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Blog Entries from October 5, 2010

Obama Administration Official Promotes U.S. Commercial Interests in Iraq

Under Secretary Sánchez (left) and U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey (right) with interpreterUnder Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez today emphasized President Obama’s commitment to promoting strong bilateral, economic, cultural, and educational ties with Iraq during his meeting with Iraq’s Minister of Trade Dr. Safa Al-Din Muhammad Al-Safi. Sánchez and Al-Safi discussed key policy changes that could improve the commercial climate and promote U.S. commercial interests in Iraq. Sánchez was joined in Iraq by representatives from 14 U.S. companies that traveled to Baghdad for the first U.S. trade mission to Iraq since the end of combat operations.

“The American and Iraqi private sectors are rich and diverse, brimming with knowledge and a strong work ethic,” Sánchez said. “The U.S. companies on this delegation will interact with the Iraqi public and private sectors, and walk away from this historic trade mission knowing what opportunities exist for them in Iraq.”

Iraq’s GDP has more than doubled since 2006, soaring from $57 billion to $112 billion in 2009. Iraq’s government has budgeted more than $80 billion for infrastructure development, focusing on a number of large projects relating to construction, highways, railways, telecommunications, and security and defense. This trade mission provides U.S. participants with first-hand market information and forms the basis for future economic cooperation.  Release  |  White House blog on trade mission  |  More on the Iraqi trade mission

Commerce Department Awards $9.1 Million to Enhance the Global Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturers

Image of MEP logoCommerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced $9.1 million in cooperative agreements through its Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) for 22 projects designed to enhance the productivity, technological performance and global competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.  

Granted through competitive processes to nonprofit organizations, the funding will help encourage the creation and adoption of improved technologies and provide resources to develop new products that respond to changing market needs.

"A vibrant manufacturing sector drives American innovation and is central to our economic growth and global competitiveness," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. "With the right investments, we can continue to create highly valued manufacturing jobs building great products and sell them around the world."

The proposals selected represent a variety of compelling ideas for helping small and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers tackle a complex set of needs with cost-effective and innovative solutions.

For more details on the award recipients and the MEP program, visit http://www.nist.gov/mep/mep_100510.cfm.  Read more

Commerce Seeks Comment on Protecting Copyrighted Works on the Internet

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force today issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking comment from all interested stakeholders on the protection of copyrighted works online and the relationship between copyright law and innovation in the Internet economy. 

Considering the vital importance of the Internet in today’s society, the Department of Commerce has made it a top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation.  The initiative on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Internet economy seeks to identify policies that will: 

  1. Generate benefits for rights holders of creative works accessible online and make recommendations with respect to those who infringe on those rights;
  2. Enable the robust and free flow of information to facilitate innovation and growth of the Internet economy; and
  3. Ensure transparency and due process in cooperative efforts to build confidence in the Internet as a means of distributing copyrighted works.

The comments gathered through this NOI will be used by the Internet Policy Task Force in preparing a report that will contribute to the administration’s domestic policy and international engagement in the area of online copyright protection.

Commerce Makes Comments Publicly Available on How Government Can Support the Advancement of Innovation and Technologies

Each year, the federal government makes substantial investments in research and development that takes place at our nation’s colleges and universities.  In 2008, federally funded university investments totaled over $31 billion.  Together with academia and the private sector, the Obama administration is working to support research and development and drive new innovations and technologies to market to create U.S. jobs and economic growth.

Recently, the Commerce Department hosted several University Innovation Forums in collaboration with university presidents addressing the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation and the commercialization of federally funded research.  These forums built upon a national dialogue Secretary Locke began in February when he engaged university leaders and key stakeholders in a discussion about how the Obama administration can help move ideas from the lab to the marketplace. From these efforts, the Commerce Department is gathering input on best practices in university technology commercialization and making recommendations for federal government policy.