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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

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.

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson Highlights Manufacturing and Exports in Florida

Secretary Bryson delivering his remarks at Pavilion Furniture

This week, U.S. Commerce Secretary and former CEO John Bryson traveled to Florida to meet with local business leaders and discuss his priorities for supporting advanced manufacturing and encouraging exports. On Thursday evening, Bryson delivered remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers Board of Directors dinner in Boca Raton, Fla. Friday morning, he visited the Port of Miami and took a tour of Pavilion Furniture, a Miami Gardens, Fla.  company that is working with the Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service to expand the exports of its products. Following the tour, Bryson delivered remarks and joined Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez and local business leaders for a discussion about how the private and public sector can work together to expand exports and create jobs.

Business leaders participating in the discussion included Mike Buzzella, President and CEO of Pavilion Furniture, Raj Rangaswamy, President of Target Engineering, and Luis Arguello, CEO of DemeTech. Target Engineering, an engineering services firm, will be joining Secretary Bryson on a Commerce-led trade mission to India at the end of the month. DemeTech Corporation, a producer of surgical sutures and blades, previously joined a Commerce Department trade mission to Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. has recently experienced dramatic job growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector. In the past two years U.S. manufacturing created over 400,000 jobs – over 80,000 in the first two months of this year alone. Bryson highlighted some of the Administration’s initiatives to support advanced manufacturing, including the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The Network, which President Obama proposed last week, would be a $1 billion investment in up to 15 institutes of advanced manufacturing research and experience across the country, designed to help make U.S. manufacturers more innovative and competitive.

Bryson also shared news on Commerce’s efforts to boost exports. This week marks the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Executive Order creating the National Export Initiative, when President Obama set the goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. Earlier this week, the Commerce Department released new data showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011. In 2011, exports supported approximately 9.7 million jobs, and the value of U.S. exports of goods and services exceeded $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history. 

In addition, Bryson discussed the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS), which went into effect yesterday. Korea is the world’s 12th largest economy, and under the new agreement, about 80 percent of Korea’s tariffs on U.S. industrial products are now dropping to zero. KORUS is America’s most significant trade agreement in nearly two decades, and is estimated to increase U.S. exports by approximately $11 billion, support tens of thousands of American jobs, and open up Korea’s $1 trillion economy for America’s workers and businesses.

At both stops, Secretary Bryson stressed that The Commerce Department is dedicated to providing business across the country the resources they need to build products here and sell them everywhere.

On the Two-Year Anniversary of the National Export Initiative Successes Abound

National Export Initiative

Guest blog post by Commerce Secretary John Bryson

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Executive Order creating the National Export Initiative (NEI), when President Obama set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.

To mark this anniversary, we released new data today showing that jobs supported by U.S. exports increased by 1.2 million between 2009 and 2011. Building on strong growth in 2010, exports supported approximately 9.7 million jobs in 2011 and the value of U.S. exports of goods and services exceeded $2.1 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

This new data further confirms the good news that exports support an increasing number of American jobs. At the same time, it is also a reminder that we cannot afford to let up on our efforts to help U.S. businesses build it here and sell it everywhere. We must maintain the track record of the past two years and intensify our support of U.S. companies in selling their goods to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live beyond our borders by helping to create opportunities and a level playing field. We know that when American businesses and workers get a fair shot, they can compete and they can win.

General Counsel Kerry Amplifies President Obama’s Consumer Privacy Protection Message in Europe

by Cameron F. Kerry

As co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy, I am proud to have worked on the Obama administration’s comprehensive blueprint to improve consumer privacy protections, the "Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy" (PDF).  As the president stated in the report, “we must reject the conclusion that privacy is an outmoded value.  It has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.”

This is the message I took to European lawmakers, officials, and businesses about the administration’s privacy policy framework. Central to the framework is the tenet that consumers who have confidence their privacy is respected are more likely to express themselves online, engage in commercial activity, and form social connections on the Internet. Consumer trust is essential for a strong digital economy, which in turn provides a platform for greater innovation and job creation.

In today’s Internet age, our world is no longer easily defined by national borders.  Information flows around the world as companies seek to meet the demands of international customers and individuals share their lives and experiences globally. Finding ways to protect personal information while facilitating cross-border data flows is a central aim of the administration’s privacy blueprint.

Over the course of my meetings in Europe, I talked about the president’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and our commitment to promote the free flow of information by fostering the interoperability of international privacy frameworks. I discussed the importance of building on tools such as the EU-US Safe Harbor Framework that have helped to protect consumer information while facilitating international trade.

I look forward to continuing our work at the Department of Commerce to implement the administration’s privacy blueprint. Last week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a request for comments as it prepares to begin convening stakeholders to develop codes of conduct based on the Consumer Bill of Rights, and on March 19 the EU's Justice Directorate General will come to Washington, D.C. to discuss the Safe Harbor Framework and other tools for the global flow of information.

General Counsel Kerry Amplifies President Obama’s Consumer Privacy Protection Message in Europe

Cam Kerry seated at conference table in Berlin

Guest blog post by Cameron F. Kerry, Department of Commerce General Counsel

As co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy, I am proud to have worked on the Obama administration’s comprehensive blueprint to improve consumer privacy protections, the “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy” (PDF).  As the president stated in the report, “we must reject the conclusion that privacy is an outmoded value.  It has been at the heart of our democracy from its inception, and we need it now more than ever.”

This is the message I took to European lawmakers, officials, and businesses about the administration’s privacy policy framework. Central to the framework is the tenet that consumers who have confidence their privacy is respected are more likely to express themselves online, engage in commercial activity, and form social connections on the Internet. Consumer trust is essential for a strong digital economy, which in turn provides a platform for greater innovation and job creation.

Spotlight on Commerce: Tyra Dent Smith, Deputy Director, Office of Human Resources Management

Photo: Tyra Dent Smith

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 a native Washingtonian, and having earned a B.A in Psychology from Hampton Institute and a Master of Public Administration from Howard University, I knew early on that I wanted my life work to center around individual and organizational success. To this end, I decided to dedicate my career to public service. Over twenty years of my career has been spent in the Department of Commerce.

Since February 2011, I have had the privilege to serve as Deputy Director, Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM). My primary responsibility is to lead and direct the development and implementation of government-wide and departmental policies, employee programs and activities in all aspects of human resources management and administration. Additionally, this includes coordinating and overseeing HR operations at each of the department's seven bureau level HR service centers. This role has given me an opportunity to serve the department’s workforce at each stage of the employee lifecycle (planning, recruitment, hiring, training and development, retention and retirement/separation).

In partnership with the Director of OHRM, William “Bill” Fleming, our vision is to deliver optimal HR services and products that support and enable mission accomplishment and create a workplace environment that fosters excellence and innovation. This vision is rooted in the policies, processes and practices that support and sustain a strong and capable organizational workforce built to serve the American people.

Spotlight on Commerce: Michael Phelps, Director of the Office of Budget

Michael Phelps, Director of the Office of Budget

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 am currently Director of the Office of Budget at the Department of Commerce. That means I am the principal adviser to the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration and other Department officials on all things related to the planning, formulation, execution and defense of the Department’s budget.

I understand that not everyone is a numbers person, but I love this position because of public debates associated with supporting the president’s agenda and, more important, the roles and mission this Department plays in executing those objectives in helping to create an America built to last!

My entire professional career has been in public service. Prior to joining Commerce in March of 2011, I served 33 years in the United States Air Force. My last assignment was Director of Financial Management and Comptroller for Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Hampton, Virginia. As Chief Financial Officer for the largest operational command in the Air Force and the principal financial adviser to the Air Combat Command Commander, I led a 67-person financial management staff that supported a financial network of more than 1,100 people supporting 25 air wings, 1,100 aircraft and approximately 105,000 personnel. I retired from active duty as a colonel in February of 2011 and was given an opportunity to continue my service to the nation here at the Department of Commerce.

Secretary Bryson Encourages State Governors to Use SelectUSA and Attend SelectUSA Investment Summit

SelectUSA logo

Prior to President Obama attending the Democratic Governors Association Meeting, Secretary John Bryson addressed the assembled governors to discuss how the Commerce Department is working across the federal government to make every federal tool available to promote “insourcing” by U.S. companies and to attract more foreign direct investment.

Secretary Bryson reiterated the key advantages America has over foreign competitors. For example, the American workforce is among the most productive in the world. He also discussed how America continues to have the best universities, the strongest sources of R&D and manufacturing innovation, excellent supply chains, and the strongest IP protections.  He also noted that foreign direct investment rose nearly 50 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Bryson then emphasized that through SelectUSA, the Commerce Department wants to partner with more states to attract even more foreign direct investment to the U.S. SelectUSA is the first coordinated federal effort to aggressively pursue and win new business investments in the U.S. It will help investors navigate our rules and procedures and will help advocate for the U.S. when foreign businesses are deciding where to put their next facility and create jobs.

SelectUSA is already working with some city and state economic development organizations to produce results. Bryson personally invited the governors and their top economic officials to attend the 1st annual SelectUSA Investment Summit later this year. The Commerce Department will assemble companies from around the world and it will provide an excellent opportunity for states to explain why they are the best place to invest and to hire.

Acting Commerce Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank Announces Computer Contract Expected to Save Taxpayers $20-25M

As the president said when he launched the Campaign to Cut Waste in June 2011, “No amount of waste is acceptable, not when it’s your money. Just as families are living within their means, government should, too, so we can invest in the things that we know will create good jobs and grow the economy.” As part of those ongoing efforts to make government more accountable to the American people and cut wasteful spending, I am happy to report today that the Commerce Department has awarded a contract for computers that is expected to save taxpayers $20-25 million over the next five years.

Through the contract with Intelligent Decisions Inc., we will reduce our cost for desktops and laptops by 40 percent. The contract leverages the large volume of computers that Commerce purchases each year and standardizes specifications to achieve significant cost reductions. Making wise spending decisions like this will enable Commerce to focus resources on its primary mission, which is supporting innovation, helping American businesses create jobs, and driving U.S. competitiveness around the world.

Intelligent Decisions Inc., is a small business reseller offering products manufactured by Dell Inc. By awarding this contract to a small business, the Commerce Department will increase its small business participation for computer purchases by over thirty percent. Intelligent Decisions Inc.  will be providing valuable services to Commerce, including helping to better monitor its inventory of computers, improving delivery time, and loading custom images onto computers.