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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Secretary Pritzker Visits the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Gaithersburg, Md., Campus

Secretary Pritzker tours the NIST Trace Contraband Detection laboratory with Acting Deputy Secretary and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher.  The laboratory helps law enforcement agencies protect the public and enforce the law by developing improved methods and standards for trace detection of drugs and explosives.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md., today, as part of her nationwide listening tour. The campus hosts approximately 2,700 NIST staff members, as well as visiting researchers, post-doctorate fellows and undergraduate students.

The Secretary met with NIST senior executives to discuss Commerce priorities and took a tour of a laboratory focused on the most effective ways to collect and accurately analyze small or trace amounts of contraband such as drugs or explosives. The NIST Trace Contraband Detection Program supports the deployment and effective use of detection devices throughout the United States. NIST scientists use their  existing expertise in particle analysis, analytical chemistry and chemical microscopy to study the explosives collection and detection process in detail and to help field methods.

Secretary Pritzker saw demonstrations of some NIST-developed devices that could speed the processing of airline passengers while accurately assessing them for trace contraband. A shoe-sampler uses air jets to blow samples off of shoes still on the wearer’s feet, while another device checks IDs for samples transferred on fingertips. She also learned about the program making use of a 3-D printing machine to rapidly create new devices for improving detection methods. Through these efforts, NIST supports standards that ensure detectors in the field today work as expected and develops the specialized measurement expertise that will be needed for the next generation of explosive detection equipment.

Secretary Penny Pritzker Visits APS Technology

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited APS Technology (APS) in Wallingford, Conn., as part of her nationwide listening tour. Secretary Pritzker is traveling across the country meeting with business leaders and entrepreneurs to discuss how the administration and the Department of Commerce can work with the private sector to help strengthen the economy and create jobs.

First, Secretary Pritzker toured APS’ facilities with company executives, including APS President Bill Turner and Senior Vice President Denis Biglin, along with Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. She was able to see some of the company’s projects, which include a variety of drilling tools that are used by the oil and gas industry.

APS started in 1994 providing contract engineering services and has experienced tremendous growth to become a leading provider of products to the oil and gas drilling industry around the world. APS has grown from 79 employees in 2008 to more than 300 employees, including 265 in the U.S. The company’s exports now account for 85 percent of their business. 

Global Investment is Important to the American Economy

The Department of Commerce is Open for Business

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Since I was confirmed as Secretary of Commerce, I’ve been meeting with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and foreign leaders to let them know that America is “open for business.” The United States is one of the most desirable places to do business; our $16 trillion economy, with its productive workforce and diverse consumer base, could not do what it does without domestic as well as foreign investment. Yesterday, I participated in the White House Forum (Forum) on Global Investment to highlight the administration’s support for, and benefits of, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. 

For the meeting, I was joined by Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Pat Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Jose Fernandez, and 21 foreign ambassadors and representatives to highlight the United States’ whole-of-government approach to attracting foreign direct investment.

Part of our discussion focused on the growth of FDI in sectors such as manufacturing, machinery, and scientific and technical services. In fact, FDI in the United States totaled nearly $168 billion last year. And just recently, the consulting firm A.T. Kearney published its annual FDI Confidence Index, with the United States ranked #1 on this list for the first time since 2001.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, who is the head of the Commerce Department’s counterpart agency in Japan. Additional meeting participants included Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Kenichiro Sasae.

During the meeting, Secretary Pritzker and Minister Motegi discussed the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this year, which is a top priority for the Obama administration. Japan recently joined TPP negotiations, bringing the economic impact of the 12 TPP countries to 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to Minister Motegi the U.S. commitment to working with the Japanese government to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive, 21st century trade and investment agreement, which will enable the Partnership to promote economic growth and regional economic integration.

Secretary Pritzker also talked with the minister about SelectUSA, President Obama’s initiative to facilitate business investment in the United States. This fall, the Commerce Department is hosting the first-ever SelectUSA Investment Summit to connect foreign and domestic investors with U.S. economic development organizations. Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment in the U.S., and the Summit provides an opportunity for firms and investors to connect with U.S. cities and states in support of job creation and economic growth.

Secretary Pritzker Participates in Let's Read! Let's Move! Initiative

Secretary Penny Pritzker today joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Johnny Isakson, both members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP), Federal Aviation Administration Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation and former astronaut George D. Zamka, and Miss America Mallory Hagan for the third installment of the five-part initiative Let’s Read! Let’s Move! During the planets and astronauts-themed event, Secretary Pritzker read Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery to children from the Washington, DC, area.

The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative is a partnership between the Department of Education (ED) and the Corporation for National and Community Service that engages children in summer reading and physical activity, as well as provides information about healthy lifestyles. Each installment supports First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, which promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle, while also encouraging strong early learning programs to ensure promising futures for children.

Each of the Let’s Read! Let’s Move! events this year feature book distributions, healthy snacks and fun physical activities led by the YMCA and professional athletes, including NFL, NBA and pro-tennis players. Special guest readers engage a large group of children from DC-area elementary schools and early childhood development centers, including the Health and Human Services/ED Children’s Center, a nonprofit child care and development center sponsored by the two departments.

Secretary Pritzker believes that the ability to compete in a global economy depends on a workforce that possesses skills required by employers. The Let’s Read! Let’s Move! initiative is an investment in the future of American children who will one day serve as global leaders driving the strength of American businesses to secure the foundation of our nation’s economy.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with President Truong Tan Sang of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. President Sang is the second Vietnamese president to visit the United States since the normalization of diplomatic relations 18 years ago. Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, Assistant Secretary for Import Administration Paul Piquado, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Craig Allen, and Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang were among other meeting participants.

Since the 2001 U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement went into effect and Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization in 2007, commerce between Vietnam and the United States has thrived. Secretary Pritzker highlighted that Vietnam has made significant progress on its economic reforms, which have contributed to its economic growth over the past decade. The secretary also talked about how our bilateral trade relationship continues to grow each year, with U.S. exports to Vietnam up 22 percent in May 2013 compared to the same period last year, and imports from Vietnam up 16 percent.

Secretary Pritzker also emphasized the importance of concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this year, which is a top priority for the Obama administration. With Japan’s entry at the end of July, the 12 TPP countries will account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The secretary affirmed to President Sang the U.S. commitment to working closely with Vietnam to reach consensus on the TPP countries’ shared vision for a comprehensive, 21st century trade and investment agreement. Vietnam has a significant amount to gain from this agreement, particularly when it comes to increasing its exports. The country currently exports $95.5 billion in goods and services, of which nearly $17 billion is to the United States. The secretary also expressed our commitment to working with Vietnam on reciprocal market access of goods and services.

Lastly, Secretary Pritzker and President Sang discussed Vietnam’s civil nuclear and renewable energy sectors, which are priorities for the country. Ensuring Vietnam has access to the very best of American industry will help support both countries’ economies.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Secretary Penny Pritzker Speaks with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to talk about ways to build on the momentum of an improving Colorado economy through efforts that support collaboration and entrepreneurship. The Governor is a strong supporter of entrepreneurship, innovation, and the state’s highly-skilled workforce – all things that make Colorado an attractive place to do business.

As part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker is meeting with state and local leaders who are undertaking creative projects to attract business investment.

Governor Hickenlooper and Secretary Pritzker discussed the potential of advanced manufacturing to create jobs and bolster the nation’s economy and the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen American manufacturing through the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation and the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. Secretary Pritzker also invited Governor Hickenlooper to join her at the Commerce Department’s first-ever SelectUSA Summit, which will connect foreign and domestic investors with U.S. cities, states and regions looking to attract business investment. The Summit will give state and local officials and Economic Development Organizations unique access to investors and help them execute their investment attraction strategies. The Summit will be held in Washington, DC, on October 31 and November 1, 2013.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Meeting with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today met with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the Director of the Denver Office of Economic Development Paul Washington to talk about issues facing the city’s economy and local businesses. As part of her nationwide listening tour, Secretary Pritzker is meeting with state and local leaders who are undertaking creative projects to attract business investment. Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Hancock talked about his vision for the Denver International Airport, as Mayor Hancock has proposed the development of an “aerotropolis,” a plan that would concentrate aviation-intensive businesses and related enterprises around the Denver International Airport (DIA), which is the fifth largest airport in the United States. DIA currently employs 30,000 and has an economic impact on the region of more than $20 billion.

They also discussed the importance of public-private partnerships focused on skills training and workforce development, as well as President Obama's Select USA initiative. Select USA is a federal effort to showcase the United States as the world’s premier business location in order to attract investment and create jobs, and Secretary Pritzker is leading the administration’s efforts on the initiative.

Secretary Pritzker and Mayor Hancock also discussed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s satellite space in Denver, which is helping entrepreneurs and businesses in the region. The secretary looks forward to finding ways to work together in the future, and invited the mayor to visit the next time he is in Washington, DC.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Visit With Commerce Employees in Boulder, Colorado

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Visit With Commerce Employees in Boulder, Colorado

While in Boulder, Colorado, as part of her nationwide listening tour, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker today met with employees from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Approximately 1,600 department staff and affiliates are located at the Boulder facility, and the Commerce Boulder Laboratories is the largest  department facility outside Washington, DC.

Secretary Pritzker first held a town hall with approximately 350 employees from the three agencies as part of her commitment to engage with and hear directly from all Commerce employees about their work. The secretary emphasized how their work is crucial to creating a better quality of life for Americans and more opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. She also asked employees for their input in the department’s ongoing efforts to protect, promote and inform what America needs to be competitive and innovative in the 21st century.

Readout of U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s Visit to Boulder, Colorado

Andrea Chavez, Director of Manufacturing, Ball Aerospace; Rob Strain, President, Ball Aerospace; Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce visit during a tour of Ball’s Boulder manufacturing facility on Thursday.

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Boulder, Colorado, to kick off her nationwide listening tour. Upon her swearing in, Secretary Pritzker announced that she would travel the country to meet with, and hear from, business and community leaders, entrepreneurs, and Commerce Department employees to discuss how public-private partnerships can strengthen the economy and create jobs.

Secretary Pritzker met with Boulder Mayor Matthew Appelbaum to thank him and the city council for their long-standing support of Commerce’s three Boulder laboratories, which are run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The two talked about CO-LABS (Colorado Leveraging Assets for Better Science), a consortium of the 24 labs, universities, businesses, local governments, and community leaders organized to establish Colorado as a global leader in research, technology, and their commercialization, as well as other initiatives to fuel economic growth in the region through increased promotion and investment in innovation.

Next, Secretary Pritzer toured Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., a company that produces spacecraft instruments and sensors, radio frequency and microwave technologies, and a variety of advanced aerospace technologies and products. In addition to Mayor Appelbaum, she was joined by several Ball Aerospace executives, including president Rob Strain, North America metal packaging president Mike Hranicka, and chief financial officer Scott Morrison.