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Blog Entries from 2014

Expanding U.S.-China Commercial Relations Remains a Top Priority

ITA Trade Specialists Meet with U.S. Exporters at the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Greater China and Gateway Countries forum

The U.S.-China commercial relationship remains one of great success and growing potential, despite continuing challenges.

That’s the major takeaway after two weeks of heavy focus on China at the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA).

It began with the DISCOVER GLOBAL MARKETS: Greater China and Gateway Countries forum Oct. 7-8 in New York City, during which our global team provided export guidance to more than 300 business representatives looking to export to the region.

Then this week, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Stefan M. Selig visited Shanghai and Beijing in advance of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) high level meetings that the Department of Commerce will host along with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in the United States later this year.

While in China, Under Secretary Selig participated in JCCT Vice-Ministerial meetings with China’s Ministry of Commerce, and co-chaired the JCCT U.S.-China Industries and Competitiveness Dialogue with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Robert Holleyman and China’s Vice Minister of Information and Industry Technology Liu Lihua.

Humacyte Excited to Participate in Department of Commerce Trade Mission with Secretary Pritzker to Japan and South Korea

Dr. Ted Lithgow, Chief Operating Officer, Humacyte, Inc.

Guest blog post by Dr. Ted Lithgow, Chief Operating Officer, Humacyte, Inc.

ED Note: Humacyte, Inc., a privately held company, is a medical research, discovery and development company that bioengineers novel human tissue replacements for key applications in regenerative medicine and vascular surgery.  The company uses a proprietary technology platform to isolate and grow stable, “off-the shelf” human tissue replacement conformations, with properties similar to native tissues. Humacyte’s goal is to improve treatment outcomes for many patients, including those with vascular disease and those requiring hemodialysis.

 

Humacyte is both honored and excited to participate in the upcoming Department of Commerce Trade Mission with Secretary Pritzker, her staff, and other business delegates to Japan and South Korea. We are grateful to the Department of Commerce and to Secretary Pritzker for selecting Humacyte for such a unique opportunity for meaningful dialogue with influential Japanese and South Korean business executives, senior policy makers, academics, fellow innovators and leading health and technology peers within their markets.  Our intent is to understand regional requirements and medical needs, and to establish new relationships within these regions and with our mission partners. 

The United States’ fourth and sixth-largest US trading partners respectively, Japan and South Korea present ample opportunities for U.S. businesses like ours. In both countries, the government and private sector are making significant investments in both health care and energy.

Our itinerary confirms that traveling with Secretary Pritzker will provide unprecedented access to – and important dialogue with -- high-level decision makers in each of these countries.  The trip is not only a unique mechanism to establish valuable contacts, but an opportunity to introduce our technology and intellectual capital directly to Japanese and Korean health care policy makers, regulators, healthcare leaders, and potential investors.

Personally, I must say the Department of Commerce and Secretary Pritzker’s staff have done an outstanding job of organizing and facilitating advance, meaningful connections among the delegation and business leaders in Japan and Korea. My expectation is that this mission offers Humacyte – and all of the delegation participants – a true opportunity to establish or grow our operations and business relationships in these emerging growth regions of the world.

Digital Nation Report Shows Rapid Adoption of Mobile Internet Use

Digital Nation Report

A report released today by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) found that Americans are rapidly embracing mobile Internet devices such as smart phones and tablet computers for a wide range of activities beyond just voice communications, such as checking email and using social networks.

NTIA’s “Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet,” which is based on a U.S. Census Bureau survey in October 2012 of more than 53,000 households, found that Americans were increasingly using their mobile devices to engage in applications that they might have previously done on a desktop or laptop computer or not at all. Between July 2011 and October 2012, the report found big increases in mobile phone users 25 and older who used their devices to download mobile applications (22 percent to 32 percent), browse the Web (33 percent to 42 percent), check their email (33 percent to 43 percent), and use social networks (22 percent to 30 percent).

Mobile phones appear to be helping to narrow the digital divide, the gap between the technology haves and have nots, among traditionally disadvantaged groups. Mobile phone use among those with family incomes below $25,000 and among disabled Americans each increased by 4 percentage points, growing from 73 percent to 77 percent and from 68 percent to 72 percent, respectively. Similarly, mobile phone use among seniors 65 and older grew by 4 percentage points between 2011 and 2012, from 68 percent to 72 percent.

Disparities in mobile phone adoption that remained between whites and minorities appeared to nearly vanish between 2011 and 2012. The report found that 88 percent of whites reported using mobile phones in 2012, compared with 87 percent of both African Americans and Hispanics.

Mobile phone use among rural Americans also grew by 5 percentage points to 85 percent between 2011 and 2012. Mobile phone use among urban Americans increased more slowly during this same period, from 86 percent to 88 percent, matching the 2 percentage-point increase to 88 percent in mobile phone use among all Americans 25 and older.

Advocating the Transformative Power of Commerce Data at NYC STRATA + Hadoop World Conference

Jennifer van der Meer and Under Secretary Mark Doms at NYC STRATA + Hadoop World Conference

Cross posted from ESA.gov

Under Secretary Mark Doms participated in a high level data discussion this morning at the Strata+Hadoop World Conference in New York City. Before an audience of 500 leading technologists and data programmers, Under Secretary Doms talked with host Jennifer van der Meer, Adjunct Professor at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program and CEO of Reason Street, to explore the Department of Commerce's strategic data plan and Doms' efforts to move the federal statistical system into the era of big data.
 
Doms noted that the US Department of Commerce has long been a powerhouse for government data, trailblazing the use of government statistics and analysis to help everyone make more informed decisions. Now, in the era of big data, with large volumes of data collected and analyzed by the private sector, by citizens themselves, the agency, with Doms leadership, is working to position itself as a leader in the federal data space. Jennifer van der Meer asked the Under Secretary about Commerce's plans to hire its first Chief Data Officer, stand up a Data Advisory Council populated with private sector and academic data leaders, and ways the Department is looking to team with the private sector to better collect, disseminate, and analyze Commerce data.
 
Doms went on to highlight the fact that challenges facing companies and our society often do not fit neatly in the "buckets" represented by the various federal agencies. Commerce has data that, say, could be meshed with Department of Education data, to tackle our nation's skills gap or help students determine which majors have the best return on investment. Doms noted Commerce's involvement with the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy and their efforts to coordinate interagency discussion to share best practices and tackle cross-agency challenges. Doms pointed out this coordination is critical to unleashing the positive benefits of federal data, with the next step being to figure out how to incorporate private datasets and get greater corporate buy-in to the open data movement currently underway at the federal, state and local level.

Under Secretary Doms closed out the discussion by making the case that the federal government must remain a leader in data. Like our basic scientific research, the building and maintaining of our nation's highways and water treatment facilities, and rural postal delivery, providing comprehensive data on our people, economy and the planet will continue to be a core federal mission. This information is critical to decision making by every business, government, and citizen, and the private sector simply does not have the financial incentive to fill this role. Doms thanked Jennifer and the audience for a lively discussion, one that further informed his efforts, under Secretary Pritzker's leadership, to revolutionize data at the Department of Commerce.

Secretary Pritzker Meets With Gaming Industry CEOs in Silicon Valley

Secretary Pritzker visiting Silicon Valley and the Gaming Industry

On Monday, U.S Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met with various gaming industry CEOs at Electronic Arts in Silicon Valley to learn more about the creative job skills and talent required to maintain American competitiveness, as well as the gaming industry’s overall contribution to the economy. She also toured Electronic Arts and GlassLab. Electronic Arts (EA) is a developer and publisher of computer and video games with several subsidiaries which includes sports role-playing, racing and combat, online communities and original franchises like Tetris, Scrabble and Monopoly. Glasslab is a research and development effort that focuses on educational games and game-based assessment design in the United States.

During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker emphasized the important role that the Department of Commerce plays in creating the conditions that support the growth of the country’s most competitive industries, and empowering private sector companies to out-innovate anyone in the world. She also expressed her desire to learn more about the contributions that the gaming industry has brought to the economy, the jobs it has created, and the ability to remain globally competitive.

The United States gaming industry has enjoyed enormous success over the last decade, and the jobs it supports are now a crucial part of the country’s economic growth. In fact, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently produced a 2014 report on video games in the 21st century which measures the economic contributions made by the gaming industry during the period of 2009-2012. According to ESA’s report, the game software publishing industry has employed 42,000 people in 36 states. The report also highlights that U.S total employment, both direct and indirect, that depends on this industry now exceeds 146,000. The value that this industry has added to the U.S GDP is over $6.2 billion.

Secretary Pritzker Speaks at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit

Secretary Pritzker with Mary Barra Patty Sellers Nina-Easton

This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker participated in a panel discussion at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, where she discussed the economy and steps the U.S. government and private sector can take to spur economic growth and job creation, building a bridge to the business community.

During her question and answer session with Nina Easton, Secretary Pritzker noted that in her first year at the Commerce Department she has visited 25 countries on behalf of American companies and met with more than 1,200 business leaders, including more than one-third of the Fortune 500. Secretary Pritzker also highlighted SelectUSA, an Obama Administration program, led by the Commerce Department program dedicated to making the United States the world’s premier location for business investment.

Spotlight on Commerce: Jose "Pepe" F. Burgos, Director U.S. Commercial Service-Puerto Rico

Jose "Pepe" F. Burgos, Director U.S. Commercial Service-Puerto Rico

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Guest blog post by Jose "Pepe" F. Burgos, Director U.S. Commercial Service-Puerto Rico

My name is Jose F. Burgos. My nickname is Pepe and I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My mother was from the town of Aguadilla in the west part of the island, and my father was from Humacao on the opposite side of the island. I was raised in Aguadilla by my mother and brothers after my father passed away when I was four years old. When I was 13 years old, my mother and older sister passed away in a car accident. Then I was raised by one of my cousins and their family. I have one brother who lives in Baltimore and we are very close. I was blessed to grow in a very family-oriented environment surrounded by my cousins and friends.

At first I wanted to be a doctor, but when I start studying and got to physics and organic chemistry, I realized medicine was not for me. I decided to study business, but I was not sure what kind of business. I decided to study international business with the main purpose to obtain a job to travel around the world.

Eleven years into my career, I realize how big international business can be – that it is more than traveling and is a daily learning experience. I worked three years in the Puerto Rico Trade Company and I have been currently working for the past eight years as Director of the U.S. Commercial Service in Puerto Rico. 

My passion for international commerce grew during my academic years, ultimately leading to my earning a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business & Marketing from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a professional development certification from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in International Trade Policy.

It has been a rewarding and amazing opportunity to be able to do what I always wanted to do and work in the field that I studied. 

Since 2006, I have been working as Director of the US Department of Commerce for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I have assisted companies from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in exporting to countries around the world, and provided advice with all the logistic components, including market intelligence, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and advocacy/commercial diplomacy support.

My support has helped companies survive difficult economic times and helped them be among the companies that are creating new jobs for residents in the islands.

Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources

Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources Graphic

Guest Blog Post by Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D.,Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator

Our societal well-being is linked to a healthy, productive, and resilient environment. However, many of our nation’s treasured landscapes and iconic species are fundamentally changing due to the effects of a changing climate.

For example, many fish, wildlife and plant species are shifting northward and into higher elevations or deeper water as temperatures increase. Increasing ocean temperature and acidity in our oceans are altering local food webs and disrupting historic fisheries. Sea level rise is decreasing the extent of coastal wetlands and coral reefs. And the disappearance of ice in the northern latitudes is forever changing the habitats where whales, seals, polar bears, and walruses live and feed. 

Conservation is a critical strategy for promoting resilience among our nation’s fish, wildlife and plants – including humans – as our planet continues to change.

A new White House Fact Sheet and report released yesterday, the Priority Agenda for Enhancing the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources lays the path of conservation planning in the face of climate change. 

Protecting our country’s natural resources also benefits communities and economies.  Healthy and resilient ecosystems play an important role in “buffering” the effects of extreme weather on our communities, providing us food and clean water, and helping to mitigate the impacts of carbon pollution by serving as “sinks” that sequester and store carbon.  Additionally, energy generation, agriculture, and tourism, and many more sectors of our economy rely on the availability of natural resources, underscoring the essential need for conservation as a critical resilience and adaptation strategy. 

The Priority Agenda is one part of an ongoing strategy to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan, and make the nation better prepared for the impacts of climate change. The Agenda builds upon the robust climate change adaptation work already underway by federal agencies, including NOAA, and identifies significant actions moving forward.

Spotlight on Commerce: Aaron Trujillo, Associate Director For Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

Spotlight on Commerce: Aaron Trujillo, Associate Director For Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Guest blog post by Aaron Trujillo, Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Commerce

As the Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Commerce, I carry two responsibilities; handling the issues of Economic Development, Skills Development, and Manufacturing and serving as the Acting Senior Advisor for Native American Affairs Policy. The Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (OLIA) supports the Secretary on all matters pertaining to the Department’s relationship with Congress, state/local elected officials, territorial and tribal governments.    

Before coming to Commerce, I worked in the U.S. House of Representatives for five and a half years. There I served a Member of Congress in his capacity on the House Natural Resources Committee as Ranking Member of the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee, and later, as a distinguished member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. During my time in the U.S. House, I also served as Senior Policy Advisor on Rural Development, Energy, Environment, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and Native American Affairs policies.

While working here at the Department of Commerce, I have been given the great opportunity to utilize my expertise to assist the Department and the Administration in advancing initiatives to build a stronger American economy. Our work here at the Department truly embodies the notions of opportunity, action and optimism because we work daily with businesses, organizations, community leaders, and elected officials at the local and national level to find opportunities that will create the conditions for economic success. 

I was raised in El Rancho, New Mexico, a small farming community just north of Santa Fe, NM.  As a child, I was influenced by the time honored traditions of my rural community and developed a deep respect for diversity in culture, language and the inherent connection between agricultural communities and natural resources. My upbringing has always been a driving force behind my work and advocacy in government.

President’s Export Council Travels to Poland and Turkey About Growing Economic Opportunities For All

President’s Export Council to Poland and Turkey About Growing Economic Opportunities For All

Guest blog post by Michele Cahn, Vice present of Global Government Affairs and Corporate Philanthropy for Xerox

For everyone who may speculate that the U.S. position of influence in the world has declined, our recent trip to Poland and Turkey proves to me that when business and government come together, we make a very powerful statement. This type of initiative is something that is unique to the United States… this is commercial diplomacy in action at its very best.

I was able to spend the first days of October with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, who is the Vice Chair of the President’s Export Council (PEC) and who helped lead a fact-finding mission to Poland and Turkey. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker led the high-level delegation of U.S. business leaders on an economic fact-finding mission to identify opportunities to increase trade and investment between the U.S. and Poland and the U.S. and Turkey, two high-potential, fast-growing markets that have been under penetrated by US companies, especially SMEs.

The PEC delegation included CEOs from such companies as Vermeer, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Archer Daniels Midland, 32 Advisors, and UPS—representing a combined market cap of more than $850 billion and senior representatives from another eight companies.

What impressed me so much was the reception from the entire range of people we met with was how significant this trip was and how and why  the PEC selected Poland and Turkey for this trip.  And while we take some of this for granted, private and public partnerships are very rare in these countries.  We were asked why would these US companies join together for this trip…don’t you compete with one another. We were able to make it very clear, that this wasn’t about competing; this was trying to grow economic opportunities for all of us.  The outcome of this mission will be to help stimulate business in Poland and Turkey and help increase exports from the U.S. and combined, that means economic and job growth in these countries and in the U.S., so we all benefit.

Business leaders in Poland and Turkey have a very strong interest in capitalizing on innovation and entrepreneurship.  Poland has a highly skilled and highly educated workforce, but the general impression there is that the digital revolution has passed them by.  The challenges in Turkey might be more significant in terms of modernizing laws, simplifying bureaucracy and building transparency.

So while there are challenges, there are significant opportunities to accelerate business growth and to encourage governments and businesses in both countries to partner more with each other.