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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Secretary Locke and Members of Congress Tour Pantech and Meet with U.S. Businesses in Korea

On the second day of the CODEL trip to Korea, Secretary Locke and the congressional delegation visited Pantech, one of the largest mobile phone makers in South Korea, to see firsthand how the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement will help American and South Korean businesses and workers in today’s global manufacturing and supply chain. 

Currently, Pantech imports about half a billion dollars worth of U.S. products annually, including chipsets from Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif.) and Gorilla Glass from Corning Inc. (Corning, New York).  Gorilla Glass is manufactured in Harrodsburg, Kentucky and is exported around the world for use in smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices and has applications across a large range of industries.  In addition, nearly 60 percent of Pantech’s production equipment is made by U.S. companies.

With the approval and implementation of the U.S.-South Korea agreement, Pantech is expected to quadruple its purchase of U.S. products by 2015, while Corning will see existing tariffs on Gorilla Glass eliminated immediately upon implementation of the agreement. Corning, utilizing these benefits, will gain market share in South Korea’s growing mobile-device market by enhancing its competitiveness vis-à-vis other manufacturers in the region.  Corning is also investing $180 million to expand its factory in Harrodsburg in order to meet the growing demands of its customers in Asia, including South Korea.  Earlier in the day, Locke met with his South Korean counterpart, the Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Joong-Kyung, to discuss KORUS and the cooperative relationship between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

AMCHAM Korea Welcomes Secretary Locke to Seoul

Amy Jackson, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, Hosts Secretary Locke During a Luncheon in Seoul, Korea.

Guest blog post by Amy Jackson, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM Korea) was very pleased to welcome Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and his delegation of four distinguished Members of Congress to Korea this week.  Their visit symbolizes the strong ties that underline the U.S.-Korea bilateral relationship – and also the expectation that the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) will soon be taken up by the legislatures in both countries for a vote.

AMCHAM Korea is the oldest and largest foreign business association in Korea.  We are a fully private organization, and we have around 2,000 individual members coming from about 1,000 companies that span all sectors of the economy – aerospace, automotive, agriculture, consumer products, financial services, healthcare, education, professional services, and many more.   Our member companies are big and small and employee hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers throughout the United States. 

Our key message to Secretary Locke and his delegation was that early ratification of the KORUS FTA is essential for the continued success of U.S. companies in the $1 trillion dollar Korean economy.  Our members emphasized that they compete head-to-head with European companies here, and once the Korea-EU FTA goes into effect on July 1, European companies will have a significant cost advantage over their U.S. competitors.  In addition, companies in the Congressional districts of the Members who accompanied the Secretary noted that they are already looking at changes in their supply chains as a result of the Korea-EU and KORUS FTAs.  If KORUS goes into effect soon, this could mean significant increase in sourcing from U.S. suppliers.

Secretary Locke and Congressional Delegation Met With Korean President Lee to Discuss U.S.-Korea Commercial Relationship

Locke and Lee discussed mutual benefits of U.S.-Korea trade agreement

Today, Secretary Gary Locke and members of Congress met with the President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-Bak at the Blue House. Locke, who is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to build support for the passage of the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS), reinforced the importance of the bilateral commercial relationship as part of the two countries’ historic alliance and emphasized the importance of KORUS in spurring economic growth in both the U.S. and Korea.

“Korea is a vital ally, a strong friend, and an important economic partner,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “KORUS is a win-win for both the U.S. and Korea. This agreement will strengthen our partnership and take it to the next level, by lowering tariffs and creating a more level playing field for businesses in both countries.”

The congressional delegation consists of four members from the U.S. House of Representatives – Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and David Reichert (R-WA).

Locke and the delegation discussed the benefits of KORUS for both the U.S. and Korea in productive bilateral meetings with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-Hwan and Trade Minister Kim Jong-Hoon. Earlier in the day, they met with the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, as well as top Korean business executives.  Locke and the delegation also met with a diverse group of Korean university students over afternoon tea where they had an in-depth discussion about the youth perspective on KORUS and how various elements of the agreement will benefit the economic future of both countries.  They talked about Korea’s impressive economic growth and its emerging economic leadership in the region and the world.

Secretary Locke Kicks Off CODEL to Korea

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke.

This week, I’m visiting the Republic of Korea, one of the United States’ closest allies in the world, and one of our most important trading partners.  Last December, President Obama signed a landmark trade deal with Korea that could boost annual exports of American goods to Korea by up to $11 billion, supporting at least 70,000 U.S. jobs.

But the deal still needs to pass Congress, which is why this week, I’m leading four Members of Congress on a fact-finding mission that will demonstrate firsthand how this trade deal will lead directly to more sales of American goods and services abroad and more American jobs here at home.

Korean and U.S. businesses are already collaborating, innovating and trading together like never before.  This week, members of our bipartisan delegation – which includes Representatives Dave Reichert and Jim McDermott from my home state of Washington and Representatives Joseph Crowley and Charles Rangel from New York – are getting to see this up close.

Tomorrow, we visit Pantech, one of Korea’s largest mobile phone makers, and a major buyer of U.S. technology. 

4th Annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards at the Department of Commerce

The winning team from NIST. From left to right:  Brian Dougherty (NIST), Dennis Campbell (NIST), Frederick Stephens (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer), Daniel Gilmore (NIST), Stella Fiotes (NIST Chief Facilities Management Officer), and Jatin Patel (NIST).

The Department of Commerce celebrated Earth Day this week with its 4th annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards ceremony.  The department’s Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards honor outstanding efforts in promoting environmental stewardship and energy conservation across the department.  This year there were six winning teams:

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, honored for sourcing more than five percent of its energy from renewable sources in FY10;

  • The Herbert C. Hoover Building Green Team, honored for implementing a toner cartridge recycling and reuse program whose savings are estimated at $50,000 annually;

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service’s Coastal Services Center in Charleston, S.C., honored for installing an innovative rainwater harvesting system to redirect stormwater from roofs into native planting beds and a rain garden;

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, honored for reducing use and increasing recycling of toxic chemicals;

  • Members of the department’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan development team, honored for their success in drafting the department’s first Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan and establishing a dedicated sustainability communication network at Commerce;

  • And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, honored for implementing a suite of projects ranging from the installation of innovative solar power technologies to the selection of alternative products for vessel maintenance that together have significantly reduced grid energy consumption, water consumption, and fleet petroleum use.  

The department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer, Fred Stephens, presented the awards to the winning teams during the Herbert C. Hoover Building’s Earth Day fair on April 20, 2011.  Congratulations to the winners! 

Secretary Locke Tours Rexnord Industries and Addresses Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce

Secretary Locke Inspects a Rexnord Industries Product

Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Milwaukee, Wisc., today and delivered the keynote address to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, discussing the Obama administration’s strategy to spur job creation, promote innovation and energy independence, help businesses succeed, and position America to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition.

Earlier in the day, Locke toured Rexnord Industries, a leading manufacturer of process and motion control and water management products with operations and associates worldwide, and highlighted the importance of exports to strengthening the economic recovery.  He also hosted a roundtable discussion with local small- and medium-sized businesses to hear directly from them about the challenges they are facing and their ideas to encourage the recovery.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Locke at today’s events.

United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations

This blog post is about an older plan. The United States Department of Commerce Plan for Orderly Shutdown Due to Lapse of Congressional Appropriations at the end of FY 2013 is available here.

The current FY 2011 Continuing Resolution may expire without new budget authority. While it is not anticipated that there will be a lapse in appropriations, the Department must be prepared for a potential lapse in funding that would necessitate a significant reduction in operations.

Prior to a potential lapse in funding, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires the Department to submit a draft plan for agency operations in the absence of appropriations (a "shutdown plan"). This plan will likely be modified with additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management and OMB, as the situation develops, and may be changed by the Department, as circumstances warrant.

This plan complies with the guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce.

Files

The Southwest Border Is Open for Business

El Paso now has one of the lowest crime rates among big American cities.

Posted by Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary Gary Locke

This op-ed appeared in The Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2011

Over the last few weeks, mayors, sheriffs, business leaders and citizens have joined together with a simple but powerful message: America's Southwest border communities are open for business. This is a message the American people need to hear.

Unfortunately, there is a widespread misperception that the Southwest is wracked by violence spilling over from Mexico's ongoing drug war. The facts tell a different story. Some of America's safest communities are in the Southwest border region, with crime rates in cities along the border staying steady or dropping over the past decade. For example, the crime rate in Tucson, Ariz., fell 15% between 2008 and 2009 and 21% in Brownsville, Texas, over the same period.

In the last two years, the Obama administration has made historic deployments of manpower, technology and infrastructure to help secure our Southwest border. These efforts—along with the heroic work of our Border Patrol agents—are paying off.

Between fiscal years 2009 and 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 81% more currency, 25% more drugs, and 47% more weapons along the Southwest border than they did between fiscal years 2007 and 2008. Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens—the best indicator of illegal immigration—have dropped by 36% over the past two years to less than a third of its all-time high.

Easter Egg on Commerce.gov to Celebrate April's Arrival

Basket of Easter Eggs

To celebrate the first day of April, Commerce.gov has a hidden Easter egg. Uncovering this surprise shouldn’t be too hard for anyone who played Contra on the original NES. (hint: up, up, down, down…)

Because our website is built upon the open-source platform Drupal, we are able to take advantage of the work of others to improve our website like our photo slideshow and commenting features at no cost to taxpayers. That even includes whimsical “improvements” like today’s Easter Egg. We used this Drupal module (warning: spoiler) to implement the game JavaScript.

The Easter egg code works on any Commerce.gov page, so take a tour while you are playing the game.

The Easter egg will only be available on Friday, April 1, so start looking for that Easter egg now.

Let us know your high score in the comments and what you'd like to see more of on Commerce.gov

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Takes New Markets, New Jobs Export Tour to Los Angeles

Secretary Gary Locke Addresses Small Business Owners at APBO about the Resources that the Government is Providing to Connect Small- and Medium-sized Businesses with Foreign Buyers,

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Los Angeles, Calif., today for the second stop of the New Markets, New Jobs small business outreach tour.  Joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and USC Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis, Locke discussed the importance of exports to America’s economic recovery and job creation, and the resources that the government is providing to connect local small- and medium-sized businesses with foreign buyers, especially those from the Asia-Pacific markets, in order to help them sell more overseas and hire more at home.  

Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, New Markets, New Jobs is a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to proactively bring government services to businesses across the country that are interested in exporting.  The tour was launched in Minneapolis in February, and will continue on to New Orleans, Louisiana in April and Wilmington, Delaware in May.

See video
Read the transcript: 
Exporting: A Personal Tale