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Commerce Secretary John Bryson Lays Out Vision for Department of Commerce

Thursday December 15, 2011

At U.S. Chamber of Commerce, former chairman and CEO outlines priorities to create jobs: Build it here, sell it everywhere

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 adviser 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.”

But Bryson also acknowledged that government cannot do it alone, and made a direct appeal to the business community to hire and invest now, while also pledging to support them.“America needs you to invest here now. America needs you to put people back to work. I’m here to tell you that the Obama administration and the Commerce Department will provide energetic, tireless and effective support to help American businesses compete,” he said.

New or recently announced Commerce Department initiatives to support these priorities include:

Supporting manufacturing:

  • Co-Chair of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy:  Earlier this week, Secretary Bryson was named by the president to co-chair the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy, along with Gene Sperling. The office will determine policy and help coordinate all the different manufacturing efforts across the administration.
  • AMP National Program Office:  Commerce will soon establish a national program office at the Department to coordinate and help implement the president’s advanced manufacturing partnership (AMP), which brings together industry, universities and the federal government to drive investments in emerging industries like information technology, biotech and nanotechnology. The office will be led by Mike Molnar, who is currently the Chief Manufacturing Officer for the Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Molnar recently joined NIST after a 25-year career in advanced manufacturing.
  • Investment:  In the last two years, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has been making investments to support the formation of regional clusters and technology hubs, and has already invested over $75 million in 68 competitive, job-creating projects across the country to support advanced manufacturing. And next year, the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will invest nearly $90 million in advanced manufacturing, much of it in new research areas like smart manufacturing technology and new materials discovery.
  • Protecting Intellectual Property:  Signed into law earlier this year, the America Invents Act represents the most significant reform of the Patent Act since 1952, and will help American inventors, entrepreneurs and companies, many of which are also manufacturers, that have suffered costly delays and unnecessary litigation as part of the patent approval process, focus on innovation and job creation.

Increasing our exports:

  • President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI): Launched in 2010, President Obama’s NEI has already helped U.S. businesses expand exports 17 percent in 2010 and 16 percent so far this year. That puts the initiative on track to meet the president’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
  • Global Buyers Initiative:  The Global Buyers Initiative (GBI) is a new partnership between Commerce and FedEx to identify and assist foreign manufacturers that are looking for U.S. suppliers. This new initiative will be piloted over the next two months in France, Canada and Korea and, if successful, is expected to expand worldwide in 2012.
  • Restructuring the Foreign Commercial Service:  To intensify focus on markets where U.S. exports have the best potential for continued growth, including China, Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Department of Commerce is reallocating and repositioning resources to markets identified as priorities under the National Export Initiative (NEI).

Attracting more investment to America from all over the world:

  • SelectUSA:  The recently-launched SelectUSA is the first coordinated federal effort of its kind to aggressively pursue and win new business investment in the United States, from both domestic as well as foreign companies. SelectUSA is housed at the Department of Commerce and online at www.SelectUSA.
  • Training foreign commercial service officers:  In order to make promoting investment in the United States a key part of Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) engagement around the world, the Commerce Department will train staff in 10 foreign markets with FCS offices in fiscal year 2012 on the SelectUSA initiative. In fiscal year 2013, this engagement and training will expand to cover 25 foreign markets. These markets will constitute the largest and fastest-growing sources of foreign direct investment in the United States. This training will position the FCS field staffers to work with foreign companies exploring investment opportunities in the United States, and support U.S. economic development organizations seeking to attract, retain and expand foreign direct investment.