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Blog Entries from May 2012

China Travel Log 3: Secretary Bryson Travels to Nanjing, China

Nanjing Municipal Party Secretary Yang Weize and Secretary Bryson, talking while overlooking Nanjing

With the Strategic and Economic Dialogue complete, Secretary Bryson traveled to Nanjing this weekend for meetings with Chinese provincial officials to discuss how the U.S. and China can continue to work together to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries.

Nanjing, in eastern China, is the capital of Jiangsu province. With a population of over 8 million, the city is an important cultural, educational and economic center, located a little over an hour from Shanghai.

Secretary Bryson's weekend began with a meeting with Nanjing Municipal Party Secretary Yang Weize, where Secretary Yang spoke about the history and culture of the city that was one of the four ancient capitals of China. Secretary Yang also highlighted the city's commitment to innovation and education. Over 800,000 students study at colleges and universities in the city.

Secretary Bryson expressed his thanks for the hospitality he has been shown in the city and his eagerness to learn more about the future of Nanjing, a city where imports from the United States are on the rise.

The two also spoke about how Nanjing is set to host the Youth Olympics in 2014, the second time the games will be held.

China Travel Log 2: Economic Talks Continue in Beijing

Secretary Bryson's visit to China continued today in Beijing where he started the morning with a breakfast with U.S. and Chinese CEOs.  The breakfast was led by Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner, with United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Ambassador Gary Locke also joining.  The group discussed the importance of the U.S - China economic relationship and what can be done to continue the growth of trade and investment between both countries.  Bilateral trade between the U.S. and China reached over $500 billion last year, with U.S. merchandise exports reaching $100 billion for the first time. 

The Secretary's day continued as he joined Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner for separate meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.  Bryson then joined Ambassador Kirk for lunch with their Chinese counterpart, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming. 

Throughout the S&ED, Bryson has stressed the importance of the U.S. - China economic relationship and how it is critical that both sides follow through on commitments made not just at this S&ED, but at prior and future talks. Or as Bryson put it, "we must work harder... we must be bold... and we must follow through." 

After the government meetings, Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Bryson participated in an event with the American Chamber of Commerce in China and the U.S. China Business Council.  There Kirk and Bryson heard straight from U.S. business leaders doing business here in China.  They discussed opportunities, challenges, and what the U.S. government can do to support increased exports from the United States to China.  

ASU’s Dr. Michael M. Crow on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Economic Development Administration seal

Guest blog post by Nish Acharya, director of the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This week, close to 100 entrepreneurs, innovators, small business owners, and stakeholders joined me for an in-depth conference call facilitated by the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship with Dr. Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University (ASU) and a member of the President’s National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). This was the first in a series of forums to highlight the work of NACIE, spotlight some of our nation’s most dynamic leaders, and share best practices and insight with potential applicants for the upcoming third round of the multiagency i6 Challenge.

During the conversation, Dr. Crow emphasized that for an institution to successfully spur innovation and entrepreneurship, its leadership must first purposefully decide to make entrepreneurship part of their core competency. This will empower the institution to put its time, energy, and resources towards fostering innovation and entrepreneurship broadly.

China Travel Log 1: Secretary Bryson Participates in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing

This week, Secretary Bryson is in China on his second trip to the country as Commerce Secretary. His first stop is in Beijing where he is participating in the fourth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), along with Secretary of State Clinton, Treasury Secretary Geithner, U.S. Trade Representative Kirk and other U.S. government officials. 

The Dialogue began this morning, with a joint opening session with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The Dialogue then was split up between the Strategic track and the Economic track, with Secretary Bryson participating in the Economic track sessions.

Throughout the sessions, Secretary Bryson stressed that the U.S. and China commercial relationship will only realize its full potential if trade and competition is fair and open.

The day’s activities ended with all participants coming together for a joint dinner with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. This was the second time Secretary Bryson and Vice President Xi have met. In February of this year, Vice President Xi traveled to the United States, where Secretary Bryson joined him in both Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, where they discussed ways that the two countries can cooperate to establish a level playing field, generate economic growth and create good paying jobs.

Secretary Bryson's visit continues tomorrow in Beijing where he will meet with U.S and Chinese CEOs, as well as participate in separate meetings with President Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao. Later in the week the Secretary is scheduled to travel to Nanjing and Shanghai to continue his talks with Chinese provincial government officials and business leaders to discuss how we can continue to work together to improve and grow our economic relationship.

Emphasizing Efforts to Improve Manufacturing Competitiveness

Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank listens to members of the Council on Competitiveness Executive Board

Guest blog post by Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank

Yesterday, I spoke to the Council on Competitiveness Executive Board about how the Commerce Department, working with the National Economic Council, leads the administration’s efforts across the federal government to promote a vibrant manufacturing sector in the United States.

Manufacturing is vitally important to supporting an economy that is built to last. Manufacturing accounts for 90 percent of our patents, 70 percent of private sector R&D and 60 percent of our exports–including a record $1.3 trillion in goods exported last year. The manufacturing sector has grown strongly over the past two years. After decades of losing manufacturing jobs, the manufacturing sector has been adding jobs for over two years. In the past 25 months manufacturing has added nearly a half million new jobs and 120,000 of those came in the first three months of this year. Importantly, these tend to be high-paying jobs with good benefits.

Even with these improvements in the manufacturing sector, there is much more work to do to ensure America remains competitive. The Department of Commerce recently released a report, “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States,” that discusses some of the challenges the U.S. faces in retaining its global leadership, particularly in manufacturing, and lays out a policy agenda to address these challenges.

Commerce has long worked on this issue through its Manufacturing Extension Partnership at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which supports centers in every state that consult with companies facing technological problems and puts them in touch with scientists and engineers who can help solve those problems. For every dollar of federal investment, the MEP generates around $30 in new sales growth. This translates into $3.6 billion in new sales annually.

Some of the more recent efforts within the Commerce Department to build a policy environment in which manufacturing can flourish include:

Commerce's USPTO Honors Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees

Under Secretary Kappos, inductee Barbara Liskov (mentioned in blog post) and Deputy Director General of the Innovation and Technology Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization Jim Pooley.

Our everyday lives are bettered by visionary inventors, and we were reminded of that on May 2, 2012, when ten new inductees to the National Inventors Hall of Fame were honored by David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The 40th annual induction ceremony took place at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, the site of the historic Patent Office where the Hall of Fame’s first inductee, Thomas Edison, received his patents.

Most of the 2012 honorees were on hand, including Barbara Liskov, whose innovations in the organization of computer programming can be found in almost all modern programming languages; C. Kumar N. Patel, whose carbon dioxide laser developed while at Bell Labs is an essential component in the medical, industrial and military arenas; and Gary Starkweather, who while with the Xerox PARC facility invented the laser printer. They were joined on stage by 21 previous inductees.

Three honorees were inducted posthumously, including Mária Telkes, known as the “Sun Queen” for her pioneering work in solar energy; and Steve Jobs, whose influence spanned personal computing, film animation, consumer technology, and digital publishing.

A list of all ten honorees and their accomplishments can be found on the USPTO web site.

2010 Census Statistics Showed Asians Were Fastest-Growing Race Group

Director Groves at Profile America Forum

Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the decennial census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities.

Yesterday, the Census Bureau held "Profile America Forum on the Asian Population," a presentation on the release of a 2010 Census brief on the Asian population in the United States.

Secretary Bryson Declares May World Trade Month

Photo of manufacturing materials at Port of Baltimore)

Today, Commerce Secretary Bryson issued a statement in honor of May 2012 World Trade Month, which is marked annually by a series of state and local events across the country to promote U.S. trade relationships and provide resources to U.S. businesses looking to export their goods and services around the world.  World Trade Week, which falls in the third week of May, is recognized by a presidential proclamation annually.

Two years ago, the president set a goal of doubling our nation’s exports in five years through the National Export Initiative (NEI). On the second anniversary of the NEI, we announced that 1.2 million more Americans have export-supported jobs due to U.S. exports increasing by one-third from 2009 to 2011.  This is particularly good news because export-related jobs–like manufacturing jobs–pay higher than average.

To keep this momentum, this administration is committed to giving American workers and businesses a fair shot in the global economy by supporting trade agreements that will open up markets to U.S. companies, working to aggressively investigate unfair trade practices taking place anywhere in the world, and continuing to work to ensure that our workers and businesses are competing on a level playing field.

Bringing Research to Market to Advance American Manufacturing

An LED streetlight installation by EcoFit Lighting of Lenexa, Kansas, working with the Advanced Manufacturing Institute, an EDA University Center. (Photo: EcoFit Lighting)

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

For U.S. manufacturers today, questions abound that might have been simpler to answer in times gone by, such as: What is the best way to commercialize a new technology? How can a new process be incorporated into a new production system? What locations will best service a national or international clientele? Where can a cadre of technically-trained workers be found?

For answers to such questions, manufacturers in Kansas are fortunate to be able to turn to the Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI) at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Over the past decade, this organization—which helps businesses of all sizes, from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies—has undertaken projects in 66 of Kansas’ 105 counties, helping many companies to grow, prosper and succeed.

NOAA Near-Term Weather Forecasts Get Powerful Boost from New Computer Model

Rapid Refresh (or RAP, lower right) performed better than the older RUC model (lower left) in predicting severe weather conditions that occurred in the Midwest on June 21, 2011 (upper right).

Research yields new tool to achieve a Weather-Ready Nation

Starting today, Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is using a sophisticated new weather forecast computer model to improve predictions of quickly developing severe weather events including thunderstorms, winter storms and aviation hazards such as clear air turbulence.

The Rapid Refresh now provides NOAA's most rapidly updated weather forecast, replacing an older model that served a similar function. The Rapid Refresh, developed by NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo. and NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in Camp Springs, Md., updates every hour with a new forecast extending out 18 hours for North America. Such forecasts are especially important in aviation, where fast-developing weather conditions can affect safety and efficiency, but they are equally important for severe weather and energy-related forecasting. | Full release