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Blog Entries from 2014

Medidata Is Aligned With Trade Mission To Help Transform Global Life Science

Medidata Is Aligned With Trade Mission To Help Transform Global Life Science

Guest blog post by Bryan Spielman, Executive Vice President, Medidata

I am honored to join Secretary Pritzker on the business development mission to Japan and South Korea. Medidata is committed to developing our business and transforming clinical research throughout Asia, and this trip is bringing us invaluable connections to the region’s regulatory and industry leaders in the life sciences.

We are thrilled with Commerce Secretary Pritzker’s active engagement throughout the trip to Japan, and we are looking forward to our time in South Korea. The Commerce Secretary’s staff is doing a phenomenal job to keep us briefed and to take care of us, and they have gone the extra mile to make sure this is a successful trade mission. We were also honored to meet with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, who invited us to the ambassador’s residence in Tokyo to exchange ideas. Secretary Pritzker and Ambassador Kennedy spent a great deal of time with us, and both of their teams have shown they can really roll up their sleeves and get meaningful work done.

During our trip to Japan, we had the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and senior leaders from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), and we were impressed with his administration’s commitment to drive real change in the Japanese economy. Two of the big initiatives of the prime minister’s economic stimulus plan relate to healthcare and women in the workplace. These issues align nicely with our values as a company—more than 40 percent of Medidata’s Japan office is female—and we are very excited about continuing to invest in Japan.

We also had productive meetings with Japan’s Minister of Health Yasuhisa Shiozaki, senior leadership at the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) in charge of promoting information technology, and Japanese pharma industry leaders. In our conversations, it became clear that the idea of leveraging technology to increase the speed, quality and efficiency in the clinical trials process is clearly front and center in Japan. There is broad recognition that the ever-increasing R&D costs are not sustainable and that technology and new data sources can help.

Commerce Partners with Small Business Administration for the Launch of Business Sunday in Houston, Texas

Commerce Partners with Small Business Administration for the Launch of Business Sunday in Houston, Texas

Last weekend, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration (SBA) launched Business Sunday at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, TX. Business Sunday is an outreach and educational program that takes place in local communities around the country, connecting current and future business leaders with valuable resources to help them start or expand their businesses.

On Sunday, Windsor Village’s Senior Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell welcomed representatives from SBA, Commerce’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), along with representatives from the city of Houston and other local entities, for the first in a series of Business Sundays that will take place around the country. More than 500 people attended the event, showcasing the strong demand among business owners and entrepreneurs for information on the high-impact business development resources offered by the federal government.
 
Originally piloted in Washington, DC, at the 19th Street Baptist Church in March 2014, the Business Sunday program consists of MBDA Business Centers partnering with SBA field offices and a local congregation to present information on federal business development resources from Commerce, MBDA, SBA, BusinessUSA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The event also provides attendees with an opportunity to connect one-on-one with the field staff. In the near future, additional Business Sunday events will be held in Philadelphia, PA; Mobile, AL; Washington, DC; Indianapolis, IN; El Paso, TX; Miami, FL; Denver, Co; Phoenix, AZ and Seattle, Washington. Details on upcoming events will be released once available.
 

Commerce Secretary Pritzker Begins Business Development Mission to Japan and Seeks Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Health Care and Energy Sectors

Commerce Secretary Pritzker Begins Business Development Mission to Japan and Seeks Opportunities for U.S. Companies in Health Care and Energy Sectors

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today began a five-day Business Development Mission to Japan and South Korea and met with Japanese leaders in Tokyo to address opportunities for U.S. companies to launch or increase their business in the health care and energy sectors. Due to a lack of natural resources, both Japan and South Korea have long been dependent on imported energy sources to meet their energy needs.

During her first day in Tokyo, Secretary Pritzker was joined by U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and the business delegation in several bilateral meetings with Japanese leaders.  During her meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Secretary Pritzker commended him on his government’s commitment to reform throughout his two years in office, and noted that American businesses are eager to partner with Japan in the country's ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen its health care and energy sectors. She also praised Prime Minister Abe for his vision in entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, and she discussed the need for the U.S. and Japan to be creative and bold as the countries enter the final stages of the negotiations.

Following her meeting with the Prime Minister, Secretary Prtizker met with Japan’s Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki. During the meeting she addressed the importance of continued engagement on medical device and pharmaceutical issues, stressing the concerns the industry has with annual price revisions in the medical devices and pharmaceutical sectors.  She also thanked the Minister for Japan’s cooperation on vaccine issues and stressed the need for continued cooperation on Ebola response efforts.

Commerce Data: Then & Now

Guest blog post by Mark Doms, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

In July, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced that our department will be hiring our first ever Chief Data Officer (CDO), building on her commitment to Commerce’s role as “America’s Data Agency.” She also announced the formation of a data advisory council comprising private sector leaders who will help the CDO navigate new and dynamic data challenges. This is the latest chapter in Commerce’s long history of adapting to serve the needs of an ever-changing American economy.

The United States Department of Commerce has been a trusted provider of data and statistics for centuries. The first decennial census took place in 1790 and the first patent was issued that same year.  Today, because of advances in technology, we are able to provide Americans with more data, faster and more accurately than ever before. This transformation can be seen in the evolution of the Census Bureau.

Article 1 Section 3 of the US Constitution states that the U.S. government shall enumerate the population of the United States every 10 years. Beginning with the 1790 Decennial Census and once every decade since then, the federal government has provided this invaluable information, making the United States the first country to produce a regular count of its citizens.   

By the early 1800s it became clear that in addition to the important demographic information flowing from the decennial census, there was also an imperative for regular collection of business information. In response to that need, in 1810, the U.S. Census Bureau established a census of businesses, also known as the economic census.  The initial focal points were manufacturing, lumber yards and butcher shops. In 1902, Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Census Bureau and directed that the census of manufacturers be taken every five years (a “quinquennial” census).  As the economy grew, the Census Bureau responded accordingly and by 1930 it had expanded the economic census to include services.  The breadth of the survey has since changed to keep pace with our nation’s growing economy.  The 2012 economic census data are currently being released.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Leads Business Development Mission to Japan and South Korea

Home to nearly 60 percent of the world’s GDP and the fastest growing economies, the Asia-Pacific region offers a wide array of opportunities for United States businesses and workers. To further improve the U.S. economy, the Obama Administration recognizes the critical importance of strengthening its well-established trading partnerships in the region, particularly with Japan and South Korea.

With the fourth and thirteenth highest GDP respectively, Japan and South Korea are highly developed, stable markets for trade and investment. The healthcare sector in both countries is expanding quickly to meet rising demand. In Japan, there is a rapidly-aging demographic profile, with a population aged above 65 years, which will increase from 25.1 percent in 2013 to 29.2 percent by 2023. In addition, South Korea is emerging as a hub for global medical tourism by attracting and training world-renowned doctors and developing more advanced clinical trials.

To take advantage of these growing market opportunities, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will leave tomorrow for Asia to lead 20 American firms on a Business Development Mission with stops in Japan and South Korea. The business delegation includes small and big companies, such as C3 Energy, HPI, and Oregon. The mission will focus on expanding opportunities for U.S. businesses in the healthcare and energy sectors and will also look for ways to help the region develop and manage energy resources and systems, and build out power generation, transmission, and distribution.  

As the voice of business in the Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, plays a pivotal role in expanding market access for U.S. companies in countries around the world. Specifically on this mission, Secretary Pritzker and American businesses will meet with Japanese and South Korean business leaders in the medical device, biotechnology, regenerative medicine, energy and health IT sectors to explore opportunities for partnership and investment.

The Commerce Department is committed to creating more opportunities for American businesses to flourish both at home and abroad. During the mission, Secretary Pritzker will also focus on reinforcing trade agreements that reflect our values, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), that will help U.S. firms gain greater access to the Japan and South Korea markets.

This will be Secretary Pritzker’s first trade mission to Asia since taking office in June 2013 and will promote U.S. exports to Japan and South Korea by helping American companies launch or increase their business in these key markets.  The mission will make stops in Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea.

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.