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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Commerce’s Commitment to Eliminating Regulatory Burdens in Support of Growth, Competitiveness and National Security

Guest blog post by Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In January, President Obama issued an executive order outlining his plan to create a 21st century regulatory system that encourages job creation, economic growth and U.S. competitiveness. The idea was to make it simpler, smarter and more efficient, while still protecting the health and safety of the American people.  As a key part of that plan, he called upon government agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of the rules and regulations currently on the books and to remove those that are outdated, unnecessary or excessively burdensome.  

This review has led agencies, including the Department of Commerce, to identify initiatives that have the potential to eliminate tens of millions of hours in reporting burdens and billions of dollars in regulatory costs. Today, the results of each agency’s review is being made public and posted on Whitehouse.gov. 

Here at the Commerce Department, we focused our plan on those bureaus with the greatest regulatory activity: the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the International Trade Administration (ITA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Secretary Locke Lauds West Paw Design's Export Success at APEC 2011 Meetings

Secretary Locke Lauds West Paw Design's Export Success at APEC 2011 Meetings

On the heels of the APEC 2011 meetings in Big Sky, Montana, Secretary Gary Locke and Senator Max Baucus visited West Paw Design today, a Montana-based manufacturer of eco-friendly pet toys, beds and apparels.  Touring its sustainable manufacturing facilities, Locke praised West Paw for its green manufacturing methods and efforts to export its products to foreign markets.  Promoting green growth among businesses of the Asia-Pacific region is one of the key goals of APEC 2011.

“West Paw exemplifies the kind of green growth and aggressive exporting that we need from small- and medium-sized businesses to reinvigorate our economy,” Locke said.  “It is the export successes of companies like West Paw that are going to help our economy grow, create jobs and meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years.”

West Paw, which exports its products to 28 foreign markets, showcased its best sustainable manufacturing practices to more than 70 participants during the tour, including APEC trade officials and private sector representatives from the 21 APEC economies.

West Paw Design integrated sustainability into its manufacturing processes and product design by using recycled and organic materials. The company has 46 employees and has more than doubled the size of its manufacturing facility in 2010 in order to handle the growing demand for its products.  It has utilized several federal government resources to help boost its exports, including the Commerce Department’s U.S. Commercial Service, Manufacturing Extension Partnership and loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Secretary Locke Discusses Small Business Competitiveness at APEC Green Growth Forum, Meets with APEC Trade Ministers

Secretary Locke Delivering the Keynote Remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium Enterprise Enhancing Competitiveness through Green Growth Forum

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today delivered keynote remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium Enterprise Enhancing Competitiveness through Green Growth Forum in advance of the APEC 2011 SME Ministerial Meeting.  He urged small- and medium-sized businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region to incorporate green growth strategies into their business development plans to increase their global competitiveness.

The Competitiveness and Green Growth Forum provided an opportunity to discuss ways to help APEC economies incorporate green growth policies into the business development plans of SMEs.  The Forum also paved the groundwork for the APEC SME Ministers’ discussions on green growth-focused technical and financial assistance programs for SMEs.

Locke met with representatives from U.S. companies during a luncheon to highlight how APEC meetings can help connect American companies with public and private sector officials from all the 21 APEC economies and open up more business opportunities.  In 2010, 60 percent of U.S. goods exports were to the APEC economies.

Hearing From Local Businesses in Minneapolis, MN: Secretary Locke Joins a White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council Listening and Action Session

UPDATED: Secretary Locke wrote about his time in Minneapolis on the White House blog.

Today, Secretary Locke traveled to Minneapolis to take part in a White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council Listening and Action Session. There, he heard suggestions from local business leaders on how the public and private sectors can work together to create jobs and enhance competitiveness for small businesses.

Secretary Locke was joined by Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and CEO, Kodak, Don Graves, President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Department of Treasury, Ron Bloom, Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy, President’s National Economic Council, and Darlene Miller, President and CEO, Permac Industries.

Ms. Miller and Permak Industries, located just outside Minneapolis, played host to the session. They provided Administration officials and Jobs Council Members with a tour the Permac Industries facility and then held forum discussions and Q and A sessions with local business owners to discuss ideas for creating jobs and growing business in this country.

These sessions are part of an ongoing series of regional Council Listening and Action Sessions that will take place around the country.  The purpose of the regional sessions is to respond to the President’s challenge that the Council bring new voices to the table and ensure that everyone can participate and inform the work and recommendations of the Council.  The ideas and information exchanged at these events will help inform the future policy work of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The first Listening and Action Session took place in Dayton, Ohio and focused on creating new markets and customers for small businesses through supply chain development, in-sourcing, and partnerships with large businesses.

Spotlight on Commerce: Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce

Secretary Locke Addresses the Committee of 100

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 winning the future through their work.

Gary Locke is the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As we continue to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, it is important for us to reflect on our past – the difficulties we had growing up in immigrant families, the accomplishments our community has achieved and the barriers we still need to knock down.

Being an Asian American now is certainly different from when I was growing up.  In the Ozzie and Harriet era in which I was born, I thought I had to choose between being Chinese and being American.  I remembered that most mornings, my grade school teacher would ask us what we had for breakfast.  If we had eaten anything that was considered “un-American” – in my case, it was the rice porridge with fish and vegetables that my mother gave me – my teacher would slap our hands with a ruler. 

When I was young, I constantly struggled between my desire to be more “American” and my parents’ attempt to make me more “Chinese”.  It took the civil rights movement to teach me that I could be both Chinese and American.  I could be Chinese-American.  I could be myself.  I could be loyal and patriotic to the Star-Spangled Banner and still eat with chopsticks. 

Secretary Locke Attends Productive Meetings During the Third Meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue

Secretary Locke and Chinese Minister of Commerce, Chen Deming, Pose For a Photo During Their Meeting

On Monday and Tuesday, Secretary Locke, along with Secretary Clinton and Geithner, engaged with their Chinese counterparts at the third meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Since becoming Commerce secretary, Locke has played a key role in the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the commercial environment in China and open up its markets for U.S. businesses. Locke, who co-chaired two sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, led a clean energy trade mission to China and Indonesia in May 2010 and accompanied President Obama on his visit to China in November 2009, has worked to level the playing field for U.S. businesses and promoted American-made products and services in the Chinese market, in order to create good-paying American jobs and advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative. 

On Monday, Secretary Locke attended the opening session with Vice President Joe Biden and participated in both the economic and strategic track sessions of the Dialogue.  During the meetings, Locke discussed top U.S. government priorities regarding China, including transparency, intellectual property rights protection and China’s policies toward its state-owned enterprises and national champions.  He spoke about prospects of cooperation with China on issues related to marine living resources, ocean policies and environmental protection.

On Tuesday, Locked hosted a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming to continue their ongoing engagement to strengthen U.S.-China commercial relations. In the afternoon, he joined Secretaries Clinton and Geithner in a small group lunch at the Blair House with U.S. and Chinese CEOs and business leaders to engage the business communities of both countries and discuss ways to improve the U.S.-China economic relationship.

Spotlight on Commerce: Victoria Tung, Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

Victoria Tung, Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

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 winning the future through their work.

Victoria Tung is the Associate Director for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor on Asian American and Pacific Islander Affairs.

In my role, I advise Secretary Locke and our Assistant Secretaries on legislative issues and congressional relations, as well as outreach to state and local government. I manage these efforts and the Department’s relationships with eight congressional committees of jurisdiction across my portfolio, which includes economic development, census/economic analysis, minority business development, innovation and entrepreneurship and recovery act implementation.  Additionally, I advise Secretary Locke on Asian American and Pacific Islander issues and am working closely with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to increase access to and participation in federal programs for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

Today, and throughout this entire month, we commemorate the courage and contributions of early Asian American and Pacific Islanders who journeyed to the United States, set up lives here against unbelievable odds and laid out roots for future generations.  I know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my great grandparents and grandparents who left China after the war in search of a better life for our family in America.  Their strength and perseverance continues to inspire me and is the story of many Asian American families in this country.  During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we honor the pioneers, the laborers, the veterans, the entrepreneurs, the trailblazers and the families – all who worked hard to open the doors of opportunity to a new generation.

Secretary Locke Addresses Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the United States and the Current State of U.S.-China Commercial Relations

Secretary Locke Addresses the Asia Society at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States

This morning, Secretary Locke addressed the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China. The groups today released a new study that shows Chinese foreign direct investment in America doubling in each of the last two years. Chinese investors now have investments in at least 35 of our 50 states, across dozens of industries, employing thousands of Americans. Locke welcomed this news, but also noted progress the U.S. needs to see from Beijing to improve the business environment for American companies trying to invest or expand into China.

He said, “When it comes to market access problems for foreign companies, the issues may be different, but the fundamental problem often boils down to the distance between the promises of China’s government and action.”

Secretary Locke to Deliver Speech on Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. and U.S.-China Commercial Relations (webcast)

Ahead of the third U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on May 9-10, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will deliver a speech at 10:30 Eastern today on Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States and the current state of U.S.-China commercial relations.   

The Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China and the United States will release a comprehensive report by the Rhodium Group on Chinese FDI at today’s event – “An American Open Door? Maximizing the Benefits of Chinese Direct Investment.” Others expected to attend include Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Zhang Yesui, former U.S. Ambassador to China Stapleton Roy and Director of the Asia Society Center on U.S.-China Relations Orville Schell.  

The Wilson Center is hosting a webcast of the event between 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Secretary Locke and Congressional Delegation Conclude Productive South Korea Meetings

Secretary Locke, Reps Crowley and Reichert Overlook North Korea from the DMZ

Today Secretary Gary Locke and the congressional delegation concluded their three-day trip to Seoul with a visit to the Demilitarized Zone – the border between South and North Korea – and a lunch with U.S troops and their families at Yongsan Garrison to thank them for their service. The group also met with leaders of South Korea’s Democratic Party and Grand National Party at Korea’s National Assembly to discuss the U.S.-South Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS).

“Over the last few days we have had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits that KORUS will bring to the economies of both the U.S. and Korea,” Locke said. “There is great demand for U.S. products -- from made-in-America cell phone components to life-saving medical equipment. This agreement will increase mutually beneficial trade, strengthen our economies and create jobs in both of our countries.”

Locke also visited Seoul National University Hospital for a demonstration of Varian Medical Systems’ (Palo Alto, Calif.) advanced radiotherapy technology.  Varian is the world leader in this life-saving, cancer treatment technology with approximately $34 million worth of annual sales to South Korea.  Their equipment is manufactured in California and Utah and exported globally. Under the U.S.-South Korea trade agreement, the tariff on Varian’s products would be eliminated, making the company more competitive in the Korean market.