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Blog Category: Business

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Discusses "Open for Business Agenda" at Lake Shore Cryotronics in Ohio

Pritzker touring plant with Lakeshore Cryotronics officials

Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Westerville, Ohio yesterday to deliver a speech highlighting the Obama Administration’s economic growth agenda and the Department of Commerce’s priorities. Secretary Pritzker announced a new strategic vision for the Department, the “Open for Business Agenda,” November 14.  In Ohio, Secretary Pritzker toured and delivered remarks at Lake Shore Cryotronics, an international leader in the development of cryogenic temperature sensors and instrumentation.

Promoting trade and investment is a major part of Secretary Pritzker’s “Open for Business Agenda.” Nationwide, America’s businesses are exporting: the United States hit a record $2.2 trillion dollars in exports last year, up $600 billion dollars from 2009 when President Obama launched his National Export Initiative. Lake Shore Cryotronics, for example, generates 60 percent of sales from exports. Nearly 10 million U.S. jobs are now supported by exports, up 1.3 million since 2009. But the United States still under-exports, which is why the Secretary is gearing up to launch NEI 2.0, which will aim to help more U.S. companies sell their goods and services to more markets around the world.

In order to achieve greater economic growth and create more good jobs, Secretary Pritzker talked about the need to attract more foreign investment to the United States. According to Columbus 2020, an economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region, about 39,000 people in Central Ohio are employed by foreign-owned companies. But as of 2011, 5.6 million jobs nationwide million jobs are supported by foreign direct investment, supporting $437.8 billion in wages to U.S. employees. Global businesses want to be here in the United States because of our stable rule of law, intellectual property protections, solid financial markets, world-class universities, strong consumer base, and our low-cost and abundant energy. That is why President Obama launched SelectUSA at the Commerce Department in 2011. SelectUSA has been working with foreign CEOs and economic development groups across the country to put even more deals in the pipeline.

Secretary Pritzker Outlines Bold Policy Agenda Focused on U.S. Trade and Investment, Innovation, and Data

Secretary Pritzker Outlines Bold Policy Agenda Focused on U.S. Trade and Investment, Innovation, and Data

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today outlined a bold new policy agenda for the Department of Commerce, centered on U.S. trade and investment, innovation, and data.  This “Open for Business” Agenda reflects the department’s role as the voice of business, and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation. Additionally, this new vision recognizes the demands of a globally competitive economy.

Among the new initiatives Secretary Pritzker announced are a revitalized National Export Initiative, an enhanced and expanded program to attract foreign investment, a first-of-its-kind, Commerce effort to ensure skills training programs meet industry needs, and a focus on public-private partnerships that enable businesses and communities to make better use of government data.

Secretary Pritzker also committed to leading a robust environmental agenda at Commerce, and to ensuring that operational excellence and public accountability are top priorities of departmental leadership. 

Secretary Penny Pritzker Returns to Chicago for First Official Visit

Secretary Penny Pritzker Returns to Chicago for First Official Visit

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker returned to Chicago yesterday, making her first visit to her hometown in her official capacity as head of the Department.
Speaking at an event hosted by Google and World Business Chicago, a public-private partnership that seeks to foster private sector growth and jobs through the advancement of a business-friendly environment, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks and participated in a “fireside chat” with Chicago Tribune reporter Melissa Harris.

She focused on the Obama administration’s efforts to grow the economy and create jobs, as well as some of her top priorities going forward: the need to invest in infrastructure, help workers develop skills for 21st century jobs, reform the immigration system and support R&D and innovation.
As Secretary Pritzker noted, infrastructure is critical to the economy. Unfortunately, the United States has deferred trillions of dollars in infrastructure investment over the years. Under President Obama’s leadership, however, the United States has improved 350,000 miles of roads, 6,000 miles of rail, and 20,000 bridges. The Commerce Department has deployed more than 100,000 miles of broadband since 2009.

Exporting to Africa: The Success of the DBIA Campaign

President Obama and Senegal President Sall at press conference. Photo by White House, Pete Souza.

President Obama believes sub-Saharan Africa could be the world’s next major economic success story. That is why in June 2012, he issued the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF) to escalate the U.S. efforts to stimulate economic growth, trade, and investment in the region. One year later, the President is in Africa to highlight our success under this strategy.

A key component of the President’s strategy is the Doing Business in Africa (DBIA) Campaign, which was launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce in Johannesburg, South Africa last November. Its main objective is to bolster federal trade promotion and financing capabilities in order to help U.S. businesses obtain trade and investment opportunities. With these opportunities, the United States’ commercial relationship with Africa will continue to grow.  

Since its unveiling, Commerce has been working alongside other federal agencies to encourage U.S. companies–with a focus on small- and medium- sized businesses and African Diaspora-owned business–to trade and invest in the region. A little more than six months into the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, we wanted to share some of successes with you.

New, Innovative, Online Tool to Help Weigh Benefits of Economic Development Projects Using the Triple Bottom Line Model

Screenshot of Triple Bottom Line Tool website homepage

Guest blog post by Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Traditionally, the effectiveness of an economic development investment has been measured primarily by the number of jobs created and dollars leveraged. While critically important, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has partnered with Portland State University to create an innovative, web-based tool that takes into account a broader array of economic, environmental, and social impacts to more fully evaluate the potential impact of projects. This new Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Tool will help economic development practitioners, investors, and decision-makers assess, compare, and communicate the viability of potential investments.

While the TBL approach has been recognized as a valuable analytical tool among businesses—including major U.S. companies such as General Electric, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, among many others—it has not been widely applied or considered within the public sector or by the economic development profession. The new TBL Tool developed through EDA’s investment represents a significant step forward for expanding the application of the concept by planners, nonprofits, community organizations, and governments to help support the assessment and decision making of critical development decisions.

NIST: Baldrige Program Celebrates 25 Years of Performance Excellence

Logo: Baldrige Program Celebrates 25 Years of Performance Excellence

Not many 25-year-olds can boast that in their short lifetime they have helped thousands of organizations develop and maintain world-class operations, innovative management, efficient procedures, involved workforces and highly satisfied customers. But one certainly can: the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the nation's premier means for organizations of all types to seek, achieve and maintain performance excellence.

On August 20, 1987, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Act, establishing the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and its supporting program "to spark U.S. competitiveness and create a sustainable economy." Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award and the Baldrige Program have guided organizations worldwide on their journeys toward continuous improvement and enhanced performance through the seven Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence—leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results.

To celebrate its silver anniversary, the Baldrige Program has created a special Web page, "Honoring Our Past. . . Building an Even Better Future", that provides numerous links. See the full release

Acting Secretary Blank Participates in U.S.-Poland Business Summit in Warsaw, Poland

Acting Secretary Blank Participates in U.S.-Poland Business Summit in Warsaw, Poland

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak welcomed participants in the U.S.-Poland Business Summit and Business Roundtable in Warsaw yesterday. This important event fulfills an agreement made during President Obama’s visit to Poland last yearto bring together U.S. and Polish business and government leaders to identify and promote new commercial opportunities and strengthen and expand commercial relations between the two countries.
Blank and Pawlak co-chaired the Business Roundtable at an informal session with American and Polish businesses and government officials. They discussed increasing bilateral investment and expanding energy sector cooperation. In her remarks, Acting Secretary Blank called for more cooperation between the two countries to continue vital strides towards creating good paying jobs that will help both economies flourish.
In her remarks to the summit, Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank talked about increasing U.S.-Poland economic and commercial ties. She said that over the past ten years, U.S. bilateral trade with Poland has nearly quadrupled and today the U.S. is doing more than ever to link with the E.U.’s fastest growing economy. Complete Readout

Guest Blog Post: Commerce Comes to Your Town – Pittsburgh

Lyn Doverspike, Director of the Commercial Service Pittsburgh Office, Harlan Shober, Washington County Commissioner, Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez, Nate Nevela, District Field Director for U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy , Dennis Gray, Aquatech Vice President of Operations and R.Suresh Kumar, Vice President (Projects) Infrastructure – Major Projects.

Ed. note: Cross-posted from ITA Tradeology blog by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Yesterday I toured Aquatech International’s facility in Canonsburg, right outside of Pittsburgh. The company has been working with Commerce Department staff to export more of their products, and it was great to see up close the great work being done at their facilities.

Established in 1981, Aquatech is a global leader in water purification technology for the world’s industrial and infrastructure markets, with a focus on desalination, water reuse and zero liquid discharge. Aquatech is also a socially responsible company. Their products help to solve the problem of water scarcity abroad. They also help support numerous nonprofits that work to provide clean water to those without access to drinkable water.

Our visit to Aquatech is a part of wider Department of Commerce campaign, announced last month, called “Commerce Comes to Your Town.” Here at the International Trade Administration (ITA), we stand ready to provide American businesses the tools and resources they need to export their goods and services all around the globe, grow their businesses, and create more good-paying manufacturing jobs for Americans.

I can’t stress enough how important exports are for America’s economic future. Forty-one companies that successfully grew their exports recently received the President’s “E” Award during a ceremony at the White House. As part of “Commerce Comes to Your Town,” I’ve spoken in towns across the country and met with business leaders to get their input and spread our message. In fact, earlier in the day, I attended the TechBelt Export Summit in Youngstown, Ohio, where I was able to speak about how important exports are to that region.

$6 Million i6 Challenge to Spur High Growth Entrepreneurship and Expand Proof of Concept Centers

i6 Challenge logo

Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine

The Obama administration has unveiled several actions that are designed to speed up the growth of new, job-creating companies. Today, a new $6 million i6 Challenge, the third round of the national innovation competition, was announced. Six winning teams from around the country will get awards of up to $1 million this fall for innovative proposals to create and expand Proof of Concept Centers, such as the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Stevens Institute for Innovation at the University of Southern California.

Centers like these incorporate a range of services—such as technology and market evaluation, business planning and mentorship, and early-stage access to capital—that are critical to regional economic growth and job creation.

The i6 competition series has generated great momentum since it was first introduced as part of the roll-out of the White House’s Startup America initiative last year. Projects funded in 2010 and 2011 are already starting to show results.

Europe Travel Log: Secretary Bryson Travels to Paris, France

This week, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson visited Paris, France for the first leg of a European trip to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to lowering trade barriers and encouraging European businesses to invest in the U.S. In France, Bryson is meeting with several key members of the U.S. and French business communities, as well as with a minister in the new French government. These meetings focused on increasing French investment in the United States, supporting U.S. companies with operations in France, and learning about the new government’s economic policy plans.

On Monday, Secretary Bryson met with the leadership and key members of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in France to discuss investment and trade issues facing U.S. industry and to support U.S. company operations and interests in France. He also met with the leadership and key members of MEDEF, a major French business association, to highlight the attractiveness of the investment climate in the United States and learn about the successes, concerns and problems of current and potential investors. Bryson also took the opportunity to introduce French investors to SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.The Secretary later met with the head of the French export agency, UBI France, and the CEOs of three French small businesses that are entering the U.S. market.

Secretary Bryson Promotes American Businesses Across the Americas at White House Conference

Earlier today, Secretary Bryson delivered welcoming remarks at the “White House Conference on Connecting the Americas.” The all-day conference brings together business and community leaders from across the country with Administration officials working to expand opportunities for American businesses and people throughout the Americas.

The conference also serves as a forum for the Hispanic community, with cultural and economic ties to the rest of the Americas, to further identify ways in which they can partner up with the administration to promote economic growth and prosperity.

Secretary Bryson spoke at the conference about how the U.S. can ensure a strong economic foundation at home, while strengthening its economic ties throughout the Americas. He reinforced that the people and cultures from throughout the Western Hemisphere are all part of the story of America, and together can create a powerful force in the global economy.

The U.S. economy benefits substantially from trade in the Americas. Over 40 percent of U.S. exports go to the Americas, and those exports are growing faster than U.S. trade with the rest of the world.

Almost 84 percent of U.S. trade within the region is covered by Free Trade Agreements. The U.S. has already opened trade with Mexico, Chile, Central America, Dominican Republic, and Peru through FTAs, and continues to work toward implementation with Colombia and Panama.

In his remarks, the Secretary also pointed out how the Department is working hard to connect U.S. companies to trade opportunities throughout the Americas. Earlier this week, Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff visited Washington, and Secretary Bryson led a meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. Leaders from both countries discussed how they can build on the U.S.-Brazilian record year of over $100 billion in bilateral trade.

The Department of Commerce is co-sponsoring the “White House Conference on Connecting the Americas” with the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Council of the Americas, an international business organization focused on economic and social development in the Western Hemisphere. 

EDA Investments and Programs Help Strengthen America’s Economic Ecosystem, Create Jobs

i6 Challenge logo

Guest blog post by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John R. Fernandez

With the private sector creating more than three million new jobs over the last 21 months, and nine straight quarters of positive GDP growth, the U.S. economy is showing signs of recovery. But with millions of people across the nation still unemployed, there is nothing more important right now than working to accelerate business development and job growth.

In the 2011 fiscal year, Commerce's U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) continued its important work of investing in competitive projects across the country that are spurring innovation at the regional level, helping to create jobs, and mitigating the effects of natural and man-made disasters.

Secretary Bryson: "Build it Here, Sell it Everywhere"

Bryson, gesturing during Chamber remarks, on podium (photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today laid out his vision for how the Department of Commerce can best partner with the business community to support the president’s jobs agenda at a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In his remarks, Bryson outlined his top three priorities to help American businesses "build it here and sell it everywhere," focusing on supporting advanced manufacturing, increasing our exports, and attracting more investment to America from all over the world. The former Chairman and CEO of Edison International, Bryson also served as a director on the boards of Boeing and the Walt Disney Company, and as a senior advisor to the private equity firm KKR, and he spoke about his experiences in the private sector and how the Department of Commerce is uniquely situated to support job creation.

“At the Commerce Department, we aren’t waiting to act. . . .We have a major role to play at this critical time to support job creation in America. We have an array of tools to help make our businesses more innovative, more efficient, and more competitive around the world,” he said. “I want to know how this administration and the Commerce Department can best help you. From these conversations, my discussions with the president and my own personal experience, I will prioritize one simple imperative. . . to help American businesses build it here and sell it everywhere.”

The Secretary's remarks at the Chamber marked his first major address, laying out his vision for the Department, focusing on manufacturing, exports and investing in America. Read about the new or recently announced Commerce Department initiatives to support these prioritiesPress release  |  Remarks | Video

Secretary Bryson Promotes U.S.-Iraq Trade Opportunities at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Bryson, al-Maliki promote trade (photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Today, Commerce Secretary John Bryson delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce honoring Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Washington. In his remarks, Secretary Bryson pointed out a variety of resources available to U.S.businesses already in place to encourage and create ongoing trade and investment in a new area of relations between the two countries. These include the U.S.–Iraq Business and Investment Conference, Commerce-led trade missions to Iraq, the Iraq Task Force and Commerce’s Advocacy Center.

Commerce's Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez led a historic business development mission to Baghdad in October, 2010. The trade mission brought together representatives from 14 U.S. companies with key Iraqi public and private sector decision-makers, including nearly 200 match-making meetings, to pursue investment and sales opportunities. The Department of Commerce had key involvement at the Baghdad International Trade Fair. There, the U.S. participated for the first time since 1988, showcasing 85 American businesses and organizations at the U.S. Pavilion–the largest foreign presence at the event.

“Working together we can continue to strengthen ties between our nations’ business communities," Bryson said. "For example, on Wednesday, we are facilitating a match-making event for U.S. firms to meet with the Iraqi companies visiting Washington with the Prime Minister. . . .  And, of course, we will continue working through the U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue and with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Iraq Business Council, as Iraq continues to emerge as a promising market in the region.”

Al-Maliki highlighted the growing commercial ties with the United States and called for the U.S. business community to seize the investment and trade opportunities available in Iraq. Iraq is a promising and important emerging market–one that’s set to grow faster than China–and has needs that encompass everything from infrastructure to small consumer goods. Last year, Prime Minister al-Maliki announced Iraq’s five-year National Development Plan. The plan includes more than 2,700 projects worth about $186 billion and is aimed at diversifying Iraq’s economy away from oil. Meeting those needs can help create jobs here in the U.S.

President Obama Names Commerce Secretary John Bryson as Co-Chair of White House Office of Manufacturing Policy

President Obama today announced that Secretary John Bryson would join National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling as co-chair of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy. The Office of Manufacturing Policy is part of the National Economic Council in the White House and works across federal government agencies to coordinate the execution of manufacturing programs and the development of manufacturing policy.

“At this make or break time for the middle class and our economy, we need a strong manufacturing sector that will put Americans back to work making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America,” said President Obama. “I am grateful that Secretary Bryson and Gene Sperling will head up this office to continue our efforts to revitalize this great American industry and fight for American workers and jobs.”

“John Bryson brings to this role decades of business leadership, a passion for manufacturing, and a strong understanding of its importance for jobs and our nation's economic competitiveness. He will play a key leadership role for the president and his economic team on these critical issues,” said Gene Sperling.

“Supporting the manufacturing sector will further our ability to innovate at home and compete around the world while generating more high-wage American jobs,” Secretary Bryson said. “Since day one, President Obama has been focused on supporting the entire United States manufacturing sector but especially small- and medium-sized businesses on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing. We are introducing an ‘all hands on deck’ approach that coordinates all of our assets - public and private, federal, state, and regional.”

The White House Office of Manufacturing Policy will convene Cabinet-level meetings to aggressively implement the administration’s priority manufacturing initiatives. Release

U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) Concludes with Significant Agreements

Vilsack, Bryson, Wang and Kirk in stage with JCCT logo

This week marked the conclusion of the 22nd sssion of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Chengdu, China. U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk co-chaired the JCCT along with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan. The trip was highlighted by meaningful progress on key elements of the U.S.-China trade relationship, though much more work remains to be done to open China’s market to U.S. exports and investment.

The work done at JCCT will help boost U.S. exports and jobs through:

  • the removal of important barriers related to electric vehicles,
  • strengthened measures to eliminate discriminatory indigenous innovation policies,
  • and stricter enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. 

“Both sides worked hard to produce some meaningful progress that will help provide a needed boost to U.S. exports and jobs,” Secretary Bryson said.  “This is a step in the right direction.  But we must continue to actively engage our Chinese counterparts to open additional opportunities for U.S. businesses.”

Specifically, China agreed to make a significant systemic change in its enforcement of intellectual property rights. Through a high-level central government enforcement structure, China will make permanent its 2010 Special IPR Campaign.  China will continue high-level involvement that will enhance its ability to crack down on intellectual property rights infringement. And in addition, China’s leadership committed to increased political accountability–the performance of provincial level officials will be measured based on enforcement of intellectual property rights in their regions.

American Companies Sweep Top Workplace Honors in Multinational Survey

Blue Ribbon

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson

Great Places to Work, a global research, consulting, and training firm, just unveiled its inaugural list of the 25 best multinational companies to work for in the entire world.  American companies landed 18 of the 25 top spots, including all 10 of the top 10.

Microsoft led the best workplace rankings, followed by SAS, NetApp, Google, FedEx Express, Cisco, Marriott, McDonald’s, Kimberly Clark and SC Johnson.  Also making the list were American Express, Medtronic, 3M, National Instruments, Mars, Accenture, Coca-Cola and Quintiles.

In businesses across the spectrum – information technology, services, manufacturing–innovative U.S. companies are furthering a reputation for excellence and creating opportunity for their shareholders, their customers and their employees.  In the process, they are modeling best practices in world markets and making the American dream possible for people here … and throughout the globe.

The 25 best multinational business workplaces were selected based on data from surveys taken by more than 2.5 million employees and managers, representing a 10-million strong workforce, in thousands of companies across six continents.

In his book, That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind the World It Invented and How We can Come Back, Thomas Friedman writes of America’s visible demonstration of the connections between freedom, economic growth and human fulfillment.  And he noted that the power of example is a hugely potent social force.

In being recognized for workplace environments characterized by credibility, trust, respect, fairness, pride in accomplishment and camaraderie, these top-ranked multinational American companies are powerful examples to the world.

Acting Secretary Blank Highlights the Obama Administration's Pro-Business Record

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Delivering the Keynote Address at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Annual Meeting

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today delivered the keynote address at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance Annual Meeting, where she highlighted the different ways the American Jobs Act would make an immediate impact on job creation: cutting taxes for small businesses, putting more money in the pockets of consumers through an expanded payroll tax cut, and preventing the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, while putting construction workers to work through much-needed renovations to school, roads, rail and airports renovations.

Blank also discussed the Obama administration’s record supporting business expansion, highlighting the 17 different small business tax cuts implemented by the administration, major reform of the patent system that will bring the ideas of innovators to market faster, and investments in education and infrastructure that will help businesses thrive.

The American Jobs Act would:

  • Slash the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses, benefitting 410,000 Florida companies;
  • Allow localities to avoid laying off teachers, firefighters and cops – 25,900 in Florida alone;
  • Modernize at least 35,000 public schools, supporting renovations across the country and as many as 16,600 jobs in Florida;
  • Put the long-term unemployed – a group that totals 498,000 in Florida – back to work by making the most innovative reforms to unemployment insurance in 40 years;
  • Extend unemployment insurance, preventing 5 million Americans, including 148,500 in Florida, from losing their benefits; and,
  • Cut payroll taxes in half for 160 million workers next year, giving the typical Florida family a $1,730 tax cut.


Standards Boost Business: Competing in a 21st Century Economy

Standards Boost Business logo

Guest blog post from S. Joe Bhatia, President and CEO, American National Standards Institute

From alternative energy and nanotechnology to electric vehicles, vast opportunities for U.S. innovation and economic growth are developing in new and expanding industry sectors. As the U.S. ramps up its efforts to create jobs for the 21st century economy, there is an incredibly powerful tool at hand that can help U.S. industry tap into these technologies and out-innovate competitors in the global market.

I’m talking about standardization – and there has never been a better time for American businesses to leverage standards and conformance to gain a powerful trade advantage. Standardization not only informs the direction of innovation, it impacts the strength of the American workforce. Standards have the potential to accelerate the idea-to-market cycle, increase the number of U.S. products and services, and save companies millions of dollars. In short, standards have the power to turbo-charge innovation and fuel business growth.

That’s why the U.S. standardization community has launched the Standards Boost Business outreach initiative – to help companies understand the strategic and economic value of standards to business and to our overall national competitiveness.

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.

Forty-Six U.S. Business Executives to Join Secretary Locke in China and Indonesia for Clean Energy Trade Mission

Foto de El Seretario Gary Locke.

Washington (May 4 )—Forty-six U.S. business executives will join U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in China and Indonesia May 15-25 on the first cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration. On the heels of President Obama’s new National Export Initiative, aimed at doubling U.S. exports in the next five years, Locke will lead American companies on this clean energy mission to advance their export opportunities and support American jobs. (More)

Commerce Department Recruiting Industry Experts to Serve on New Advisory Council on Minority Business

Comerce seal

The Commerce Department is recruiting leaders from the private sector to serve on the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise (NACMBE). The council will provide advice and guidance to the Secretary on key issues, including policies that would best position minority-owned firms to compete in the global economy: access to capital, expanded participation in emerging industries, and improved access to the global supply chains of the world’s largest corporations. Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will assist the Secretary in overseeing the Advisory Council. (More) (Nomination notice)

Secretary Locke Announces NIST to Lead National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education

Locke at podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today at the Business Software Alliance Cybersecurity Forum that the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Obama administration’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). This initiative expands the government’s cyber security education efforts into a national focus that will establish an operational, sustainable and continually-improving cyber security education program for the public and private sectors focused on sound cyber practices. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Remarks at the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum

Photo of Secretary Gary Locke.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum today focusing on economic collaboration between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, mutually beneficial business opportunities, and the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative. At the forum, Locke announced plans for the Commerce Department to lead two trade missions to Saudi Arabia this year. Locke also met with his counterpart Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Alireza to discuss bilateral trade issues and areas for enhanced cooperation between the two countries. (Release) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Highlights the Importance of Entrepreneurship at Opening of Presidential Summit

Secretary Locke on Panel at Opening of Presidential Summit. Click here for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke opened the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center addressing hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, and stakeholders from over 50 countries on five continents. Together with President Obama, the Commerce and State Departments hosted the summit, highlighting the work and talents of entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities around the world. Following his remarks, Locke moderated the opening panel discussion on successful entrepreneurship. (Remarks) (Fact sheet)

Secretary Locke Links Haiti Reconstruction Needs with Capabilities of U.S. Firms

Locke and Delatour on stage shaking hands. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke reaffirmed the support of the Obama administration and the Commerce Department for Haiti’s reconstruction efforts following January’s devastating earthquake at today’s Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue hosted at the Department. Locke was joined by senior government and private sector representatives to discuss how American companies can help aid Haiti’s reconstruction efforts. Haitian Minister of Tourism Patrick Delatour (shown with Locke), who is charged with leading Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, briefed businesses on the country’s pressing needs. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Visits San Diego to Stress Importance of Exports in Competitiveness and Job Creation

Locke with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. Clicke for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Solar Turbines, one of California’s top exporters, for a tour of the company’s facility and a discussion with local small business owners on how the National Export Initiative will help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and create jobs in their community. Locke viewed the exporting process for industrial gas turbine engines from assembly through shipment to nearly 100 countries. Earlier in the day, he delivered the keynote address at the North American Competitiveness, Innovation & Clean Energy 2010 Conference Luncheon. He also met with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. (Solar Turbines remarks) (NAC remarks) (Release)

Deputy Secretary Hightower, Rep. Peters Host Roundtable with Michigan Small Business Owners

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower joined Rep. Gary Peters in Farmington Hills, Mich. to meet with local small business owners, representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Detroit Regional Chamber, to discuss the current business climate, growing manufacturing jobs and spotlight initiatives that are working to help improve Michigan’s economy. Hightower underscored the department’s commitment to provide technical and business assistance to small manufacturers. (Remarks)

Rick Wade to Kick Off National Main Street Business Tour in Michigan

Wade on podium. Click for larger image.

Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, will travel to Battle Creek and Jackson, Michigan to kick off a national tour that will take him to Main Streets across the country to meet with business leaders and hear directly from them about the challenges they face in this economy, taking their concerns and ideas back to Washington. Wade will meet one-on-one with business leaders, talk to larger groups at chambers of commerce and tour local plants and manufacturing centers during tour stops. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Explains Impact of New Health Care Legislation on Business

Portrait of Locke.

The Wall Street Journal today published an opinion piece by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on how reform of the American health care system will benefit businesses, helping them grow and become more competitive. “President Obama began his campaign to reform the American health-care system focused on three goals: protecting Americans' choice of doctors and health plans, assuring quality and affordable health care for all Americans, and reducing costs for families and businesses,” Locke wrote. (Opinion Editorial)

Secretary Locke, Senator Brown Highlight Effort to Boost Exports and U.S. Jobs in Ohio

Secretary Locke at microphone. Click for larger image.

U. S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Dublin, Ohio to talk to Americans about the administration’s plan to increase the sales of exports and support the creation of high-paying jobs through President Obama’s recently announced National Export Initiative (NEI). Locke was joined by Senator Sherrod Brown. Officials from the State and Agriculture Departments, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, also met with business leaders across the country to discuss the steps the Administration is taking to help businesses sell more U.S.-made goods and services abroad. (Remarks) (Release) (Export Promotion Cabinet release)

Secretary Locke Convenes Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Meeting

Locke at lectern with other participants in background.

In response to President Obama's recently-unveiled goal of doubling American exports over the next five years with the National Export Initiative (NEI), U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted the second meeting of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) at the department. The TPCC, established in 1992, is an interagency group chaired by the Secretary of Commerce to establish trade promotion priorities that boost exports and create jobs. Later, he hosted a press conference with TPCC members, including Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Mills and others.

Secretary Locke to Travel to Brazil to Meet with Key Leaders to Strengthen Bilateral, Commercial Relationship

Secretary Locke with Forum participants. Click for larger image.

Photo: American embassy in Brazil

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Brasilia, Brazil, to meet with key Brazilian leaders, American companies, and public and private sector co-chairs of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. During his meetings with American business leaders, Locke will discuss the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative and how it will help those businesses become more competitive abroad while supporting job creation here at home. (March 8 release) (March 9 release)

Commerce Deputy Secretary Hightower Promotes National Export Initiative at UCLA Business Forum

Hightower on podium. Click for larger image.

File photo

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis F. Hightower discussed President Obama's National Export Initiative at UCLA's America's Business Forum, highlighting the Commerce Department's efforts to support job creation by helping U.S. companies to sell more of their products and services abroad. “All of us have to do more to ensure more American products are reaching new foreign markets.. . . . “At a time when traditional drivers of U.S. economic growth like consumer and business spending are strained, we simply must elevate exports as a key part of our economic recovery efforts,” Hightower said. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces Expanded Commerce-UPS Partnership to Boost U.S. Exports, Support Job Creation

Secretary Locke with UPS vehicles. Click for larger image.

On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to double U.S. exports in the next five years, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and UPS CEO and Chairman Scott Davis announced new steps in an expanded partnership between UPS and the Department of Commerce that is designed to increase U.S. exports among small- and medium-sized businesses. Locke and Davis also met with local business leaders to discuss the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it will help American companies become more competitive while supporting job creation here at home. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke to Lead Administration's First Cabinet-Level Trade Mission

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Delivering the keynote address at the U.S.-China Business Council’s Forecast 2010 conference, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced he will lead the Obama administration’s first cabinet-level trade mission when he travels to China and Indonesia this May. The clean energy business development missions will promote exports of leading U.S. technologies related to clean energy, energy efficiency and electric energy storage, transmission, and distribution. The mission will take place May 15-25, and make stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing, China, and Jakarta, Indonesia. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Meets with Russia's Economic Minister, Takes Part in MIT Technology Program

Elvira Nabiullina, Russian Minister of Economic Development, and Commerce Sevretary Locke shake hands at July 2009 meeting in Moscow. File photo.

Nabiullina, Locke, July 2009 file photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Ms. Elvira Nabiullina at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass. The two officials, who previously met at the July 2009 Moscow Summit, held their first meeting in their capacities as co-chairs of the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. (More)

Secretary Locke, Senator Begich Meet with Alaska Business and 2010 Census Leaders in Anchorage

Locke and participants at roundtable.

U.S. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined U.S. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) in Anchorage today for a series of meetings to discuss trade expansion, rural development and the 2010 Census. Locke and Begich hosted a roundtable discussion with Alaska business leaders on potential trade expansion between Alaska and Pacific Rim countries, and discussed rural development with the Denali Commission.The pair also toured the Anchorage census office to meet with statewide Complete Count Committee members in advance of this year’s 2010 Census. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke and Vice President Biden Host Middle Class Task Force Meeting Focused on Manufacturing

Official White House logo

Secretary Gary Locke joined Vice President Joe Biden to host a Middle Class Task Force meeting on the future of manufacturing. At the meeting, Biden announced the administration’s support for up to $10 billion in additional funding for a successful Recovery Act program to accelerate job growth in clean energy manufacturing—tripling the funding of the Recovery Act’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. Other meeting participants included Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers, and business, labor and academic leaders in the manufacturing sector. (Remarks) (Middle Class Task Force Web site)

Commerce Deputy Secretary Hightower Promotes Export Opportunities to Small Businesses

Hightower on podium. Click for larger image.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower met with small business owners to discuss the key role exports will play in Detroit’s economic recovery. During his address at the “ExportsLive! Real Deals—Real Profits” seminar, Hightower stressed how exports will help revive businesses and create good-paying jobs. The gathering of small business leaders is geared toward helping companies grow and expand in global markets. The seminar was organized by the Export-Import Bank and included the participation of six federal agencies. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Highlights E-Commerce's Role in Growing the Economy

Locke on podium.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke highlighted the importance of electronic commerce to the U.S. economy in a keynote speech at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Locke underscored the department’s commitment to working with U.S. industry and consumer advocates to protect consumers’ privacy and security online. The three-day conference will bring together senior government officials, business representatives, civil society, international organizations and academics from OECD and non-member economies to discuss consumer protection issues in today’s Internet economy. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Addresses Brazil-U.S. Business Council Annual Plenary Meeting

Locke on podium with plenary meeting banner behind him. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address during the Brazil-U.S. Business Council annual plenary meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Locke discussed the department’s role in expanding trade and ensuring the competitiveness of U.S. companies in markets across the globe. The plenary brings together top executives from the largest U.S. investors in Brazil and Brazil's leading companies to discuss private sector priorities for the bilateral and hemispheric trade and investment agenda with top decision makers from Brazil and Washington. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke to Attend White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth

Official White House logo. Click to go to

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will participate in a forum on Jobs and Economic Growth Thursday, Dec. 3, at the White House. The forum is an opportunity for President Obama and the economic team to hear from CEOs, small business owners, labor leaders and nonprofit heads about ideas for continuing to grow the economy and put Americans back to work. Locke will moderate a panel discussion on competitiveness and job creation with Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and make remarks at the closing session before introducing President Obama. Afternoon sessions and several discussion groups on jobs will be streamed live on the White House Web site.

Secretary Locke Joins President Obama and Administration Officials at White House Tribal Nations Conference

Secretaries Salazar, Vilsack and Locke seen at conference.

Photo-capture from White House Web stream

U.S. Commerce Secretary Locke joined President Obama and high-level administration officials at the White House Tribal Nations Conference to highlight the department’s ongoing efforts to support economic development in Native American communities through the Minority Business Development Agency and other department bureaus. The conference provided leaders from 564 federally-recognized tribes the opportunity to have interactive discussions with administration officials regarding: economic development, public safety, housing, education, health and labor. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Addresses National DEC Conference on Importance of Exporting

District Export Council logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the National District Export Council Conference (DEC). Locke discussed efforts to promote the sale of U.S. goods and services overseas, efforts that will create sustainable economic growth and good-paying jobs. Exporters from around the country discussed trade issues and exporting best practices. This year’s theme was “Global Competitiveness and the Opportunities for U.S. Exporters.” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, and Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg joined Locke at the conference. (More) (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Kicks Off Visit to China with Discussions on Intellectual Property and Innovation

U.S. State Department map of China.

Map: U.S. State Department

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of protecting intellectual property today at the Pearl River Delta International Forum on Innovation and Intellectual Property. At the forum, Locke spoke to government officials and business leaders and acknowledged that while China has made some progress protecting the intellectual property of foreign companies operating within its borders, more must be done. Later, at Jinan University, Locke joined a conversation with students about the significance of intellectual property rights for the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. (IPR Forum remarks) (Jinan University remarks)

Secretaries Locke and Chu Focus on American Competitiveness at White House Clean Energy Forum

Locke and Chu seated at table responding to auidence questions. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a Clean Energy Economy Forum with business leaders from around the country. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other administration officials were also featured speakers at the Forum, which included a focus on ensuring American competitiveness and leadership in the emerging clean energy economy. In addition to addressing issues of competiveness, administration officials reiterated the need for a comprehensive energy plan that puts America back in control of its energy future and breaks a dependence on oil that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. (Remarks) (More)

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address at U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Conference

Secretary Locke on the podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered keynote remarks at the U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Conference, encouraging economic partnerships with Iraq and highlighting American business opportunities in multiple sectors. The conference is the first major event under the recently signed U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement and is intended to promote current investment and business opportunities for American companies in Iraq, provide matchmaking opportunities for U.S. and Iraqi firms, and address the challenges to doing business in Iraq. (Remarks)

Under Secretary Kappos Awards 600,000th Design Patent

Kappos, Robert Workman CEO of Goal Zero holding plaque, and Hatch. Click for larger image.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos was joined by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to award design patent number 600,000 to Goal Zero, a subsidiary of Provo Craft and Novelty, and a small business located in Spanish Fork, Utah. The patent was granted for the design of a battery system which works in conjunction with a solar briefcase that recharges the system using sunlight. This patent exemplifies the blending of green technology and appealing design. Shown here between Kappos and Hatch is Robert Walkman, President and CEO of Goal Zero. (More)

New Computer Security Guide Can Help Safeguard Small Businesses

Image of video player. Click to watch a new NIST video explaining the reasons why small businesses should be concerned about safeguarding the information on their computers.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a guide to help small businesses and organizations understand how to provide basic security for their information, systems and networks. Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals,by Richard Kissel, teaches computer security to groups of small business owners ranging from tow truck operators to managers of hospitals, small manufacturers and nonprofit organizations. The 20-page guide uses simple, clear language to walk small business owners through the steps necessary to secure their computer systems and data. (More) (Video page) (Guide)

Secretary Locke Opens ITA's Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit

ITA Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit logo. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed attendees of the International Trade Administration’s Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit at the Commerce Department. Representatives from nearly every federal agency and industry leaders from various business sectors discussed government efforts to support sustainable business practices and enhance U.S. competitiveness. Locke stressed manufacturing as a vital job source and said its revitalization is key to putting people back to work in good-paying jobs. Locke also introduced Commerce’s Sustainable Business Clearinghouse, an online information portal. (Remarks) (Web site)

Secretary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu Headline Clean Energy Economy Forum with Business Leaders

Secretary Chu and Locke at podium.

File photo

Commerce Secretary Locke and Energy Secretary Chu joined Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner and other top administration officials in a Clean Energy Economy Forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with business leaders from around the country. “If we create the right incentives on energy, it will drive demand for clean energy and efficiency that will foster the creation of new businesses and the jobs that come with them,” Locke said. The administration officials reiterated the need for a comprehensive energy plan that puts America back in control of its energy future and breaks a dependence on oil that threatens our economy, our environment, and our national security. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Meets with Muslim- and Arab-American Business Leaders on the Economy, Innovation and 2010 Census

Locke and participants in a group pose.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with members of the Muslim- and Arab-American business communities in Dearborn to discuss forging new business partnerships. “Getting our economy growing again will require strong action by both the government and the private sector,” Locke said. “If the Commerce Department and the Obama administration can help make your business a little more efficient, a little more innovative or get you access to a new market—then we'll have accomplished something we can be proud of.” Locke also highlighted the importance of the 2010 Census in ensuring representation and federal funding for the community. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke, Mayor Franklin Announce 2010 ACF to be Held in Atlanta

Americas Competitiveness Forum 2009 logo. Click to visit ACF Web site.

At the closing of the 2009 Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Chile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin announced that the United States will host the next ACF in Atlanta in the fall of 2010. “I look forward to working with the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia, the local business community and other stakeholders to convene the 2010 ACF in the Peach State,” Locke said. “The ACF is a unique opportunity for the Americas to work together on issues critical to the economic prosperity of the region.” (More) (ACF 2009 Web site)

Secretary Locke Conducts Swearing In Ceremony for Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower

Locke shakes hands with Hightoweras Dori Bye Hightower looks on. Click for larger image that includes more family members.

Secretary Gary Locke conducted the ceremonial swearing in ceremony for U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis F. Hightower. Hightower will lead the charge to improve the Department’s efficiency, effectiveness and performance management. As deputy secretary, he will play a key role in ensuring that the United States continues to advance its direction as a global leader in innovation, growth and job creation. Hightower is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, a graduate of Howard University and Harvard Business School, and has established an accomplished business-centric career in the private sector for more than 20 years. (Secretary’s remarks) (Deputy Secretary’s remarks)

Locke to Lead U.S. Delegation to Chile for the Americas Competitiveness Forum

ACF logo. Click to visit ACF Web site)

U.S.Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Santiago, Chile, September 27-29, to participate in the third Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF). The ACF brings together representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss ways to spark innovation, create jobs and expand trade among the countries of the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. Department of Commerce hosted the first two ACFs in Atlanta in 2007 and 2008. Secretary Locke will be joined by the Presidents of Chile and Guatemala, as well as ministers of trade and economy from throughout the region and senior representatives from business and academia. (More) (ACF Web site)

Secretary Locke Stresses Importance of Comprehensive Energy Plan for American Business

Image of Locke on podium with large-screen image to the left. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at the National Energy Summit & International Dialogue to address the sustainable energy industry and convey the importance of the industry to the creation of new, good-paying jobs. Locke stressed that a comprehensive energy plan is central for American innovation and manufacturing, offering an opportunity for American business. The National Energy Summit, put on by the Council on Competitiveness, is a coalition of sectors with more than 350 leaders, including CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and other luminaries from across the U.S. and around the world.

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with Defense Secretary Gates on Export Controls and Business Visa Reform

Secretaries Locke and Gates talking while seated at desk. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Pentagon. Their meeting centered on export controls and business visa reform and the importance of considering improvements to these systems that will make United States exporters more competitive, leading to more U.S. jobs and economic growth. Locke and Gates met for an hour and agreed to continue to work together with their counterparts at other cabinet agencies toward these important reforms. The secretaries plan to meet again in the next few weeks with fellow administration officials to address their progress. (More)

EDA Announces Ongoing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding to Create Jobs, Boost Development

Image of Flagship Enterprise Center. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) invested $2.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to the Flagship Enterprise Center, Inc. and the city of Anderson, Ind.,(pictured here), to help build a business and industrial facility, which will house early-stage businesses that are working to establish themselves in the community. Other recent ARRA grants have been announced for Memphis, Tenn.; Spring Valley, Minn.; Tupelo, Miss.; Fosston, Minn.; Scottsburg, Ind. and Bristol Bay Borough, Alaska. (EDA Recovery Web site)

Secretary Locke Announces Over $11.9 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Seven States

EDA seal.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced over $11.9 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help seven states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will make water treatment facility upgrades in Kentucky; help build an access road to serve an industrial park in Minnesota; help make roadway updates to improve access to an industrial park in Illinois; help build water and sewer infrastructure needed to spur business development in Georgia; convert an existing building for use as a regional vocational training facility in Idaho; expand an existing dock and install a crane to boost the commercial fishing sector in Alaska, and extend an avenue and provide water infrastructure in Washington state.

Secretary Lock Gives Keynote at MED Week, Follows White House Event for National MED Week Awardees

MED Week logo. Click to go to MED Week Web site.

Secretary Gary Locke laid out the Obama Administration’s strategy to expand opportunities for minority businesses. In his keynote, Locke outlined how the President’s Recovery Act is giving businesses access to billions of dollars in loan guarantees, and how it seeks to reorient America’s energy policy towards providing new manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Locke called for reform of the healthcare system so that small- and medium-sized businesses can better afford health benefits for their workers. On Wednesday, Secretary Locke and Vice President Joe Biden congratulated the 2009 National Excellence in Minority Business Award Winners at a reception at the White House. (Remarks)

Earvin "Magic" Johnson to Keynote MBDA's Annual MED Week Conference

Earvin “Magic” Johnson will keynote the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, August 26-28. Also participating as speakers will be U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, new MBDA National Director David Hinson, and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen G. Mills. The conference will focus on fostering innovation, competitiveness and opportunities for minority businesses to retool and rebuild America’s infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (More) (Registration)

Locke Addresses U.S.-UAE Business Council, Highlights Promising Economic Opportunities

Locke behind lectern with flags behind him.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the US-UAE Business Council about the bilateral economic and security relationship that has continued to develop between the emirates and the United Sates. Secretary Locke addressed the promising business opportunities available to U.S. firms resulting from a proposed civilian nuclear arrangement. He also explained how the proposed agreement might serve as a model for civilian nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and other Middle Eastern nations. (Remarks)

Secretaries Locke, Napolitano and Sebelius Announce Flu Season Guidance for Business and Employers

Cabinet secretaries on stage anouncing guidelines. Click for video of press conference.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a joint news conference to announce new federal guidelines to help employers and businesses prepare for and respond to the upcoming flu season. The event is part of the federal government’s continuing efforts to prepare Americans for an influenza season that will include the H1N1 flu. Rear Admiral Stephen Redd from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Seth Harris will also be on hand to answer questions. (More on Guidance) (Press Conference Video)

Secretary Locke Announces $7.6 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Four States

Picture of construction site for railway infrastructure improvement. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced $7.6 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help four states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will: establish a bio-medical manufacturing and business park in Illinois; develop an industrial area in Florida; provide rail service to a technology park in South Carolina and expand an industrial park to accommodate new and existing industry in Michigan.

Locke Travels to Massachusetts, Highlights Administration Commitment to Economic Recovery, Focus on 2010 Census

Secretary Locke with technician at Cambridge Innovation Center. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke traveled to Massachusetts to highlight the Obama administration’s efforts to turn around the economy by supporting innovation and spurring clean energy job growth. In Cambridge, Locke held a town hall meeting with local business leaders and toured the Cambridge Innovation Center, as well as the Genzyme Corp. headquarters building, designed in an environmentally friendly way. In the evening, Locke addressed the annual national convention of the Asian American Journalists Association in Boston, focusing on the 2010 Census and its profound effects on the future of U.S. residents and communities. (Remarks)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Visits Tampa for Town Hall and NABJ Convention

Locke speaking before audience with Census 2010 logo.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Tampa today to hold a town hall meeting on trade and discuss the 2010 Census at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention. The town hall was held at the Tampa Port Authority, where Locke and local business leaders addressed the Department’s trade priorities and the administration’s commitment to grow U.S. exports across the economy. At the NABJ convention, Locke emphasized the importance of Census participation and the critical role journalists can play increasing awareness about the decennial count. (Remarks)

Dennis F. Hightower Confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Image of flag flying from facade of U.S. Department of Commerce's Herbert Clark Hoover Building

The U.S. Senate confirmed Dennis F. Hightower as Deputy Secretary of Commerce by unanimous consent. Hightower, a seasoned business executive with a 40-year career in the public and private sectors, takes over general management of the Department of Commerce, an organization with nearly 38,000 employees and an operating budget of over $17 billion. “I am grateful to the Senate for moving quickly to confirm Dennis Hightower, and I’m thrilled to have him on board.” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “His management expertise and strong leadership skills will be a valuable asset to the Commerce team as we work to make American businesses more competitive and strengthen the economy. (More)

Census Bureau: U.S. Business Employers Add 100,000 Establishments in 2007

U.S. Census Bureau seal.

United States businesses with employees added more than 100,000 establishments in 2007, bringing the total number to 7.7 million and adding more than 650,000 employees to their payrolls. Overall, employees of businesses in the United States earned more than $5 trillion in annual payroll in 2007, up from $4.8 trillion in 2006. These economic numbers come from County Business Patterns: 2007, an annual report that contains data covering establishments with paid employees at the national and state levels, and in more than 3,100 counties. (More)

Secretary Locke Meets with Chinese Leaders in Beijing

Pictured seated are Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and State Councilor Liu Yangdong at the Great Hall of the People. Click for larger picture.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming in Beijing today. It was the second meeting between Minister Chen and Secretary Locke. They had a productive dialogue about shared priorities and issues of mutual concern, agreeing on the importance of building a positive and cooperative relationship that strengthens trade and creates jobs in the United States and China. Pictured here are Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and State Councilor Liu Yangdong at the Great Hall of the People. Locke also addressed the American Chamber of Commerce and U.S. China Business Council in Beijing. (More) (Remarks)

Locke Announces St. Louis Native to Lead MBDA

File photo of David Hinson smiling.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the appointment of David Hinson, a St. Louis native with more than 20 years of business experience, as the new administrator of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). This agency is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in the United States.“The success of minority-owned businesses is essential to our economic recovery, and I’m counting on David to maximize their opportunities,” Locke said. (More)

Secretaries Locke and Chu to Travel to China, Focus on Clean Energy Jobs, Business and Technology

Secretaries Locke and Chu at White House press conference.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will travel to China on Tuesday, July 14. During their four-day visit, the two secretaries will highlight the tremendous potential for mutually beneficial relationships in the clean energy sector. “Today, we are more interdependent with China than at any point in the last 30 years,” Locke said. “The relationship between our two countries is of critical importance, and while great progress has been made in our cooperation on economic, trade and global terrorism fronts, there's much more to do.”

Secretary Locke Addresses Moscow U.S.-Russia Business Summit, Named Co-Chair of New Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group

President Obama, President Medvedev, Secretary Locke and Russian Minister Nabiullina seen on stage. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at a U.S.-Russia Business Summit in Moscow where CEOs and business leaders from both countries presented recommendations to expand bilateral commercial cooperation. The Secretary was joined by Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina. Presidents Obama and Medvedev also addressed the summit. On Monday, the Presidents announced that Locke and Nabiullina would co-chair the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group as part of the newly formed U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission between the two countries. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces Efforts to Support Minority Business Access to Recovery Act Opportunities

MBDA lgo. Click to go to MBDA Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced significant efforts by the department to support access for minority-owned businesses to Recovery Act opportunities. Locke, along with Commerce senior advisor Rick Wade, held a conference call with reporters today to discuss the department’s commitment to improving outreach and education. “President Obama is committed to ensuring that minority businesses are aware of and have access to federal contracts and funding opportunities,” Locke said. “The success of minority-owned businesses is vital to our economic recovery, and we’re working hard to make sure they have access to these important federal opportunities.” (More) ( (

Secretary Locke to Accompany President Obama to Russia

File photo portrait of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Moscow, July 6-8, in conjunction with the Presidential Summit Meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev. Locke will represent the administration at a private sector Business Summit where U.S. and Russian business leaders will present recommendations to expand bilateral commercial cooperation. This will be Locke’s first overseas trip as Secretary of Commerce. While in Moscow, he will meet with the Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina to discuss U.S.-Russian economic and commercial relations and Russia’s integration into the global economy. (More)

Locke Announces First Indian Company to Receive Express Lane Status for U.S.-Indian Trade

Secretary Locke speaking from podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced an important step forward in the strategic partnership between the United States and India during remarks to the U.S.-India Business Council’s 34th Anniversary “Synergies Summit.” General Electric India (GE India) has been tapped as the first Indian company to qualify as a validated end-user (VEU) in India, allowing the company to enter a pre-approved, export express lane as a trusted end user. That the VEU program was opened for India is an indication of the increased importance of the U.S.-India bilateral and commercial relationship. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on National Travel and Tourism Week

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke released the following statement on the observance of National Travel and Tourism Week: “Last year, a record 58 million travelers visited the United States to conduct business, see family and friends, and experience our big cities, small towns and incredible natural wonders. As we celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, we are reminded that the industry benefits every state and U.S. territory, employing more than eight million workers across the country.” (More)

Secretary Locke Discusses Trade Promotion Agreement with Colombian Minister for Trade

Minister Plata and Secretary Locke talk while seated in chairs. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Colombia’s Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata, at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between Minister Plata and Secretary Locke. The Secretary and Minister Plata reaffirmed the commitment of both governments to move forward on progress towards the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The two leaders also underscored the importance of building stronger business ties through activities like joint cooperation in trade capacity-building for small- and medium-sized enterprises and good governance programs. (More)

U.S. Senate Confirms Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary

Photo of Gary Locke.

File Photo

The United States Senate confirmed Gary Locke as the nation’s 36th Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent. Secretary Locke will be a key member of President Obama’s economic team and will work to foster and promote American economic development at home, and will be an influential ambassador for American business and industry abroad. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary. “I’m honored to take on this challenge and will work every day to make the Commerce Department an engine for improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and creating jobs,” Locke said. (More)

Minority Business Development Agency Marks 40 Years Promoting Competitive Business Growth

MBDA logo.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is celebrating four decades ofpromoting the establishment and growth of minority businesses. Throughout the year, the MBDA will be highlighting businesses that benefited from its programs and the people and communities it has impacted. MBDA’s Minority Business Blog ( which launched in conjunction with the 40th anniversary will tell success stories of minority businesses, offer tips and business solutions for minority entrepreneurs, as well as communicate up-to-date information affecting the minority business community. (More) (Blog)

U.S. Census Bureau Reports Business Spending on Fixed Assets Rises to $1.36 Trillion in 2007

Census Bureau logo.

U.S. businesses spent $1.36 trillion on new and used structures and equipment in 2007, of which $1.28 trillion, or 93.7 percent, was spent on new structures and equipment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These findings come from the 2007 Annual Capital Expenditures Survey, which measures spending on new and used structures and equipment for businesses with and without paid employees. Expenditures for new and used structures totaled $529.3 billion, an increase of $40.1 billion from 2006. (More)