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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Secretary Bryson Hosts Meeting with Manufacturing Council

Secretary Bryson shakes hands with Joseph Anderson, Jr. Chairman and CEO, TAG Holdings, LLC and Chair of the Manufacturing Council

The Department of Commerce has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to working with the private sector to strengthen the U.S. manufacturing industry and create jobs. Today, Secretary Bryson took another opportunity to do so as host of his first meeting of the Manufacturing Council, a committee that advises the Department on programs impacting U.S. manufacturers.

Along with Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco J. Sánchez, Bryson reiterated the Administration’s priorities for helping American businesses “build it here and sell it everywhere,” which means doing more to support manufacturing; helping more business export to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders; and encouraging more foreign and domestic firms to invest in the U.S. and build or expand their operations here.

During the meeting, Bryson thanked members for their service on the council and explained how crucial it is for policymakers in Washington to hear directly from businesses to understand what they are going through, especially during these challenging economic times. He also elaborated on the responsibility that both businesses and government leaders have to focus on practical and achievable results in Washington to boost the vital manufacturing sector.

Secretary Bryson Welcomes New Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Members

Secretary Bryson Swearing in the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board

As our economy continues to recover from the worst recession in memory, families in communities across America remain focused on what else can be done to spur job creation. Today was an important day for them.

This afternoon, President Obama announced a task force to develop a National Travel & Tourism Strategy, which will be co-chaired by Secretary Bryson, and he signed a corresponding Executive Order that will make it easier for international visitors to travel to America. That’s important because those visitors help create jobs by spending money in our stores, eating in our restaurants and visiting U.S. tourist destinations that are famous all around the world.

Following this announcement, Secretary Bryson met with and conducted a swearing-in ceremony for 32 newly appointed members of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, an advisory body of industry executives that provides vital input on government policies and programs affecting the travel and tourism industry.

Secretary Bryson Participates in Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in Los Angeles with Mayor Villaraigosa

Secretary Bryson helping to start a community garden. He's holding a rake.

This morning, Secretary Bryson and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa worked alongside hundreds of volunteers revitalizing and installing a garden at Los Feliz Elementary School in Los Angeles. The event, which was organized by the non-profit action center LA Works, was focused on using community service as a way of commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was one of many activities across the country that are part of the annual MLK Day of Service.

Secretary Bryson reminded everyone that the legacy of Dr. King is tethered to his core principles of character and service, so the best way to honor his legacy is through service and volunteering in our communities. Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all. 

During these challenging times when many Americans are hurting, Dr. King’s vision of service and volunteering are more critical than ever.  Secretary Bryson called on Americans to work together to strengthen their own and each other’s economic security. Service is a powerful force for progress, and an important tool in helping us advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for everyone.

While remembering and celebrating Dr. King’s legacy, Secretary Bryson echoed the call that President Obama has made to carry Dr. King's spirit of service beyond today and through the year. In fact, as part of his United We Serve initiative, President Obama is calling on all Americans to take action to help others and make an ongoing commitment to serve throughout the year.

Secretary Bryson on Making it Easier to Do Business in America

Infographic on Various Ways a Business Can Contact the Federal Government for Services

Guest blog post by John Bryson, Secretary of Commerce. Cross-posted at Chamber Post.

Today, the President announced his plan to ask Congress for the authority to reorganize and consolidate the government so we can provide more effective, efficient services to the American people.  He wants this authority, which Presidents had until it lapsed in 1984, so that we can modernize our structure to better compete in the global economy and maximize services for the American people.  And the first priority would be to strengthen the ways that American businesses – large and small – can work with the government to compete, export, and grow.

There is not a federal agency that can't be better or smarter in accomplishing its mission.  That's why this consolidation authority is so critical.  Many of the structures in place right now are outmoded and outdated. 

More specifically, today the President also announced that he would use such authority to organize all of the business and trade related functions into a new department, including many functions of the Commerce Department.

Currently, there are six major departments and agencies that focus primarily on business and trade in the federal government, including: U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency.

Consolidating these agencies will create one new Department with one mission: to spur job creation and expand the U.S. economy.

Acting Deputy Secretary Blank Tours CES Promoting American Innovation and Competitiveness

Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Dean Kamen Listen on a Panel

On Thursday, Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank visited the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where she delivered opening remarks and participated in a panel discussion. The panel, titled “Getting Us Back on Track: How Technology and Innovation Can Save America” focused on the integral role innovation and technology play to the U.S. economy.

Blank said, “Innovation is crucial to the economy.  And while private citizens and private businesses are the primary source of new ideas—from concept to commercialization—the government plays a key role in this effort. The returns in new jobs and new technologies have traditionally far exceeded the money invested on the front end by the federal government.”

Referencing the recently released COMPETES report, Blank stated, “Only with a laser-sharp focus on education, innovation and infrastructure, will we build the basis for a 21st century economy that allows American businesses to flourish in an increasingly competitive global market. And only when American businesses flourish will we see the sort of job growth and income growth that assures economic opportunity to middle class Americans.”

Also while at the show, Blank toured the International Trade Agency’s International Buyer Program’s International Commerce Center and met domestic and foreign commercial service officers who assist American businesses in exporting. Afterwards, she presented an Export Achievement Award to Meridrew Enterprises. Meridrew Enterprises is a small, woman-owned company that is an industry leader in high performance screen cleaning technology. Their products have been used on the windows of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station.

Secretary Bryson Stops by the Motor City

Bryson and Ford chat

Earlier this week, Secretary and former CEO John Bryson made his first trip to Detroit, as Commerce Secretary, where he met with representatives from nearly every major auto maker that produces cars in the United States. In addition, Bryson met with United Auto Workers (UAW) President Bob King, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, as well as members of the Michigan Congressional delegation. The trip came on the heels of President Obama’s announcement late last year naming Secretary Bryson as co-chair of the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy.

Secretary Bryson’s day-long trip began with a breakfast meeting with members of the Michigan Congressional delegation including Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representatives John Dingell, John Conyers and Hansen Clarke. The group discussed a wide variety of topics including what the Federal government can do to further support the Nation’s manufacturing sector and automotive industry.

Secretary Bryson reiterated that the Department of Commerce is focused on doing everything possible to help support manufacturers. He also talked about the various services at the Commerce Department that are available everyday to manufacturers large and small. For example, the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration helps promote the U.S. auto industry through trade missions, trade shows and buying missions in addition to conducting market research and business matchmaking to U.S. exporters, particularly to new-to-export and new-to-market automotive suppliers.

Following the breakfast meeting, Secretary Bryson hit the auto show floor and first met with GM CEO Dan Akerson at the Cadillac exhibit.  Mr. Akerson showed Secretary Bryson and members of the Michigan Congressional delegation the newest Cadillac CTS.  After that, the group walked over to the 2013 Chevy Malibu exhibit where Mr. Akerson showed the group Chevy’s newest midsized sedan.  They also ran into Detroit Mayor Dave Bing who was also checking out the latest GM vehicles.

Secretary Bryson then visited with Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and saw the new Dodge Dart.  Both Secretary Bryson and Senator Stabenow took turns in the driver’s seat while Mr. Marchionne pointed out the features of the Chrysler’s newest compact sedan.

Secretary Bryson’s final stop on the floor was with Ford Chairman Bill Ford, where he saw the new 2013 Ford Fusion, which will include three engine options, including a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid version.  The Ford Chairman also showed the Secretary the new Lincoln MKS, before the pair ran into Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who was also checking out the newest Fusion.  The three briefly chatted about the importance of manufacturing and the auto industry to the state.

The Secretary then left the show floor to meet with UAW President Bob King.  The two discussed how the Commerce Department can ensure that they are doing everything they can to support American manufacturing so that companies build their products here and sell them everywhere.

The Secretary’s final meeting was with the Global Automakers, a group that represents members of the international automakers community, including companies from Japan, Germany, and other countries around the world.  Secretary Bryson talked about how foreign direct investment in the United States is one of his top priorities, and members of the group discussed the investments they had made to create jobs here at home.

Overall it was a quick, but productive trip to Michigan, where the Secretary met with business, and political leaders, and discussed what more the Department of Commerce can do to support job creation here at home – and saw some great cars.

What Others Are Saying About the COMPETES report

On Friday, the Commerce Department unveiled the COMPETES Report: A Roadmap for Strengthening U.S. Competitiveness. The report makes three important findings:

  • Federal investments in research, education and infrastructure were critical building blocks for American economic competitiveness, business expansion and job creation in the last century;
  • Failures to properly invest in, and have comprehensive strategies for, those areas have eroded America’s competitive position; and,
  • In a constrained budgetary environment, prioritizing support for these pillars are imperative for America’s economic future and provide a strong return on investment for the U.S. taxpayer.

The Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wrote about the report and CNN asked a Commerce Innovation Advisory Board member about it (below).

Additionally, members of the Innovation Advisory Board recorded their own videos highlighting parts of the report they felt were most important.

Commerce Department Releases COMPETES Report: A Roadmap for Strengthening U.S. Competitiveness

Secretary Bryson Releases the America COMPETES report on American competitiveness

The U.S Department of Commerce today delivered to Congress a comprehensive report on “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States.”  The report serves as a call to arms, highlighting bipartisan priorities to sustain and promote American innovation and economic competitiveness. 

At 10am ET, watch Secretary Bryson present the report and then a distinguished panel discuss the findings. [The event has now concluded]

The report makes three important findings:

  • Federal investments in research, education and infrastructure were critical building blocks for American economic competitiveness, business expansion and job creation in the last century;
  • Failures to properly invest in, and have comprehensive strategies for, those areas have eroded America’s competitive position; and,
  • In a constrained budgetary environment, prioritizing support for these pillars are imperative for America’s economic future and provide a strong return on investment for the U.S. taxpayer.

The report was mandated as part of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama in January last year. The report addresses a diverse range of topics and policy options, including: tax policy; the general business climate in the U.S.; barriers to setting up new firms; trade policy, including export promotion; the effectiveness of Federal Research and Development policy; intellectual property regimes in the U.S. and abroad; the health of the manufacturing sector; and science and technology education.

The full report, as well as additional resources, can be found online at www.commerce.gov/competes

Some key findings of the report include:

2011 Office of General Counsel Awards

General Counsel Kerry

On Monday, December 12. 2011 General Counsel Kerry presided over the Office of General Counsel Annual Awards Ceremony.  He was joined by Secretary Bryson who delivered remarks, thanking the office for their tireless work over the past year.  The Secretary acknowledged the great assistant that the office’s attorneys and support staff have provided to him since his start at Commerce and he looks forward to working closely with the staff.  He introduced GC Kerry, who detailed the broad range of accomplishments achieved by OGC office over the past year.  He highlighted the successful completion of Patent Reform and the successful litigation of the Supreme Court Case Golan v. Holder (10-545 [1]).  He also applauded OGC’s contributions to various other litigation matters as well as works in enforcing fisheries regulations and export controls.

GC Kerry and Deputy General Counsel Geovette Washington presented the Attorney of the Year Awards and the Support Staff of the Year Award.  The 2011 recipients are:

Attorney of the Year - Robert McManus – U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Robert significantly advanced the goals both of the USPTO and the Department to establish a strong patent system.  Thanks to his efforts at the Supreme Court, the Court adopted the Department's position which has been haled as resulting in stronger and more reliable patent rights.  Robert was also instrumental in a wholesale re-writing of the rules governing how appeals are conducted at the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board which will lead to more efficient review of patent applications.  Robert routinely provides expert advice under tight deadlines on complicated matters.

Support Staff of the Year - Debra Ketchopulos – National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

Debra provided crucial support to the Gloucester's Enforcement Section office maintaining continuity of operations in that region in the absence of any enforcement attorneys for most of the year.  During this time, she continued to coordinate enforcement matters with the Office for Law Enforcement, fielding as many inquiries herself as possible, while judiciously referring others to headquarters for resolution.  Debra also responded to a large number of requests for case information from the Special Master who was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to review fisheries enforcement, thereby greatly enhancing the Special Master's ability to timely complete his review.  After 34 years of support to the NOAA Office of the General Counsel, she continues to be cited by colleagues at all levels for her exceptional performance and willingness to take on new tasks and increased responsibilities.

Secretary Bryson Delivers His First Major Address Laying Out His Priorities for the Department

As part of the Obama administration’s ongoing efforts to spur job growth, Commerce Secretary John Bryson will lay out his priorities for the Department, including initiatives related to trade, manufacturing and increasing investment in the United States.

An experienced private sector leader, Bryson led Edison International as Chairman and CEO for 18 years. He also served on the boards of Boeing and Disney and as a senior adviser for the global private equity firm KKR. In little more than a month in office, Secretary Bryson has led trade talks with China to help level the playing field for American companies and workers and has reached out to numerous CEOs, including meeting with the Steering Committee of the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

Read his complete remarks on how American businesses can Build it Here. Sell it Everywhere.