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Blog Category: Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit Off to a Roaring Start

Secretary Pritzker welcomes President Barack Obama to the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit

With more than 2,600 people from more than 70 markets, and economic development organizations from all corners of the United States, the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit has record attendance. In fact, it is more than twice as large as the inaugural 2013 event and reflects growing global interest in the United States as a place to launch and expand operations, invest in research and development, and create jobs.

Day One of the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit just concluded and what an exciting day it was. We were honored to have President Obama speak and announce some new initiatives to make investing and expanding within the United States even easier.

He announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will increase clarity around the adjudication of the L-1B non-immigrant visa that allows international companies to temporarily deploy workers with specialized knowledge to the United States when launching or conducting operations here. This long-anticipated policy guidance is of particular interest to global companies participating in today's SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will establish the first-ever federal advisory committee to solicit formal input on the development and implementation of strategies and programs to attract and retain foreign direct investment in the United States.

Finally, SelectUSA will continue to improve investment tools, enhance trainings for investors, and expand partnerships with state economic development organizations. A new partnership platform will improve state-federal coordination, inform SelectUSA services and programs, and promote high standards in investment-promotion activities across the country.

Innovation and Software are the Reasons to Select the USA

Eric A. Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens USA

Guest blog post by Eric A. Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens USA

Today, as part of the Select USA Investment Summit, I had the honor of joining an impressive group of business leaders, international investors and experts for an in-depth conversation about how innovation and R&D is helping to fuel private sector investment, and why the United States is poised for tremendous growth. 

I’d like to applaud U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker for bringing together more than 2,500 participants representing 60 countries, drawing international attention to the U.S. as a premier country to invest in at such an optimal time.  International companies representing countries from around the globe, such as Germany, contribute largely to Federal Direct Investment (FDI) and find the U.S. an attractive place to invest.  And Siemens does too.

To give you a little bit of background, Siemens is one of the world’s oldest and biggest companies.  Having been in the U.S. for over 150 years, we currently employ nearly 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  We have more than 70 manufacturing sites in the U.S. and invest more than $1 billion annually in R&D here. 

The U.S. has become an innovation engine for Siemens.  It is not only our largest market, but is also an extremely vital production location, one of our most important research centers and a key base from which we export to the rest of the world.  Siemens has invested over $35 billion in America over the past decade, including over $10 billion in the past year alone.

So why invest in the U.S.?  As a global company, when we are looking for a new location to invest or to manufacture, we consider many factors and there are several which are unique to the U.S. market, giving it a leg up on the competition.

  1. Strong ecosystem for innovation and R&D
  2. World-class colleges and universities
  3. Leadership in software and the digital economy

It’s clear that the primary trait that sets the U.S. apart as a unique and unrivaled place to invest is an undeniable spirit of innovation. The U.S. has an environment of innovation, collaboration and talent that is unmatched anywhere in the world. 

International Trade Agreements Are Vital to Wisconsin Firm’s Continued Growth

International Trade Agreements Are Vital to Wisconsin Firm’s Continued Growth

Guest Blog Post by Jim Corkery, President of ACS

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and several US Senators and Representatives to talk about global trade. I strongly support the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation and want to share my views on how ACS has directly benefited from global trade.

We are an organization offering engineering, equipment fabrication and construction management solutions to companies who develop and test engines and vehicles for worldwide distribution. Our office employees are highly skilled college graduates, most with engineering and advanced engineering degrees, and our manufacturing employees have specialized skilled trades expertise.  Although we have fewer than 150 employees, the global nature of business today means we have offices in Wisconsin, Michigan and South Carolina as well as in the UK and China.   Getting the rules of international trade right is not just theory for my company; it will help accelerate our growth.

The first way we benefit from global trade is when our US-based clients develop products for sale globally – we benefit through contracts to design and construct our clients’ R&D/Manufacturing centers here in the U.S.  These opportunities allow ACS to hire more engineering, manufacturing and support employees to accomplish this work. For example, we recently contracted with Cummins to design and build their R&D and Manufacturing test facilities for a new High Horsepower engine to be designed and manufactured in Seymour, Indiana. This facility serves as the global headquarters for the design and manufacture of this new engine with exports forecasted to be 80% of overall sales.

We have also had opportunities to design and construct international R&D/Manufacturing centers for our US-based clients. Typically we provide preliminary design in the US and then travel to the project countries to oversee final design and construction by local designers and contractors. We have designed and built laboratories for Caterpillar in the US, England, Northern Ireland and China, for Whirlpool in the US, Mexico, Poland and China, for John Deere in the US and Mexico, and for Cummins in the US, England, Romania and China.

SelectUSA Works for Puerto Rico

Alejandro J. García-Padilla, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Guest blog post by Alejandro J. García-Padilla, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Almost a year after we announced that Lufthansa Technik would establish an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Puerto Rico, we are getting ready to celebrate the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

With an estimated economic impact of $2.2 billion over a 30-year period, Lufthansa Technik’s decision to establish an MRO site in Puerto Rico is a major strategic advancement for the Commonwealth’s economic development plan. The facility is well under construction and has secured JetBlue and Spirit Airlines as customers. The MRO is expected to begin servicing customers later this year.

Since I took office in January 2013, I have sought to diversify Puerto Rico’s economy by attracting foreign direct investment like Lufthansa Technik, a leading manufacturer and independent provider of technical services for the aviation industry.

And make no mistake, investing in Puerto Rico is investing in the United States. That is why, with the help of the Commerce Department’s Select USA program, we sought out Lufthansa Technik to create jobs that capitalize on the highly skilled workforce that our Island’s university system trains.

The MRO facility is helping to grow Puerto Rico’s aerospace and aviation industry, create high-skilled jobs, and stimulate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. By 2016, up to 400 highly skilled workers will be employed there. Puerto Rico now has the infrastructure to train new aircraft mechanics, with the brand new Aerospace and Aviation Institute of Puerto Rico under development.

This deal was just the beginning of an exciting partnership between Puerto Rico and SelectUSA.  The Lufthansa Technik site is causing a positive ripple effect in the economy, spurring the growth of MRO suppliers.

I also recently announced that business technology consulting firm Infosys BPO will open a new center in Puerto Rico to serve the Island’s growing aviation sector. This investment is another example of foreign direct investment brought on by the ripple effects of the Lufthansa MRO. Infosys will utilize this new center to deliver complex order-to-cash business processes for clients in the aviation industry and create over 200 jobs. The company is looking to further expand its footprint in the region to service clients in the federal government sector and the healthcare industry.

I commend the work of President Obama’s Administration, which was instrumental in bringing Lufthansa Technik to the United States and creating hundreds of well paid jobs in Puerto Rico. I also express my deep gratitude to Vice President Biden, Secretary Pritzker and the SelectUSA Program for making these investments a reality.

The investment from Lufthansa Technik and its impact in the economy are proof that SelectUSA works. We look forward to a long partnership with SelectUSA.  

SelectUSA 2015 Investment Summit Highlighting United States As Premier Investment Destination

There is no time like the present to invest in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is rated #1 in the latest A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index for the second year in a row, with the highest net positive rating in the index’s 16-year history. 

With an incredibly attractive consumer market, a thriving culture of innovation, and the most productive workforce, the U.S. has shown itself to be an economic powerhouse. Companies of all sizes – big or small, startup or multinational– can benefit from the ideas, resources, and markets the U.S. offers in order to become a globally competitive nation. Because of these reasons, the U.S. proudly welcomes international investment. 

When deciding to invest in the U.S., firms can look at five factors: 

  1. Market: The U.S. is home to the most attractive consumer market and serves as a competitive export hub to the rest of the world. Free trade agreements with 20 nations give U.S.-based exporters better access to markets with more potential consumers.
  2. Economic Growth: During 2013 to 2014, Real GDP grew at a 2.8 percent annual pace. The private sector successfully expands with the longest streak on record for job growth.
  3. Business-Friendly Environment: The U.S. offers a transparent, fair and stable business environment and thriving capital markets to support developing companies.
  4. Innovation: As a world leader in research and development (R&D) and intellectual property protection, the U.S. provides a productive environment for innovation. Firms can improve their competitiveness by associating with research institutions and employing leading-edge manufacturing techniques.
  5. Resources: There is a manufacturing renaissance occurring due to the diversified resources, low cost energy and a well-educated workforce. 

These compelling factors and more will be on display at the 2015 SelectUSA Summit next week.   The two-day Summit, March 23-24, is the premier event for those considering an investment. The event will feature nearly 600 representatives from nearly every state and territory, providing ample opportunity for investors to find the information needed to make investment decisions and connect with the right people at the domestic level. Many states, territories, cities, and regions are also hosting booths in the Summit exhibition hall to connect directly with investors.

All year round, SelectUSA coordinates federal agencies to address investor concerns relating to federal regulations. This year, representatives from 20 federal agencies will be on-site at a U.S. Government Pavilion in the Summit exhibition hall to meet face to face with investors, as well as state and local representatives. 

The Summit is at capacity with more than 2,600 people registered from more than 70 markets, doubling the size of the inaugural event in 2013. President Barack Obama will give the keynote address on the first day.  Other Administration officials delivering remarks include Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. Some of the world's top CEOs will be there to discuss the advantages of investing in America and the jobs it creates. Among the executives speaking at the event will be Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, and David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, the world’s largest equity firm.

MBDA Expands Economic Footprint of Minority Businesses—Strengthening the Economy

Guest blog post by Carmen West, MBDA Business Development Specialist

For over 45 years MBDA has been working aggressively to expand the economic footprint of minority business enterprises, also known as MBEs.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners, these MBE firms contributed $1 trillion in total economic output and employed nearly six million Americans. These findings highlight that the economic contribution of these firms has a significant impact on the national economy.

MBDA helps firms to realize their full economic potential through technical assistance, public and private contracting opportunities, advocacy, research and education, and by serving as a strategic partner for growth and development. MBDA is the only Federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of our nation's 5.8 million minority businesses.

Since 2009, MBDA has assisted clients in accessing nearly $26 billion in contracts and capital, while helping them create and retain more than 60,000 jobs.  The bulk of this work is accomplished through our nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers.  Each center provides businesses with services to assist them in accessing capital, contracts, and new markets, as well as helping them to grow in size and scale.

Access to Capital

In 2014 MBDA created a new access to capital team to introduce our clients to alternative capital sources.  This work has been two-fold:  to educate clients and firms about the types of alternative financing available and to advocate on their behalf with the kind of resource partners that minority owned firms lack access to: venture capitalists, angel investors, mergers and acquisitions firms, and internet based platforms. 

Increasing Exporting

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently issued a report showing that U.S. goods and services exports supported more than 11.7 million jobs in 2014 - a new record. The new data showed that exports strengthen our economy and create good jobs, paying up to 18 percent more than non-export related positions.  In partnership with Ex-Im Bank nine MBDA Business Centers became loan originators for Global Credit Express offering short-term working capital loans to small business exporters.  Our work with exporting initiatives like Look South and Doing Business in Africa, has resulted in an increase in client requests for assistance with exporting, which showcases another way MBEs are helping to strengthen the U.S. economy.

To learn more about how MBDA works with U.S. companies in creating economic growth and recovery, visit www.mbda.gov.

Secretary Pritzker Addresses Importance of Data to the Digital Economy and Announces Major Growth in Data Jobs Over Last Decade

Secretary Pritzker Addresses Importance of Data to the Digital Economy and Announces Major Growth in Data Jobs Over Last Decade

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today participated in three separate events at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas underscoring the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses to the economy. During her SXSW events, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how the U.S. Commerce Department invests in innovation, supports the digital economy and is helping provide American businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow and hire.

Secretary Pritzker began the day by participating in a roundtable with business incubators, tenant startups and other startup stakeholders at the headquarters of RideScout, a smartphone app created to increase transportation efficiency. During the roundtable she listened to local business leaders and startups describe what the future of business incubation will look like, and the kind of investments and support they will need to successfully spin-out new companies. She was joined at the roundtable by the Department’s newly hired, first-ever Chief Data Officer Ian Kalin. Secretary Pritzker appointed Kalin to this role to help unleash more of the Commerce Department’s data to strengthen the nation’s economic growth. The new Chief Data Officer will work to make Commerce data easier to access, understand, and use, while also ensuring we maximize the return of data investments for businesses, entrepreneurs, government, taxpayers, and communities.

Following the roundtable, Secretary Pritzker participated in an armchair discussion entitled “Move Fast, Government, or Get Out the Way.” Before beginning the discussion Secretary Pritzker took a few moments to swear in Michelle K. Lee, as the new Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Lee is the first woman to hold this position in the more than 200 year history of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After the swearing in ceremony, Secretary Pritzker participated in the armchair discussion with DailyMail.com CEO John Steinberg. They discussed the importance of data to the U.S. economy and Secretary Pritzker also used the opportunity to announce the findings of a new Commerce Department report highlighting the importance of data jobs to the U.S. economy and the huge growth in these high-paying jobs over the past decade.  During the event, she also stressed the importance of re-tooling the patent system to adapt to the rate and pace of technology and fuel, not slow, innovation. 

Working to Strengthen Economic Relationship, Secretary Pritzker Concludes Commercial Diplomacy Trip to Pakistan

During her trip, Secretary Pritzker also held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited Islamabad, Pakistan this week as part of the Administration’s efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment with Pakistan and strengthen the partnership between our governments and people.

As part of her first official visit to the country, Secretary Pritzker joined Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to launch the first-ever U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week, a bilateral initiative intended to highlight the potential for growing the relationship between the United States and Pakistan. She thanked senior government officials for their dedication to improving the partnership and acknowledged that the economic relationship between the two countries has, over the years, buttressed the overall relationship and is still growing.

U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week included the third U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, an event intended to engage the private sector from both the United States and Pakistan, and strengthen business-to-business ties.

Secretary Pritzker opened the Business Opportunities Conference on Tuesday. Addressing an audience of more than 400 people, many attending from overseas, the Secretary applauded the work being done by the Pakistani and American private sector companies represented. She commended them for engaging with government agencies seeking to improve Pakistan’s business and investment climate and called on them to continue their efforts to expand trade and investment between Pakistan and the United States.