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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Honoring Individuals Who Help Promote Peace and Commerce

Steve Calderia and Jack Earle with Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Under Secretary Sanchez

Cross post by Cory Churches is a Communications and Outreach Specialist with the Office of Public Affairs in the International Trade Administration.

Today we recognized a few of the recipients of a unique award bestowed by the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. Eight individuals and organizations received the International Trade Administration’s Peace through Commerce Medal Award for 2011.

Jerry Levine, President of Mentor International, Steve Calderia, CEO of the International Franchise Association and Jack Earle, CEO of the International Franchise Association were on hand to receive their awards and spoke highly of the efforts of the Commerce Department and partners in promoting exports and jobs across America.

The award, reintroduced by Sánchez, recognizes an individual, group, or organization, either domestic or abroad, whose actions have significantly promoted and developed U.S. export initiatives, encouraged innovative approaches, and improved overall U.S. trade relations.

Transatlantic Economic Council Discussions Highlight Need for Cooperation in Innovation and Regulatory and Standards Collaboration

Secretary Bryson joins his Cabinet colleagues and senior European Officials at the TEC meeting

On Tuesday, Secretary Bryson and other U.S. government officials had a valuable conversation with senior European Union (EU) leaders on ways to cooperate and achieve the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goals. Since the EU is America’s largest trading partner, they are key to meeting the ambitious goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014.

The economic relationship between the EU and the United States is the largest and most dynamic in the world. The combined gross domestic product accounts for more than $30 trillion – roughly 40 percent of global GDP – and more than 800 million consumers. In 2010, bilateral trade in goods and services surpassed $873 billion. With this relationship so vital, in April 2007 the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) was established to provide Cabinet-level political guidance for implementation of specific work programs like intellectual property rights protection and regulatory cooperation.

Tuesday’s discussions made it clear that both the United States and the EU recognize innovation to be the main driving force for continuing this economic success and creating more jobs. In his comments, Secretary Bryson noted that the innovations created through the partnerships of American and European companies can be a greater catalyst for new jobs than innovation done without such collaboration. The Commerce Department is currently working tirelessly in that vein, developing transatlantic links between companies and research centers.

Stolen Intellectual Property Harms American Businesses Says Acting Deputy Secretary Blank

Acting Deputy Secretary Blank joins Attorney General Holder and other Administration Officials at the kickoff event for the IP campaign “Counterfeits Hurt. You Have The Power to Stop Them.”

This afternoon, Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank participated in an event at the White House to announce the Administration’s progress in cracking down on intellectual property (IP) theft crimes and the launch of a public education campaign intended to increase Americans’ knowledge of the threat these crimes pose to economic prosperity and public safety.  The campaign is entitled “Counterfeits Hurt. You Have The Power to Stop Them.

Counterfeit goods not only can cause harm to the safety of our families, but they also cause harm to our economy and to American businesses.  That’s because the success of the U.S. economy relies heavily on intellectual property; virtually every industry either produces IP or uses it. IP theft costs domestic industries an estimated $200 to $250 billion a year.  This robs American workers of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Only when American ideas and American inventions are protected, so that innovators receive the rewards from their creativity, can American business prosper and the American economy continues to   grow. It’s also important to remember protecting intellectual property has a multiplier effect, helping create jobs not only within the original firm that owns the IP but also within all the firms that it buys from and sells to.

Secretary Bryson Meets with American Business Community and Chinese Investors While in Beijing

Secretary Bryson Visits Beijing Airport to See American-Made Service Vehicles

This weekend Secretary Bryson will be in Chengdu, China for the 22nd Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), the annual bilateral trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. Before going to Chengdu, the Secretary stopped in Beijing to meet with American business community and Chinese investors. He participated in a meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC), and met with members of the Chinese business community to discuss bilateral trade and investment issues. Even though he was surrounded by wonderful local cuisine, Bryson stopped off at a local U.S. franchise–Subway–to highlight the success of American brands in China, and joined U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to tour Wisconsin-made airport vehicles at the Beijing Airport.

During the meeting with the American business community, Bryson shared his commitment to opening markets and leveling the playing field for U.S. companies in China and he pledged to take their issues to the JCCT meeting in Chengdu. The discussion focused on intellectual property protection, bilateral investment and China’s indigenous innovation practices.

Bryson also met with Chinese business leaders to encourage them to invest–by establishing factories, facilities, operations and offices–in the United States and to help them better understand the opportunities and ease of investing in the U.S. China's foreign direct investment in America increased nearly twelve-fold (from $0.5 billion to $5.8 billion) between 2008 and 2010. The Obama administration recently announced Select USA–the first coordinated federal effort to aggressively pursue and win new business investment in the United States while cutting red tape and removing barriers.

Dr. Rebecca Blank Testifies Before Senate Committee on Nomination

Blank with microphone before the audience (Photo: NOAA)

Acting Deputy Secretary Dr. Rebecca Blank testified yesterday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on her nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce. Dr. Blank addressed her goals that, if confirmed, include initiatives to support American businesses and job creation, increasing efficiency and retaining a skilled and motivated workforce.

She is currently the Acting Deputy Secretary where she is focused on matters of management and policy for the department’s 12 bureaus, functioning as Commerce’s chief operating officer. Since 2009 Dr. Blank has served as the Secretary's principal economic adviser as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, overseeing the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. From August 2011 through October 2011, between the end of Secretary Gary Locke’s tenure and the beginning of Secretary John Bryson’s term, Blank served as Acting Secretary of Commerce. During that time, she worked to promote the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the economy.  Biography

Secretary Bryson Meets With Key Business and Industry Groups

Secretary Bryson with key business leaders (Photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Today Secretary Bryson attended three meetings with key businesses and industry groups. In the morning, Bryson met with trade association leaders to discuss their top priorities and challenges and how the Commerce Department can help their member businesses grow and succeed.   

After that meeting, Bryson met with the Business Roundtable (BRT) Executive Committee to discuss the issues affecting their membership and how Commerce can help their companies grow and succeed. BRT is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with over $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees.

Bryson finished the day at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Two days prior to heading to China to meet with the American and Chinese business communities and participate in annual trade talks, Bryson participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. and Chinese CEOs, as well as former government leaders, at the annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-China CEO Dialogue. The Dialogue is co-chaired by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue, and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges Chairman and former Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan.

Secretary John Bryson ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden

Secretary of Commerce John Bryson shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden

Yesterday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swore in John Bryson as the Secretary of Commerce. The ceremony took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

At the end of October, the Senate confirmed John Bryson to head the U.S. Department of Commerce by a 74-26 vote, with 21 Republicans and two independents joining all the Democrats in support.

Before assuming his position as commerce secretary, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group, for almost 18 years, where he led the company through times of both opportunities and crisis.

Learn more about John Bryson.

Commerce Veteran Hiring at 16-Year High

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Commerce is proud to announce that in the last year, veteran hiring reached a 16-year high, raising the total representation of veteran new hires to 12.5 percent.

Two years ago, on November 9, 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13518: Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government. This Executive order charged all Cabinet-level departments with establishing a Veterans Employment Office, developing an operational plan, and providing mandatory annual training to hiring managers and senior human resources practitioners on veterans preferences and special appointing authorities for veterans.

In response to the President’s Executive Order, Commerce hired Sean Lenahan, former U.S. Coast Guard officer, as their Veterans Employment Program Manager to head the Veterans Employment Team and lead all Department-level veterans hiring initiatives. The Department’s Veterans Employment Team consists of members from the Census Bureau, the Patent and Trademark Office, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

“Our Veterans Employment Team has worked tirelessly to enhance employment opportunities for veterans throughout the Department,” said Bill Fleming, Director of Human Resources, Department of Commerce.  Mr. Fleming, a U.S. Army veteran, is one of the many veterans that hold key senior leadership positions within the Department.  Michael Phelps, Director, Office of the Budget, and Barry Berkowitz, Director, Office of Acquisition Management, are both highly decorated, retired officers of the U.S. Air Force.

Building Networks to Advance the Innovation Economy

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Guest blog post by John Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Like President Obama, the top priority of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s new Secretary John Bryson is jobs. Advancing innovative economies is key to achieving sustainable job creation.

Today I traveled to Columbus, Ohio to address innovators, technology business leaders and economic development professionals to discuss ways to accelerate America’s innovation economy to create good jobs and increase our global competitiveness.

I was joined by my colleagues Phil Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Sean Greene, Associate Administrator for Investment and Special Adviser for Innovation at the Small Business Administration at a conference hosted by State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) – an organization that seeks to improve the economy through science and technology.  We discussed how under President Obama’s leadership federal agencies are making the smart investments needed to promote American innovation and support entrepreneurship and small business development.

Commerce Employees Saving Taxpayer Money

The BEA team with Secretary John Bryson and Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank

Secretary Bryson and Acting Deputy Secretary Blank have recognized three Commerce teams that are improving customer service and saving taxpayer money.  Teams from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Census Bureau, and Department of Commerce Human Resources offices have received the Performance Excellence Award.

The Performance Excellence Award is distributed to teams that support the Secretary’s vision of an evolving department and continuously improve service delivery to the American public. Bryson hopes to establish the department as a role model for other federal agencies. In an effort to go the extra mile, process improvement teams are examining the department’s infrastructure to identify and remove inefficiencies.  As a result, processes are streamlined to enhance the administration and delivery of services to customers. Although the sector is very diverse, it is definitely possible to improve service delivery through department-wide collaboration.

Today, Bryson recognized three teams that have developed new processes to accelerate reduced costs and improve programs within their purview.