs into native planting beds and a rain garden;

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, honored for reducing use and increasing recycling of toxic chemicals;

  • Members of the department’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan development team, honored for their success in drafting the department’s first Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan and establishing a dedicated sustainability communication network at Commerce;

  • And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, honored for implementing a suite of projects ranging from the installation of innovative solar power technologies to the selection of alternative products for vessel maintenance that together have significantly reduced grid energy consumption, water consumption, and fleet petroleum use.  

The department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer, Fred Stephens, presented the awards to the winning teams during the Herbert C. Hoover Building’s Earth Day fair on April 20, 2011.  Congratulations to the winners! 

Earth Day Stats from the U.S. Department of Commerce

Wind turbines on a wind farm (DIS photo)

In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau has pulled together a sampling of green data on green initiatives being taken to protect the environment.

According to the American Community Survey (5-year estimates):

  • 0.5% of Americans bike to and from work. More men bike to work than women (0.7% vs. 0.3%).
  • 10.5% of U.S. residents carpool to work. Men are more likely to carpool than women (11% vs. 10%).
  • 5% of U.S. residents take public transportation to work. Women are more likely to take public transportation (5.4% vs. 4.6%).
  • About 36,000 households in the United States rely on solar energy to heat their homes.

In 2009, according to data from the American Community Survey, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area led in the nation in the percentage of workers who used public transportation at 30.5%, followed by the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area, at 14.6%.

The Census Bureau’s 2011 Statistical Abstract is an excellent source for additional green stats, including on solar and renewable energy (PDF), emissions from power generation, air quality, threatened and endangered wildlife and plant species, and emissions of greenhouse gases by type and source (PDF).

A 'Coming of Age' Event for Local Social and Economic Statistical Information

Director Groves on podium

Guest blog post by Robert M. Groves, Director, U.S. Census Bureau

Very recently the Census Bureau gave to the country the fully-evolved set of statistical information based on the American Community Survey – social and economic characteristics for thousands of communities across the country.

While this was a big deal for us data geeks at the Census Bureau, it marked the beginning of annual estimates for small communities and neighborhoods throughout the country.  Each year, each community throughout the country will get small area estimates of the occupational and industrial sector distribution, commuting patterns to work, health insurance status, disability status, wage levels, school attendance, non-English language spoken, military veteran status, housing structures, fuel use for health, housing costs, and citizenship status.

Commerce's NTIA Showcases Broadband Stimulus Success Story

Deputy Assistant Secretary Gomez Addresses Importance of Broadband

Guest blog post by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez

Earlier this month, I saw firsthand the benefits of our sustainable broadband adoption projects when I attended a graduation ceremony in D.C.  Byte Back, a BTOP grantee partner, held a ceremony for adults who completed computer and jobs-skills training courses. At the graduation, I met students who showed me how these courses are enabling them to cross the digital divide and open doors to new opportunities.

One of the graduating students was a mother who had to seek out her teenage daughter’s help in order to pass the course. Another graduate was a senior who came to the program when her computer broke. She enjoyed the courses so much that she is now a volunteer with the program, helping to teach other seniors valuable computer skills that can help them stay informed and connected. Several others were already finding ways to put their new skills to work and had lined up job opportunities.

NOAA: All Federal Waters of the Gulf Once Closed to Fishing Due to Spill Now Open

NOAA map: Tuesday, April 19, 2011: The last area in federal waters closed to fishing due to the oil spill reopens (

More than 1,000 square miles opened today

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today reopened to commercial and recreational fishing 1,041 square miles of Gulf waters immediately surrounding the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, just east of Louisiana. This is the twelfth and final reopening in federal waters since July 22, and opens all of the areas in Federal waters formerly closed to fishing due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

This reopening was announced after consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and under a reopening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states.

“I am pleased to announce that all federal waters affected by the spill are now open to all fishing,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “I thank fishermen and the public for their patience and FDA for its support and cooperation throughout this process while we worked diligently to ensure the integrity of Gulf seafood.”

NOAA sampled this area between November 11 and November 14, 2010, March 12 and March 16, 2011, and March 28 and April 1, 2011, for potentially affected finfish, including tuna, swordfish, and escolar.  Read more in NOAA press release

U.S. Department of Commerce Releases Benchmarks for Energy and Sustainability Goals

Green Arrows Symbolizing Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce released – for the first time – its fiscal year 2010 scorecard on sustainability and energy performance (PDF) to track progress in achieving the goals of its Sustainability Plan. Using this scorecard as a benchmark, the department will identify and track the best opportunities to reduce pollution, improve efficiency and cut costs before updating its plan in June.

The sustainability scorecard serves as an important tool to help the department identify targets for reducing waste and increasing efficiency. In 2010, the Commerce Department was on track to meet its goals for increasing renewable energy use and decreasing its fleet petroleum and potable water use. Compared with 2005, the department has reduced its fleet petroleum use by 18.4 percent; and since 2007, has reduced its potable water use by 20.3 percent.

Innovative green initiatives are being implemented across Commerce’s bureaus. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, for example, is installing a vehicle charging station for hybrid vehicles at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus. Along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NIST is also installing solar panels to increase its renewable energy use. At Commerce headquarters, the department participates in a multi-year green power purchase agreement to meet part of the building’s electrical energy needs.


Eating at California Pizza Kitchen in Mumbai

Assistant Secretary Nicole Lamb-Hale with the Entire Delegation

Fifteen globally recognized U.S. companies introduced their products and services to three of India’s major metropolitan markets during the Department of Commerce’s first-ever franchising trade mission to India. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale led the mission which included stops in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi, April 10-15.

Among other stops, Lamb-Hale and the U.S. delegation visited a California Pizza Kitchen in Mumbai to highlight the success of current American brands in India. She also celebrated the opening of the 200th Subway® franchise in India.

Mission participants completed more than 300 individual meetings with prospective investors, and public and private sector officials to explore the environment for their franchises. The franchise market in India has the potential to grow to $20 billion by 2020. Franchising in India is growing at an impressive rate of approximately 30 percent per year. Presently, there are 1,200 franchisors in India, of which 25 percent are of international origin, with U.S. companies the most prevalent. Learn more about the franchising trade mission to India.

National Identity Strategy Envisions a More Trustworthy Internet

Leslie Harris, President and CEO of CDT, testifying before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection on the need for a baseline consumer privacy bill.

Guest blog post by Leslie Harris, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Today the Administration released an ambitious, long-term strategy document called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). The Strategy puts forth a vision where individuals can choose to use a smaller number of secure, privacy-preserving, and convenient online identities. This would be a shift away from today’s norm of numerous usernames, passwords, and online accounts scattered across the Web.

Importantly, the Administration has turned to the private sector to make this vision a reality. The Strategy is not a national ID program—in fact, it’s not an ID “program” at all. It is a call for leadership and innovation from private companies. The government’s role must now be to advocate for its citizens and to support the development of a fair and useful system.

Why should the American people care about a “strategy” for Internet identity?

First, a growing number of our Internet transactions require an identity. We’re continually prompted to create new accounts to participate in online social networking, shopping, banking, and forums. Most of us have no idea how our identifying information will be used or shared. It certainly doesn’t help that we have to offer a fresh set of information to every new service that comes along. Without a new approach, this trend will continue. We deserve better control over our identity and stronger assurances that it will not be misused. Innovation isn’t slowing down; we have to catch up.

Administration Launches National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace

Panelists (Photo: Peter Cutts Photography)

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was joined today at by Chair of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt to release the administration’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) – a White House initiative to improve online security, increase privacy and foster economic growth and innovation online. Hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the event included a panel discussion with industry leaders and privacy advocates, as well as demonstrations of innovative smart technologies being developed to improve online authentication. 

NSTIC is a key building block in the national effort to secure cyberspace. According to industry surveys, as many as eight million Americans are victims of online fraud and identity theft each year and lose an average of $631 out-of-pocket per incident. Through a private sector-led effort facilitated by the government, NSTIC aims to make online transactions more trustworthy and enhance consumers’ privacy, thereby giving businesses and consumers more confidence to conduct business online.  The webcast will be available on-demand at a later date.  |  White House press release and fact sheet

NOAA: Earth Had 13th-Warmest March on Record

Graphic of March temperatures

The Earth experienced the 13th-warmest March since record keeping began in 1880, as the climate phenomenon La Niña continued to be a significant factor. The annual maximum Arctic sea ice extent was reached on March 7 and tied with 2006 as the smallest annual maximum extent since record keeping began in 1979. The monthly analysis is from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. 

Scientists, researchers and leaders in government and industry use NOAA’s monthly analyses to help track trends and other changes in the world's climate. This climate service has a wide range of practical uses, from helping farmers know what and when to plant, to guiding resource managers with critical decisions about water, energy and other vital assets.  Read more of today's report

NIST Zeroes In On Energy Consumption of Ice Makers

Image of refrigerator freezer

In tests of four different types of new refrigerators, Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers found that ice makers increased rated energy consumption by 12 to 20 percent. About three-fourths of that additional energy cost is due to the electric heaters used to release the ice bits from the molds.

With only one-fourth of the extra energy actually used to cool and freeze water, "there are substantial opportunities for efficiency improvements merely by optimizing the operations of the heaters associated with the ice makers" or by introducing a more efficient alternative technology, report NIST mechanical engineer David Yashar and guest researcher Ki-Jung Park.

Since refrigerators account for 8 percent of the total energy consumed by 111 million U.S. households according to the Department of Energy (DOE), the potential savings are significant.  Read more

Secretary Locke Tours Rexnord Industries and Addresses Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce

Secretary Locke Inspects a Rexnord Industries Product

Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Milwaukee, Wisc., today and delivered the keynote address to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, discussing the Obama administration’s strategy to spur job creation, promote innovation and energy independence, help businesses succeed, and position America to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition.

Earlier in the day, Locke toured Rexnord Industries, a leading manufacturer of process and motion control and water management products with operations and associates worldwide, and highlighted the importance of exports to strengthening the economic recovery.  He also hosted a roundtable discussion with local small- and medium-sized businesses to hear directly from them about the challenges they are facing and their ideas to encourage the recovery.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Locke at today’s events.

Secretary Gary Locke Takes Nationwide New Markets, New Jobs Tour to New Orleans to Help Small Businesses Export

Locke, Van de Werken and Landrieu

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to New Orleans, La. today for the third stop of New Markets, New Jobs: The National Export Initiative Small Business Outreach Tour. Locke was joined by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Export-Import Bank Board Member Diane Farrell.

Locke delivered keynote remarks at the event, where he spoke about the administration’s efforts to support President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports in five years in support of several million new jobs. The NEI enhances the U.S. government’s trade promotion efforts, increases credit to businesses looking to export, and continues to improve efforts to remove trade barriers for U.S. companies in foreign markets.

Locke also announced the department’s CommerceConnect Gulf Coast initiative to support economic development following the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and highlighted a forthcoming announcement from the Department’s Economic Development Administration of grants to the region totaling $1.85 million. Cross-trained CommerceConnect staff – in collaboration with state and local partners – can assist Gulf Coast businesses no matter where they are in their life cycle, whether just getting off the ground or looking to expand into overseas markets, providing a one-stop connection to business assistance that can help firms compete in the global economy. 

Commerce Department Wraps Up Trade & Investment Program to Hannover, Germany with Promising Business Leads for Participating Economic Development Organizations

Guest Blog Post by Brian McGowan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

I’m excited to report that it was a very productive and successful five days for the 21 organizations that joined the U.S. Department of Commerce last week for an exciting exporting opportunity. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)/International Trade Administration (ITA) Trade & Investment Program to Hannover Messe 2011 ended on Friday with promising leads for U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) pursuing potential foreign investors and trading partners.

The program is the product of a unique partnership formed by EDA and ITA and its U.S. Commercial Service (USCS) and Invest In America (IIA) programs. This type of interagency collaboration is very important as we work together to increase the global competitiveness of America’s regions. The mission aimed to promote the Obama Administration's National Export Initiative (NEI) and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the United States. 

In total, our participating EDO’s held more than 400 meetings with potential foreign investors.  These connections are the first step in building relationships that can support regional growth and help create new jobs here at home.

Commerce's NTIA Urges Businesses to Prepare to Transition to IPv6, Announces Release of "Readiness Tool"

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today urged businesses to prepare for the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), an updated Internet addressing system, with the release of a new "IPv6 Readiness Tool."

All devices that connect to the Internet, such as computers, smartphones, and smart grid technologies, require an Internet Protocol (IP) address.  IPv6 is designed to expand the number of IP addresses available because the current number of Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) addresses will eventually exhaust. While industry action and planning are needed, consumers do not need to take action to prepare for the IPv6 transition.

The new tool, a comprehensive checklist for businesses preparing to deploy and adopt IPv6, was developed by experts from industry and the Internet technical community in response to a call from White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra at an IPv6 workshop hosted by NTIA last September. 

"The IPv6 transition will pave the way for a next-generation Internet," said White House CTO Aneesh Chopra. "I urge all U.S. businesses that depend on the Internet to make the IPv6 transition a priority by starting the planning process now."

The planning tool outlines IPv6 preparedness issues, such as the technical needs associated with deployment. The purpose of the tool is to help business leaders identify readiness issues and to bring these issues to the attention of senior corporate management to ensure successful IPv6 deployment and accelerated innovation.

"The development of this tool demonstrates the value of bringing together stakeholders to address today's pressing Internet issues," said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. "The IPv6 transition is critical to the continued growth of the Internet, an engine for facilitating commerce and economic growth. We will continue to highlight the importance of this issue and encourage companies to share best practices to further IPv6 uptake."

The IPv6 readiness tool and further IPv6 resources can be found here.

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.


NIST Cloud Computing Conference Covers Cloud’s Global View, Working Group Results

Kundra and Marcus, seated

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is holding the Cloud Computing Forum and Workshop III on April 7-8 at its Gaithersburg, Md., campus.  At this morning's keynote, the theme was “A Global View of Cloud Computing” and it featured a discussion between U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Alan Marcus, the Senior Director, Head of IT and Telecommunications Industries, World Economic Forum USA.

Kundra has called upon NIST to help accelerate the federal government’s adoption of secure cloud computing practices by leading efforts to develop standards and guidelines in collaboration with standards bodies, the private sector, other government agencies and other stakeholders.

Working groups that were formed during the NIST Cloud Computing Forum & Workshop II in November 2010 will provide progress reports on a range of cloud computing issues throughout the meeting.

NIST scientists are demonstrating Koala, a simulator of a cloud service model. They are using modeling and analysis methods developed to study complex systems to understand the behavior of a cloud during both normal and highly stressed operations. A panel on Friday, April 8, “Cloud Innovation: Math and Science,” will explore innovative uses of the cloud and how it can be leveraged in the scientific process.

Learn more about NIST’s cloud computing initiative.

Safeguarding 21st Century Innovation

Stanek Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Guest blog post by Teresa Stanek Rea who is Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The economic security and vitality of the United States has always been deeply rooted in American innovation. Time and time again, the story of our growth has been written by the daring drive of entrepreneurs, willing to roll the dice on a great idea. Today, I had the privilege to hear from a group of such bold thinkers in Minneapolis, Minn., and I learned that instrumental to 21st century growth is a 21st century infrastructure that readily allows small businesses to protect their ideas and move them to the marketplace swiftly and cost-effectively.

That’s why the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been working diligently with the White House to build a stronger, more efficient patent system.

Census Bureau Releases New Data on Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released new data on Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners. The number of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in the United States increased 31.1 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 37,957 businesses. These firms generated $6.5 billion in receipts in 2007, a 51.6 percent increase from 2002. This compares to a 17.9-percent increase in the total number of U.S. businesses between 2002 and 2007 and a rise in total business receipts of 32.9 percent.

The Survey of Business Owners: Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses: 2007 provides data on the number and percent of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses, sales and receipts at the national, state and local levels, as well as other detailed information. The survey is conducted every five years as part of the economic census. The 2007 survey collected data from a sample of more than 2.3 million businesses.

“This important look at the economic activity of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses is the only comprehensive and regularly collected data on this group,” said Tom Mesenbourg, deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “These data confirm that businesses owned by Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders continue to grow both in number and in sales at rates that are faster than national rates for all businesses.”

States with the highest number of Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses were Hawaii, with 11,383 firms (30.0 percent of all Native Hawaiian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses nationwide), and California, with 9,255 firms (24.4 percent of all Native Hawaiian- and Pacific Islander-owned businesses nationwide).

For more results from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners, visit

Hannover Messe 2011, Why We're Here

Trevor Hamilton, Vice President of Economic Development & Chief Economic Development Officer, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Michael M. Philpot, Executive Director, West Tennessee Industrial Association, Jackson, Tennessee talk about the EDA/ITA Trade and Investment Program to Hannover, Germany. Hamilton and Philpot are both economic developers attending Hannover Messe 2011 to look for investment opportunities for their regions. By participating in a trade show as globally significant as Hannover Messe, with the help of the Trade and Investment Program, they are able to promote their communities to foreign markets in a way that they couldn't with their normal resources. 

The Southwest Border Is Open for Business

El Paso now has one of the lowest crime rates among big American cities.

Posted by Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary Gary Locke

This op-ed appeared in The Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2011

Over the last few weeks, mayors, sheriffs, business leaders and citizens have joined together with a simple but powerful message: America's Southwest border communities are open for business. This is a message the American people need to hear.

Unfortunately, there is a widespread misperception that the Southwest is wracked by violence spilling over from Mexico's ongoing drug war. The facts tell a different story. Some of America's safest communities are in the Southwest border region, with crime rates in cities along the border staying steady or dropping over the past decade. For example, the crime rate in Tucson, Ariz., fell 15% between 2008 and 2009 and 21% in Brownsville, Texas, over the same period.

In the last two years, the Obama administration has made historic deployments of manpower, technology and infrastructure to help secure our Southwest border. These efforts—along with the heroic work of our Border Patrol agents—are paying off.

Between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 81% more currency, 25% more drugs, and 47% more weapons along the Southwest border than they did between fiscal years 2007 and 2008. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens—the best indicator of illegal immigration—have dropped by 36% over the past two years to less than a third of its all-time high.

Economic Development Organizations from Across the Nation Work to Create New Jobs at Hannover Messe 2011

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan open the Invest in America Pavilion at Hannover Messe 2011.

Guest Blog Post by Brian McGowan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

21 Economic Development Organization’s (EDOs) from across the nation are working today to create new jobs in their regions by participating in the U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011, the world's largest industrial technology showcase. The event runs from April 4-8, 2011 in Hannover, Germany.

The purpose of the program is to promote the Obama administration's National Export Initiative (NEI) as well as to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the U.S. By leading regional business clusters abroad, the Department of Commerce is aiding communities in promoting their regions as ideal locations to do business.

The program is the product of a unique partnership formed by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Commercial Service (USCS), and Invest In America (IIA) programs. 

Easter Egg on to Celebrate April's Arrival

Basket of Easter Eggs

To celebrate the first day of April, has a hidden Easter egg. Uncovering this surprise shouldn’t be too hard for anyone who played Contra on the original NES. (hint: up, up, down, down…)

Because our website is built upon the open-source platform Drupal, we are able to take advantage of the work of others to improve our website like our photo slideshow and commenting features at no cost to taxpayers. That even includes whimsical “improvements” like today’s Easter Egg. We used this Drupal module (warning: spoiler) to implement the game JavaScript.

The Easter egg code works on any page, so take a tour while you are playing the game.

The Easter egg will only be available on Friday, April 1, so start looking for that Easter egg now.

Let us know your high score in the comments and what you'd like to see more of on