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Blog Entries from March 2012

India Trade Mission: Day 5 - Welcoming Indian Travelers to Visit the United States

Secretary Bryson addressing luncheon about the valuable experience American companies bring to Indian infrastructure projects

Commerce Secretary John Bryson today concluded his five-day business development mission in Mumbai, the commercial center of India. Today’s visit focused on promoting tourism for Indian citizens who want to visit America, as well as exploring opportunities for U.S. companies to promote their technologies and services in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector to support job creation in both countries.

Bryson had the opportunity to participate in the official launch of the Visit USA Committee India (VUSACOM), a public-private partnership whose sole mission is to promote and increase travel and tourism from India to the United States. VUSACOM members include travel agents, tour operators, service providers, and U.S. product representatives. In 2011, the United States had a $2.2 billion surplus in travel and tourism from India, and total spending by Indians traveling to the U.S. was almost $4.6 billion in 2011, up 15 percent from 2010. In addition, the number of Indian travelers to the U.S. reached a record 663,000 in 2011.

In addition to meeting with government officials in Mumbai, Bryson hosted a luncheon with companies that help finance infrastructure projects as well as a roundtable with companies that are involved in energy-related infrastructure projects. In both, he talked with U.S. and Indian business leaders about the importance of the U.S.-India commercial relationship and he encouraged development of new business opportunities between the members of the delegation and their Indian counterparts. He also talked about the great progress India has made in opening its markets to U.S. companies, but encouraged continued consultations to resolve issues such as market access barriers and intellectual property protection.

EHDD Could Not Have Asked For A More Inspiring and Productive Day!

Jennifer Devlin, Managing Principal, EHDD

Guest blog post by Jennifer Devlin, Managing Principal, EHDD

Ed. Note: EHDD is a San Francisco-based architecture and planning firm that pioneered green building in California.

We joined the India trade mission because it is a wonderful opportunity to mark the the opening of EHDD's Mumbai office this month. This week, the meetings set up by the U.S. Commercial Service with the Department of Commerce have been outstanding and have led to some key leads for new work. To share a quick story of what has already come of this visit:
 
We met with Amity University representatives from their Noida campus on Monday in Delhi. After an exciting conversation about the extensive expansion plans at Amity, and knowing we were on our way to Jaipur, they invited us to make a presentation to their students and colleagues at Amity University, Jaipur. Upon our arrival in Jaipur, Preetha Nair excitedly showed us the front page of The Times of India where our lecture was announced with "limited seating available"!

We took the morning off from the official business of the delegation and visited Amity University's Jaipur campus, where we were welcomed by Vice Chancellor Singh, his deputies, faculty and students. We spent time in a seminar format answering very challenging questions from the architecture students about climate change, the Kyoto Protocol and the efficacy of passive design strategies in buildings. We were imminently impressed with water research presented by a faculty member from the civil engineering department. After our lecture, to some 400 students and faculty, titled, "The Future of Green Building and Planning on University Campuses," we shared more time with students and toured campus buildings.

We could not have asked for a more inspiring and productive day! And this was only one experience-there have been countless more.

Spotlight on Commerce: Ellen Herbst, Senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary

Ellen Herbst, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

As Senior Adviser to the Deputy Secretary, I support accomplishment of the mission of all of our operating units.  My job requires a combination of problem-solving, coordinating across bureaus and offices, and connecting people to the resources they need to successfully deliver results to the American people.

Much of the time, this involves working to improve the way we do things–how to be more effective and efficient in our processes-and measuring our progress towards our goals. The work is always interesting because I get to work with very dedicated people who deliver results across the broad portfolio of the Commerce Department. The people of the Department of Commerce are delivering results in areas as diverse as supporting the growth of regional economic clusters; managing grants to build broadband networks; providing severe weather warnings earlier than ever before; delivering cutting edge measurement science and protecting our business’ intellectual property.

I have been working for 32 years and have been very fortunate in my career. My good fortune started with parents who supported all three of their daughters by setting high standards; by instilling a strong work ethic, perseverance and a “can do” attitude and by teaching us to live by the Golden Rule. I was fortunate to enjoy the process of learning and receive a wonderful formal education. And finally, I have been fortunate in the support of many mentors, both formal and informal, throughout my career.

India Trade Mission: Day 4 - Promoting Business Investment in the United States

Secretary Bryson tours the Mumbai International Airport Expansion Project

Commerce Secretary Bryson was in Mumbai today, the third and final city in his business development mission to India. In addition to exploring opportunities for the 16 U.S. businesses on the mission to promote their technologies and services in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, the visit focused on the president’s SelectUSA initiative.

In the morning, Secretary Bryson and the delegates toured a new terminal being constructed at Mumbai International Airport and met with airport management. Several U.S. companies have provided services and equipment to the airport, playing a major role in helping to modernize one of India’s busiest airports. One of the firms on the trip, CH2M Hill, has been providing Program Management services at the Mumbai International Airport since the project started in 2007. In their role, CH2M Hill optimised the master plan, prepared detailed elements for tendering and provided inputs for the selection of the contractor and various sub-contractors. They have also provided oversight to ensure that both the cost and schedule are effectively managed as the construction progresses. This has been accomplished by providing a mix of specialist aviation experts from the US and local trained resources.

Following the tour, Bryson met with Indian industry leaders and investors to talk about SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America. India, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, is a priority market under the SelectUSA initiative. Bryson also delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), where he talked about how the U.S.-India bilateral relationship is stronger than ever, and encouraged Indian investment in the U.S. as a means of fostering economic growth and job creation in both countries. In his remarks, he also highlighted the importance of this week’s renewal of the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue, as well as moving forward in discussions to establish a Bilateral Investment Treaty, which would support greater stability and protections for investors in both countries. Following his remarks, the Secretary formally inaugurated the U.S-India Investors Forum (USIIF), a group of 35 Indian CEOs interested in investing in the United States.

$200 Million Post-Disaster Funding to Help Jumpstart Regional Economies

Official EDA seal

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

When a natural disaster hits a community—whether it is a flood, a tornado, or any other kind of disaster—it does more than wreak havoc on homes and personal lives. It also has devastating, long-term effects on the economic life of those communities, destroying vital infrastructure, such as public utilities, transportation links, and communications systems on which businesses depend.

I’m happy to announce today that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is making available $200 million in funds for communities affected by disasters in fiscal year 2011. These funds are designed to mitigate those long-term effects on business infrastructure and allow communities to bring their economies, and the jobs that come with them, back to life.

It’s no secret that the funding EDA provides is vital to ensuring the long-term economic health of communities affected by a disaster. In Joplin, Missouri, for example, EDA provided $341,000 after that community was devastated by tornadoes in 2010. Those funds allowed the state to hire economic recovery coordinators who were instrumental in building strong public-private partnerships that have been critical to restoring the economic vitality of that region.

LORD Corporation Joins Secretary Bryson on India Trade Mission

Categories:
William Austin, Director of Government Affairs, LORD Corporation

Guest blog post by William Austin, Director of Government Affairs, LORD Corporation

ED Note: LORD Corporation designs, manufactures and markets mechanical devices and electromechanical systems to control vibration, motion, and noise; formulates, produces and sells general purpose and specialty adhesives, coatings, and electronic materials; and develops products and systems utilizing magnetically responsive technologies.

We are honored to participate in U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson’s first trade mission to India. With global corporate headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, our company has plans to grow its business in India, and Secretary Bryson’s trade mission is helping us connect to new opportunities and develop new critical relationships. The agenda has enabled us to interact with Indian government and business leaders to gain a better understanding of where emerging market needs intersect with our solutions and products.

Secretary Bryson and his team have put together a packed agenda that is opening doors to senior-level decision-makers in this dynamic and growing market.  With stops in New Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai, we are meeting with a variety of companies and government executives. We are learning more about emerging opportunities through these sessions, and building new relationships that will create value for our presence in India.

India Trade Mission: Day 3 - Bringing the Business Development Mission to Jaipur

Secretary Bryson Planting a Tree at a new Mahindra World City Development

In a first ever visit to Jaipur by a U.S. Commerce Secretary, Secretary Bryson led his 16-business trade delegation there to see first-hand the vast business opportunities available in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector and to promote bilateral cooperation on innovation.

Upon arrival in Jaipur, Secretary Bryson and the delegation met with senior Rajasthan state government officials and business leaders to explore how U.S. technology and products can support Rajasthan’s infrastructure development goals. Bryson said he is confident that trade between the U.S. and Rajasthan will grow substantially as a result of this mission.

He also gave remarks before a group of Rajasthan industry representatives, where he discussed trade and investment opportunities that benefit both the United States and India. Bryson said the bilateral investment relationship between the U.S. and India is stronger than ever. U.S. direct investment in India is now over $27 billion across a wide range of sectors including services, manufacturing, information and technology. At the same time, India is a fast-growing source of foreign direct investment into the United States. Indian companies employ tens of thousands of American workers in professional, technical, and scientific services – as well as other industries. Bryson welcomed this increase in foreign direct investment in American companies and economy.

Asia Pacific Business Outlook: Twenty Five Years and Many More Opportunities

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez speaks during the APBO Conference (Photo USC Marshall School of Business)

Guest blog post by Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez 

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

This is my second year keynoting the 25-year old USC Marshall School’s Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO) Conference. It was great to see the diversity of participants, from representatives of businesses across the United States, as well as non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, and trade associations from both the United States and countries in Asia and Latin America.

It seems as though it’s also a reunion and convergence of sorts of 16 Senior Commercial Officers (SCOs) from Asia and local Commercial Service trade specialists. For the first time, we have the SCOs from Brazil and Russia joining the conference, contributing their insider knowledge and providing market briefings in one-on-one counseling sessions.

During my address yesterday, I was able to outline our ongoing priorities here at the International Trade Administration and across the Obama Administration as well as provide updates on some major accomplishments achieved in the past few years.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the President’s National Export Initiative and good things are happening. Last year, U.S. exports surpassed $2 trillion for the first time in history. They supported nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of more than a million when compared to 2009 numbers. So the formula is pretty clear: exports benefit jobs, businesses and the national economy. That’s why we’ve got to continue to increase U.S. exports.

India Trade Mission: Day 2 - Promoting U.S.-India Business Partnerships

Secretary Bryson rides New Delhi's new Metro Airport Express line

Secretary John Bryson promoted partnerships between U.S. and Indian businesses as he discussed the U.S.-India trade relationship during meetings with several Indian government officials in New Delhi today, the second day of his five-day trade mission to India.

“It’s clear that if American and Indian businesses work together, we can build India’s infrastructure in a way that brings inclusive growth, greater prosperity, and job creation in both countries,” Bryson said. “U.S. companies stand ready to help meet India’s infrastructure development objectives, provided our firms have market access for both goods and services.”

In the morning, Secretary Bryson gave remarks at a breakfast sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce and U.S.-India Business Council. Bryson reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to working with the Indian government to level the playing field for U.S. firms, thereby helping to pave the way for more commercial collaborations.

Bryson and the delegation participated in a GEMS/infrastructure-focused GEMS hosted by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. The discussion focused on infrastructure procurement and investment opportunities in states and GEMS cities involved in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project. He said one of his most important goals this week is to gain a better understanding of the full commercial potential of India’s many regions. Bryson traveled to the airport on the new Metro Airport Express Line (photo)–an example of New Delhi's growing infrastructure sector–to fly to Jaipur, where he will see DMIC projects first hand.  Full release

Spotlight on Commerce: Deborah Cohn, Commissioner for Trademarks

Deborah Cohn, Commissioner for Trademarks

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of an America Built to Last.

As Commissioner for Trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), I oversee all aspects of the USPTO’s Trademarks organization including policy, operations and budget relating to trademark examination, registration and maintenance. The main functions of the Trademark office are the examination of applications for registration and the maintenance of those registrations. Trademarks are an important form of intellectual property that can be a company’s most valuable asset. Trademarks also serve a vital function in protecting consumers from confusion about the source of goods and services in the marketplace. 

I first joined the USPTO in 1983 as an examining attorney. I was extremely fortunate because trademark law was an area that I enjoyed in law school and government service was very appealing to me. At that time, the majority of examining attorneys were men, but today, 67 percent of our examining attorneys are women! This is due in part to an increasing number of women in law over the past few decades, but the high percentage of women is also due to the flexibility here at the USPTO which allows employees to successfully balance work and family life. Telework and flexible schedules allow employees to create the environment that works best for them.

Women’s History Month means a great deal to me. As women’s roles have changed and expanded, many occupations that were traditionally filled primarily by men have benefited from the great talent and hard work of women. Here at the USPTO, I have been lucky enough to work with some terrific leaders who happen to be women. For example, my former boss, former Commissioner Lynne Beresford, was a great mentor and role model.