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Blog Entries from July 2010

Statement From Secretary Locke on the Advance Estimate of Real GDP in the Second Quarter of 2010

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2010.  Real GDP grew 2.4 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter, following a gain of 3.7 percent in the first quarter.  The annual revision to the national accounts increased the total fall in real GDP during the recession from 3.7 percent to 4.1 percent.  The economy has grown 3.2 percent from a year ago.  Statement

Secretary Locke Visits Louisville to Highlight Partnership Designed to Boost U.S. Exports

Locke discusses Commerce resources available to U.S. companies to help grow business and create jobs

Secretary Locke at Podium with UPS OfficialsToday Secretary Locke visited the UPS Global Operations Center in Louisville, Ky., to highlight opportunities for local Kentucky businesses to sell their goods and services abroad and support job creation in their community. Locke toured the facility and held a discussion with local business owners on how the Commerce Department can help them grow their businesses and create jobs. Expanding on an existing partnership, UPS has joined with the Commerce Department to identify new markets for current exporters and potential candidates to expand their exports with the help of Department resources through the New Market Exporter Initiative.

Commerce’s partnership with UPS is one way the Department is working to achieve the goals of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years in support of 2 million American jobs. Since the president announced the NEI, the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center has assisted American companies competing for export opportunities, supporting $11.4 billion in exports and an estimated 70,000 jobs. The Department’s commercial service officers stationed around the world have helped more than 2,000 companies generate $3.8 billion worth of exports. To date, the Commerce Department has coordinated 18 trade missions with over 160 companies to 24 countries.

Joining Locke at for the discussion were Larry Hayes, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Scott Casey, Vice President of Legal & Public Affairs for UPS, and Jerry Plappert, Vice President of Corporate Development for CECO Environmental and Chair of the Kentucky District Export Council. | Read more | Remarks

Secretary Locke Highlights Efforts to Bolster CyberSecurity in the Commercial Arena at Commerce Department Symposium

Secretary Locke aon podiumToday the Commerce Department hosted a public symposium on the protection of consumers’ and the commercial sector’s information from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Secretary Locke provided opening remarks at the event, held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., followed by remarks from U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski.

The meeting is part of a broader effort to use the Internet to foster innovation and economic growth. The symposium was organized by the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force and featured senior government and private-sector leaders in a wide-ranging discussion of issues, best practices, and strategies for responding to cyber threats. 

Other administration and Congressional officials who addressed the symposium included U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Commerce Department General Counsel Cameron Kerry.  Panel discussions featured senior officials from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, the Commerce Department and private-sector executives.  Remarks  |  Read more

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets With U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in New Orleans

Visiting New Orleans today, Secretary Locke met with the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to discuss how government and industry leaders can support travel and tourism in areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

“Jobs are the number one priority of the Obama administration and the travel and tourism industry plays a key role in that effort,” Locke said. “It's clear we are going to need a proactive and aggressive approach to expand travel and tourism both in the Gulf and throughout the United States.”

In addition to the board’s central discussion on improving the industry in the Gulf, members also addressed tourism policies and other nationwide issues. The travel and tourism industry is a significant contributor to trade and economic development in the United States, and the board will play a key role in the development of the administration’s export policies.

Today’s meeting was the second of the current board, made up of 27 industry leaders.  Read more

Secretary Locke Unveils Official Portrait of Former Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez

Locke, Gutierrez and members of the Gutierrez family applaudingSecretary Gary Locke welcomed former Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez to the Commerce Department today for the unveiling of his official portrait. Speaking at the ceremony attended by Gutierrez’s friends, family and former colleagues, Locke thanked the 35th Secretary of Commerce for the guidance he gave him when Locke became Secretary and honored him for his many achievements during his tenure.

Gutierrez served under President George W. Bush from February 2005 to January 2009. During his government service, he was the administration’s point person on comprehensive immigration reform, DR-CAFTA and the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, and he co-chaired the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. He also led many high-level trade missions, including the first-ever domestic trade mission to the Gulf region in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Before coming to Commerce, Gutierrez was chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Company.

Portrait of Carlos M. GutierrezAlso in attendance at the ceremony were former Commerce Secretaries Barbara Franklin, Norman Mineta and Don Evans, as well as Congressman John Dingell. Gutierrez’s former Executive Assistant, Pat Thorne, sang the national anthem.

Gutierrez now serves on the board of trustees for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Bipartisan Debt Reduction Task Force.

Breaking the Language Barrier: NIST Tests Afghan Language Translation Devices for U.S. Troops

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Image from video clip showing characters from For the past four years, scientists at Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have been conducting detailed performance evaluations of speech translation systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previous systems used microphones and portable computers. In the most recent tests, the NIST team evaluated three two-way, real-time, voice-translation devices designed to improve communications between the U.S. military and non-English speakers in foreign countries.

Traditionally, the military has relied on human translators for communicating with non-English speakers in foreign countries, but the job is dangerous and skilled translators often are in short supply. According to NIST’s Brian Weiss, the DARPA project, called TRANSTAC (spoken language communication and TRANSlation system for TACtical use), aims to provide a technology-based solution. Currently, the focus is on Pashto, a native Afghani tongue, but NIST has also assessed machine translation systems for Dari—also spoken in Afghanistan—and Iraqi Arabic.Image of U.S. Marine and Afghan talking on cell phone

All new TRANSTAC systems all work much the same way, says project manager Craig Schlenoff. An English speaker talks into the phone. Automatic speech recognition distinguishes what is said and generates a text file that software translates to the target language. Text-to-speech technology converts the resulting text file into an oral response in the foreign language. This process is reversed for the foreign language speaker.  Read more  |  video

Locke Meets With Korea's Minister of Knowledge Economy and China's Minister of Science and Technology at the Commerce Department

 

Locke and ChoiU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with Korea’s Minister of Knowledge Economy (MKE) Kyunghwan Choi and China’s Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Wan Gang today in separate meetings at the Commerce Department. 

This was the first meeting between Locke and Choi and the first meeting of the Commerce-MKE Committee on Commercial Cooperation, a committee created through a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the U.S. and Korea in June 2009.  Locke and Choi confirmed the importance of further strengthening U.S.-Korea commercial relations and working together on trade and investment issues. The pair also expressed support for removing barriers to trade and finding a way forward on the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA). Following their meeting, Locke and Choi each spoke at the opening session of the Committee, which then held working-level subcommittee break out meetings.

Later in the afternoon, Locke met with China’s Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang. Locke and Wan have previously met twice in China. Wan is in Washington, D.C. for the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial – which Locke spoke at today – hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Wan has served as MOST since April 2007.  Read more

Secretary Locke Stresses Need for a Clean Energy Economy at First-Ever Clean Energy Ministerial Public Forum

Secretary Locke on podiumU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed ministers, CEOs and clean energy leaders today at the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial Public Forum held at the Ronald Reagan Building. Hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the two-day ministerial brought together government leaders and stakeholders from more than 20 countries to collaborate on policies and programs aimed at accelerating the world's transition to clean energy technologies. The meeting grows out of a Global Partnership launched by the leaders of the Major Economies Forum.

In his remarks, Locke highlighted Department of Commerce clean energy initiatives including the development of a first-ever National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Strategy, a new green patents program, and his recent clean energy trade mission to China and Indonesia.

The countries that participated in the ministerial represent 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 80 percent of global gross domestic product, and 80 percent of the global market for clean energy technologies.  Remarks

USPTO Hosts "Three-Track" Roundtable in Alexandria

Participants at roundtable discussionCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) held a public roundtable discussion today on a new proposed patent examination initiative called the “Enhanced Examination Timing Control Initiative,” or “Three-Track” for short, which is currently under consideration by the USPTO. The meeting was held at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. 

The proposed initiative would eliminate the “one-size-fits-all” approach the USPTO has traditionally taken to patent examination, provide applicants greater control over the speed with which their applications are examined and promote greater efficiency in the patent examination process. 

More information about the initiative can be found here at http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2010/10_24.jsp.

Secretary Locke Co-Chairs U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum in Denver

Secretary Locke and Minister Miguel JorgeU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and White House Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman co-chaired the fifth U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum today in Denver. Joining Locke and Froman as co-chairs was Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Miguel Jorge.  This is the first time the U.S. has hosted the meeting outside of Washington, D.C. 

The U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum discussed critical business issues, including the negotiation of a bilateral tax treaty, customs facilitation and express reform, and energy and infrastructure. The Forum’s recommendations have advanced discussions between the United States and Brazil governments on other important issues such as visas, customs procedures, education and infrastructure reforms. Established in 2007, the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum is made up of 20 CEOs from the U.S. and Brazil, and meets twice a year to make recommendations to the two governments on ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil economic relationship.

CEO Forum meetings were held at the U.S. Department of Energy's Research Support Facility – the nation's largest net-zero energy building designed to showcase energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies – located on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) campus.  Locke and Froman also toured the Science and Technology Facility on the NREL campus, highlighting the role of public-private partnership in research and development and NREL’s collaboration with Brazilian government and industry.

Following the Forum, the group participated in an event hosted by the 2010 Biennial of the Americas – an international event celebrating the culture, ideas and people of the Western Hemisphere. Throughout the month of July, Denver is welcoming national and international visitors for a cross-cultural experience bridging and unifying the artistic, intellectual and political progress of the hemisphere's 35 nations.  

Remarks