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Blog Entries from March 2012

India Trade Mission: Day 1 - Commercial Dialogue

Secretary of Commerce John Bryson meets with Indian Minister of Commerce Anand Sharma (credit: Rakesh Malhotra, Department of State)

Today marked the official start of Secretary Bryson's five-day trade mission to India. In the morning he met with Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Aluwalia to discuss ways to strengthen the U.S.-India commercial relationship. He also spoke at an infrastructure roundtable discussion sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). India is planning to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure development over the next five years, and U.S. companies are in a unique position to offer their skills and expertise in partnership with Indian firms.

Secretary Bryson also witnessed the signing of two U.S. Trade and Development Agency grants supporting U.S. business investments in India’s energy infrastructure development. The first grant will support a feasibility study for Azure Power, a private sector solar power developer based in India. The second grant will finance a feasibility study for CESC Limited for the implementation of smart grid technologies across their electricity distribution networks in Kolkata, India.

During his address at a luncheon hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), Secretary Bryson announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce and India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry have taken steps to renew the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue for an additional two-year term, until March 2014. The Commercial Dialogue is a key component of the bilateral commercial relationship and provides a forum for both the U.S. and Indian governments and private sectors to collaborate on issues of mutual interest, ensuring that the trade relationship is “win-win” for both countries. The agenda has been expanded to cover new areas of engagement on topics such as standards–including smart grids, intelligent transportation systems–and sustainable manufacturing.

Spotlight on Commerce: Dee Alexander, Senior Adviser on Native American Affairs

Dee Alexander, Senior Advisor on Native American Affairs

On December 19, 2011 Secretary of Commerce John Bryson appointed Dee Alexander as his Senior Adviser on Native American Affairs. As the Department’s Tribal Consultation Official, Alexander’s principal responsibility is implementing the Department’s Tribal Coordination and Consultation Policy, per President Obama’s Executive Order 13175 (PDF), which ensures meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of policies that have tribal implications.

Alexander works closely with the Minority Business Development Agency and other Commerce bureaus to promote the Secretary’s vision for job creation and economic growth on American Indian and Alaska Native communities. As the Senior Adviser on Native American Affairs, Alexander is housed in the Secretary’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.

While speaking at the National Congress of American Indians 2012 Executive Council, Secretary Bryson noted that one of his goals as Secretary of Commerce is to expand the relationship that already exists between the Department and Tribal Nations.

“This administration is committed to strengthening the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian Country. That’s why I am pleased to have Dee Alexander, a member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe, join the team as my senior adviser for Native American Affairs,” Bryson said. “Dee’s leadership has already been critical in shaping Census policy that recognizes the important place of Native Americans in the United States. I am confident that she will continue to work to create economic opportunities for all Americans, including First Americans.”

Autodesk: Technology to Build India’s Infrastructure

Paul McRoberts, Vice President of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business

Guest blog post by Paul McRoberts, Vice President of Autodesk’s Infrastructure Business

Ed note: Autodesk, Inc., works in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries-including the last 17 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects-use Autodesk software to design, visualize and simulate their ideas. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art software for global markets.

Autodesk is honored to be a representative on this trade mission to India. On behalf of Autodesk, I thank the U.S. Commerce Department and Secretary Bryson for organizing the trip and inviting Autodesk.

This trade mission is focused on infrastructure business development. With 1.2 billion people, India is the second most populous country in the world. India’s population is expected to overtake China’s in the next 10 to 15 years. The country needs to add 25 million homes a year to meet current demand, according to McKinsey and Co. There is also a pressing need for clean water, reliable power, transportation, sustainability standards and more.

In short, infrastructure is a key criterion for India to realize its economic growth potential. The Indian government’s 12th Five Year Plan states that the infrastructure sector will require an investment of about USD 1 trillion. Autodesk software is already being used to design many of the nation’s ambitious infrastructure projects, including:

  • The Mumbai Monorail, the nation’s first monorail. Once completed, it will be the world’s second-longest Monorail corridor. This sustainable transportation system will alleviate congestion in India’s most populous city.
  • Navi Mumbai International Airport, which is expected to have Phase 1 operational by 2014. There is great demand for this additional international airport to service the Mumbai metropolitan region. It is expected to handle 50-55 million passengers annually.

Autodesk has offices in New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. We also have over 100 Indian resellers. Together, we work closely with Indian customers across many industries, including architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing and media and entertainment. 

Going into the trade mission, Autodesk is looking forward to productive meetings with government agencies and private companies. We strive to be a trusted technology advisor for more infrastructure projects in India.

Off to India – On My First Trade Mission, Opportunities Abound

Secretary Bryson will meet with senior Indian government officials to advocate and promote export and investment opportunities in America

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson

This weekend I am departing for India, where I will be leading a trade mission with 16 American companies. This will be my first trade mission and I am really looking forward to it. I will be meeting with senior level Indian government officials to advocate for U.S. export opportunities in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, and promote investment opportunities in America–both key priorities of President Obama and this Administration.

India’s growth over the last decade has resulted in increased demand for products and services from countries like the United States.  America’s exports to India have grown from less than $4 billion in 2001 to over $21 billion in 2011. Going forward, India is expected to spend over $1 trillion on infrastructure development over the next five years, and a growing consuming class could lead to increased demand for a range of consumer goods and services.

Among other things, this trade mission supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to create more good-paying jobs. Last week, on the two year anniversary of the creation of the NEI, the Commerce Department released new data showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011, and the value of U.S. exports exceed $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

Spotlight on Commerce: Nancy Potok, Associate Director for Demographic Programs

Nancy Potok, Associate Director for Demographic Programs

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.

I direct the Demographic programs at the Census Bureau. We calculate annual population estimates for each area of the US, calculate the official poverty rate numbers, and work with data from the decennial census and the American Community Survey to create numerous reports and products that inform our nation about the changing characteristics of our growing population. We also conduct surveys on behalf of other Federal agencies such as the National Crime Victims Survey, which the Bureau of Justice Statistics uses to calculate the crime rate, the Current Population Survey, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to calculate the unemployment rate each month, and many others.  One unsung area of the Census is our strong international program. That group, in cooperation with USAID and other agencies, offers technical assistance to countries on how to set up their own scientific and objective statistical activities and conduct censuses and surveys of their population.

The President has laid out a vision to build an America that lasts, and the Census Bureau contributes to that future. Much of the data that we produce is used by state and local Economic Development Authorities to bring businesses to their area.  Businesses use the information to make relocation decisions and to target their marketing appropriately.  We also report, at various geographic levels such as states, counties, cities, and small towns, on educational attainment, income, poverty, how people make various use of government assistance programs, and other critical information needed to inform our communities on how we as a nation are doing and where we need to invest our resources to strengthen our future.  Without the data collected by the Census Bureau, we would not have the information we need to grow our economy, create jobs, improve our schools, build roads, and other activities critical to our civil society.

I grew up in Detroit, but have been living in the Washington, DC area for many years now. I earned my Masters in Administrative Science from the University of Alabama and then became a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Transportation. I went on to earn my Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the George Washington University. Since I enjoy school and learning so much, I’ve returned as an adjunct professor there, teaching in the Trachtenberg School of Public policy and Public Administration.

2010 Census Shows Asians are Fastest-Growing Race Group

Graph of the Percent Growth of the Asian Population 2000 to 2010

Commerce's Census Bureau has released a 2010 Census brief, The Asian Population: 2010 (PDF), that shows the Asian population grew faster than any other race group over the last decade. The population that identified as Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, grew by 45.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, while those who identified as Asian alone grew by 43.3 percent. Both populations grew at a faster rate than the total U.S. population, which increased by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Out of the total U.S. population, 14.7 million people, or 4.8 percent, were Asian alone. In addition, 2.6 million people, or another 0.9 percent, reported Asian in combination with one or more other races. Together, these two groups totaled 17.3 million people. Thus, 5.6 percent of all people in the United States identified as Asian, either alone or in combination with one or more other races.  Census press release

Spotlight on Commerce: Teresa Rea, Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property (USPTO)

Teresa Rea on podium

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 Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, I work alongside David Kappos in advising the President of the United States, and other members of the Obama administration, on matters relating to Intellectual Property (IP) policy. When wearing my Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hat, I help oversee the process by which our nation grants IP rights for cutting-edge innovations and technological breakthroughs. By protecting brands and ideas through trademarks and patents, companies are more readily able to attract investments, hire more employees, spur additional research & development, distribute their products in the marketplace and spawn new growth in new industries.

Making America a Top Tourist Destination: Commerce and Interior Keep Up Efforts to Increase Visitation

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar

This month, more than a million visitors from across the country and around the world are coming to our nation’s capital to see the cherry blossom trees that bloom each spring among some of America’s most treasured historical landmarks. From the purchase of airline tickets to dining in area restaurants to staying in hotels, these visitors are infusing millions of dollars into the community and supporting local businesses.
 
As we search for ways to grow our nation’s economy, we must not overlook the travel and tourism industry as a source for economic opportunity. According to data released by the Commerce Department earlier today, tourism spending increased 8.1 percent in 2011 and supported an additional 103,000 jobs, for a total of 7.6 million jobs.
 
A big factor in the increase was a surge in international visitors to our country: in 2011, 2.5 million more international visitors came to the United States compared with the previous year. These international visitors spent an all-time record of $153 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services.
 
As this data reveals, the travel and tourism industry is one of the most important engines of our economy—in fact, it is our number-one service export. That is why President Obama recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness, which charged us with leading efforts to develop recommendations for a National Travel and Tourism Strategy to promote travel throughout the United States.

How does Commerce’s Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigation Process Work?

In the next few weeks, the Department of Commerce is scheduled to release a series of determinations regarding antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations. In light of this, we wanted to share an explanation of the process.

Following U.S. law, regulation, and consistent with international trade rules, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) has the authority to conduct investigations of the alleged subsidization or dumping of foreign products sold in the United States.   

If a U.S. industry believes that it is being injured by dumped or subsidized imports, it may request the imposition of antidumping or countervailing duties by filing a petition with both the Department of Commerce and the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). Import Administration is the agency within Commerce’s International Trade Administration that investigates foreign producers and governments to determine whether dumping or subsidization has occurred and calculates the amount of dumping or subsidization.

If Commerce determines that a petition satisfies all requirements under the law to initiate an investigation, the agency will publish a Notice of Initiation in the Federal Register. The Notice of Initiation will lay out a general history of the proceeding, including dates of official filings as well as the scope of the investigation, explain how Commerce went about making a determination of industry support, and details how the petitioners went about estimating the existence of dumping or subsidization.

Secretary Bryson Announces 16 Companies Joining his First Trade Mission to India

Secretary Bryson Announces 16 Companies Joining his First Trade Mission to India (State Dept. image)

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today announced the 16 companies that will join him on a business development mission to India, his first as Commerce Secretary. During the mission, Secretary Bryson will meet with senior-level Indian government officials to advocate for U.S. export opportunities in India’s rapidly expanding infrastructure sector, and promote investment opportunities in America – both key priorities of the Obama Administration. The mission will take place March 25-30 with stops in New Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai.  

The trade mission supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to create more good-paying jobs. Last week, on the two year anniversary of the creation of the NEI, the Commerce Department released new data showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011, and the value of U.S. exports exceed $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history. The mission also supports efforts to increase investment in the United States through SelectUSA, America’s first national investment advocacy program. In addition, the mission will promote a new national tourism strategy focused on creating American jobs by becoming even more welcoming to visitors from around the world.

“This mission builds on President Obama’s historic visit to India two years ago, when he said before the Indian Parliament that the U.S.-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. I couldn’t agree more,” said Bryson. “I am looking forward to connecting American business leaders to new opportunities in India’s rising infrastructure sector, and encouraging Indian businesses and individuals to invest in and visit the United States. India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and its large market presents an important opportunity for U.S. companies to sell their goods and services to some of the 95% of consumers who live beyond our borders and boost job creation at home.”  Full release