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Blog Entries from October 2009

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)

NIST Signs U.S.-China Cooperative Agreement on Earthquake and Volcano Sciences

NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher and Yin Chaomin, the vice administrator of the Chinese Earthquake Administration, shaking hands while seated at signing table.

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake that occurred in China this past year and its high number of casualties, the U.S. and China have signed a protocol for cooperation on earthquake and volcano sciences. The protocol was signed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S., and the Chinese Earthquake Administration and the National Natural Science Foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Shown are NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher and Yin Chaomin, vice administrator of the Chinese Earthquake Administration. (More) (Protocol)

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)

Secretary Locke Statement on September 2009 New Residential Construction

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in September 2009. Permits declined 1.2 percent in September but have risen 15.1 percent since their low in April. Starts edged up 0.5 percent in September and have grown 23.2 percent above their low in April. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke to Highlight Trade, Intellectual Property Rights and Energy During China Trip

Portrait of Secretary Locke.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Guangzhou and Hangzhou, China, October 26-30, to co-chair the 20th session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and to stress the importance of strong intellectual property rights protection and enforcement around the world. The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. Secretary Locke will co-chair the annual high-level JCCT meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan in Hangzhou on October 28-29. (More) (Oct. 21 release) (Fact Sheet)

New NOAA System Improves Ship Safety, Efficiency, on Lower Mississippi River and Port of New Orleans

Image of ship in port. Click for larger image.

Ship captains and pleasure boaters can now get free real-time information on water and weather conditions for the lower Mississippi River from a new NOAA ocean observing system that makes piloting a ship safer and more efficient. The NOAA Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) on the lower Mississippi River provides observations of tides, currents, water and air temperature, barometric pressure, winds and bridge clearance. (More)

Secretary Locke and USTR Kirk Announce October Meeting of U.S.-China JCCT

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk, together with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, will convene the 20th U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) on October 28th and 29th in Hangzhou, China. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will also participate in the JCCT. The JCCT, established in 1983, is the main forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China. Additional details will be announced soon.

NOAA: El Niño to Help Steer U.S. Winter Weather

Map of U.S. with winter temperature outlook. Click for larger image.

El Niño in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean is expected to be a dominant climate factor that will influence the December through February winter weather in the U.S., according to the 2009 Winter Outlook released by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “We expect El Niño to strengthen and persist through the winter months, providing clues as to what the weather will be like during the period,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. “Warmer ocean water in the equatorial Pacific shifts the patterns of tropical rainfall that in turn change the strength and position of the jet stream and storms over the Pacific Ocean and the U.S.” (More)

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)

Secretary Locke Statement on September 2009 Retail Sales

Photo of Secretary Locke

File photo

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Census Bureau released retail sales for September 2009. Retail sales fell 1.5 percent, primarily reflecting a 10.4 percent decline in motor vehicle sales. The drop in total sales was smaller than the decrease of 2.1 percent expected by private analysts. Gasoline sales rose 1.1 percent, and sales excluding motor vehicles and gasoline increased 0.4 percent. In the third quarter as a whole, total retail sales rose 6.4 percent at an annual rate, and sales excluding the volatile motor vehicle and gasoline components rose 0.6 percent. (More) (Release)