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Blog Category: Office of the Secretary

Spotlight on Commerce: Rick Wade, Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff

Wade speaking from lectern

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.

Rick Wade is a Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

During his recent State of the Union address, President Obama reminded us that in order to be competitive as a country, we need to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”  One of the best ways we can celebrate Black History Month is to revive the spirit of past African American inventors and invest more in innovation and entrepreneurship.

It was back in 1907 when Booker T. Washington said, “every member of the race should strive to be successful in business, however humble that business might be.”  My work at the Department of Commerce provides me an opportunity to help businesses start, flourish and create high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Commerce Department’s Proposed 2012 Budget

The Commerce Department’s proposed 2012 budget makes tough choices and reduces spending by $242 million, while making important investments that will help America out-build and out-innovate our economic competitors.With a proposed five-year, non-security discretionary spending freeze that will save $400 billion, President Obama’s budget reduces non-security, discretionary spending to its lowest percentage of the economy since President Dwight Eisenhower was in office.

Among the highlighted cuts and reductions:

  • $15.8 million from eliminating the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program;
  • $37.3 million from eliminating EDA’s 21st Century Innovation Infrastructure program;
  • $20 million by restructuring the International Trade Administration to focus on high-priority markets and industries. This means eliminating a number of foreign posts, among other cost savings;
  • $43 million by eliminating the Emergency Steel Guaranteed Loan Program;
  • More than $2 million by reducing the reliance of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program on federal funding and shifting it to a private sector footing, and;
  • $20 million by eliminating the Public Telecommunications Facilities, Planning and Construction Program.

In addition to the program cuts mentioned above, the budget includes savings that result from reforming the way Commerce works – doing more, while spending less. That meant changing how the department handles acquisitions and logistics, such as shipping, to find places where it can leverage buying power; tightening the filling of vacancies to the highest priority positions and better using information technologies. All told, the proposed 2012 budget finds more than $140 million in administrative savings.

Successful Trade Mission to India Wraps Up Today

Secretary Locke Meets a Member of the Dabbawala Association Organization

After the final day in Mumbai, Secretary Locke and delegates from the 24 U.S. businesses who travelled to India on the six-day high-tech trade mission to India wrapped up their business.

Secretary Locke said, “This trade mission was a resounding success.  For some companies on our trip, ‘success’ was an initial meeting or consultation with Indian government or business leaders that will lead to deals down the road. For others, success was more immediate with some companies leaving India on the cusp of making multimillion dollar sales.  Either way, these companies have made important inroads into one of the most promising high-technology markets in the world.”

On Friday morning, Secretary Locke met with the executive committee of the U.S- India Importers’ Council, an initiative developed to support Indian companies that import goods and services from the United States.  The mission of this Council is to advance President Obama’s National Export Initiative, and to support the efforts of Indian companies that import products from the U.S.
 
Locke then visited Mumbai’s legendary Dabbawala Association organization to learn about their unique logistics operation that delivers home-cooked food to hundreds of thousands of people daily.  Association president Raghunath Medge provided Locke with an overview of the organization’s labeling and sorting methodology and the dispatch process. Dabbawala’s lunch delivery service has been cited as a model of entrepreneurship and supply chain management at the grass-roots level. In the afternoon, Locke engaged in multiple bilateral meetings with Indian officials.

India Trade Mission Has Been a Success for Pelican Products

Scott Ermeti, VP Marketing and International Business, Pelican

Guest blog post by Scott Ermeti, Vice President, Marketing and International Business at Pelican Products.

Ed note: Pelican Products is a manufacturer of watertight protective cases, submersible flashlights and ATEX certified torches.

We are nearing the end of Secretary Locke’s weeklong “India High Tech Business Development Mission” and by nearly all measures it has been a success for Pelican Products.  As a mid-sized American manufacturer of high-performance protective cases & packaging solutions and portable lighting equipment, it would have been very difficult for us to have received such a fine and rapid indoctrination to the Indian market elsewhere. 

Multiple meetings and presentations have educated us on the enormous opportunities that exist here:

  • The Indian “middle class” is made up of more than 300 million persons; larger than the entire U.S. population
  • The Indian economy is forecasted to grow at a rate of 7-9% for the next five years.
  • The Indian government is forecasted to spend:
    • $50 billion dollars in Aerospace and Defense improvements in the next five years
    • $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and airports in the next five years.
  • Currently manufacturing makes up only 16% of Indian GDP, but the goal is to increase that percentage to 25% over the next 10 years.

Next stop: Bangalore to Inaugurate the U.S. Pavilion at Aero India and Visit Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Facilities

Locke and And Ambassador Roemer in HAL helicopter

Today Secretary Locke flew to Bangalore for the second stop of his high-technology business development trade mission to India.

Locke’s first stop on his visit was Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.’s (HAL) facilities. HAL is one of Asia’s largest aerospace companies, employing approximately 34,000 people with roughly $2 billion in annual revenue. The company has partnered with leading U.S. aerospace manufacturers – Boeing, Honeywell, and Lockheed Martin – on several projects. The U.S export content value for HAL is $40 to $50 million dollars annually with hundreds of millions in future export opportunities.

High-Technology Trade Mission To India with Secretary Locke and 24 U.S. Companies Kicks Off

Today, Secretary Locke kicked off a high-technology trade mission in New Delhi to promote exports of leading U.S. technologies and services related to civil nuclear energy, civil aviation, defense and homeland security, and information and communications technology. The mission will continue through February 11, and also make stops in Bangalore and Mumbai. 

His first stop was at a neighborhood grocery store in New Delhi that is using technology developed by a U.S. company to market its products, manage its customers and organize its business operations.  Intuit, based in Mountain View, Calif., created “GoConnect,” a new innovative mobile and web-based marketing service that is helping Indian micro and small businesses grow and improve the way they communicate with their customers. Intuit’s new application was first announced during the President Obama’s visit to India.

"Intuit's GoConnect technology is a prime example of the kind of mutually beneficial trade that creates jobs in both countries, creating opportunities from the Intuit offices in Northern California to a neighborhood grocery store in the streets of New Delhi," said Secretary Locke. "We look forward to finding more commercial opportunities like these during this trade mission."

GoConnect was developed in both India and the U.S. The data is hosted in Intuit's data center in Quincy, Washington. 

Secretary Locke Arrives in India for High-Tech Trade Mission

Secretary Locke and Montek Singh Ahluwalia

Earlier today, Secretary Locke landed in India at the start of a high-tech trade mission. He wrote an opinion editorial for The Times of India explaining the importance of trade to the economic growth of India and the United States.

When President Barack Obama spoke before the Indian Parliament last November, he said: "The relationship between the United States and India - bound by our shared interests and values - will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century."

During the president's visit, there was action backing up those words, including $10 billion in job-creating deals between American and Indian businesses and the Indian government; President Obama expressing support for India gaining a permanent seat on the UN Security Council; and an announcement of significant reforms to US export control policies - opening the door for increased high-technology trade and cooperation between India and the US.

This week, I am travelling to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to help 24 US companies walk through that door. These companies - more than half of which are small- and medium-sized businesses - are leaders in the civil nuclear, defence and security, civil aviation, and information and communications technology sectors. They are eager to find Indian business partners and to help India continue its remarkable transformation.

Read the rest of "Opening the Door to India" and find out more about the high-tech trade mission.

The Commerce Department’s Latest Privacy Initiative on Data Privacy Day

Today is Data Privacy Day, an annual international celebration to raise awareness and generate discussion about information privacy designated by both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. In honor of Data Privacy Day, here’s an update on the latest Commerce Department initiative to protect the privacy of the American people.

On Jan. 7 at a discussion forum with business and academic leaders at Stanford University, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard A. Schmidt unveiled plans to establish a National Program Office at the Commerce Department to help implement the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, an administration initiative that aims to foster private-sector development of new technologies that can improve both the privacy and the security of sensitive online transactions.

Cybercrime and identity theft cost U.S. consumers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. So the idea is that the private sector would lead the development of better technologies for consumers and businesses to establish their identities before they conduct sensitive transactions like banking, shopping or downloading health care records. The Commerce Department would facilitate the process by building consensus on standards and managing collaborative efforts with other federal agencies.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Meets with Colombia’s Vice President

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Meets with Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met today with Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzon to discuss various trade issues including the pending trade agreement.

“President Obama understands that implementing the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement is a key component in our trade agenda – creating jobs and forging new business ties between our countries.  Colombia is an important market for U.S. companies, and the Trade Agreement is a key component of our National Export Initiative.”

Locke also expressed his deepest sympathy to the Colombian people in the wake of the disastrous flooding that killed over 300 people.

New Markets, New Jobs: The National Export Initiative Small Business Tour

Beginning the TPCC Meeting

On the one-year anniversary of the launch of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills and Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg announced today the launch of a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to help connect small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) with the resources they need to sell more of what they make overseas.

“For America to win the future, more small and medium sized businesses must export, because the more small businesses export, the more they produce; the more they produce, the more workers they need, and that means good-paying jobs here at home,” Locke said.

The first of these New Markets, New Jobs events is scheduled for February 17th in Minneapolis, Minn. Locke is expected to be joined by Kirk, Mills, Hochberg, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, among others. The Minnesota stop will be followed by events in Los Angeles, Calif., Louisiana and Wilmington, Del. in the coming months. The conferences, which were called for in September’s Report to the President on the National Export Initiative, are intended to reach more than 3,500 small and medium sized companies interested in exporting.