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Spotlight on Commerce: April Boyd, Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs

April Boyd, Assistant Secretary 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.

April Boyd is the Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs for U.S. Department of Commerce.

As Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Commerce Department, I have the privilege to serve as Secretary Locke’s principal advisor on legislative issues, congressional relations and outreach to the nation’s governors and mayors.  I manage these efforts and the Department’s relationships with its 19 congressional committees of jurisdiction across the Department’s 12 bureaus.

During my tenure, the Department and Congress have collaborated on a range of measures, such as the bipartisan America COMPETES Act, which aims to boost the innovation on which our economic growth depends.  Lately, I’ve been focusing on two key administration legislative priorities:  comprehensive patent reform legislation, and Congressional implementation of the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement.  

Given that Members of Congress come to Washington to be a direct voice for their states and districts, and understanding that the Commerce Department exists to be the voice for American businesses, my job gives me the perspective that, together, we can be a powerful force for helping America win the future.  That’s what drives me to connect with members of Congress and local governments on Secretary Locke’s goals and the Commerce Department’s resources for American businesses, including those owned and led by women.  

Commerce Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address on U.S.-Brazil Relations at the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil and Visits Cummins Production Facility

Secretary Locke Tours Cummins's Brazilian Production and Research Facility with Fred Hochberg, Ambassador Shannon and Luiz Pasquotto, VP for Cummins for Latin America

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered the keynote address at the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo today where he discussed how Brazil and the United States can partner to expand trade and investment, and strengthen each other's ability to compete in the global economy.

Earlier, Locke met with Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo (FIESP), a prominent trade association comprised of local businesses, as well as Brazilian and American executives at a American Chamber of Commerce board meeting.

Later in the day, Locke toured the Brazilian production and research facilities of Cummins Inc., which produces engines and related components, and emissions solutions technology. Locke was joined by Tim Solso, Chairman and CEO.

Cummins, Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Ind., has invested in the local São Paulo community in which they built their facility.  They created a day care center, built a school and a health clinic, as well created a job training program that teaches unemployed women how to sew.

Spotlight on Commerce: Ellen Moran, Chief of Staff

Ellen Moran, Chief of Staff, Department of Commerce

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.

Ellen Moran is the Chief of Staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

As Chief of Staff I run the office of the Secretary, and ensure Secretary Locke’s priorities and initiatives are executed by the Department. I work with the Secretary daily managing his workload and departmental staff to assist him with carrying out the President’s vision for “Winning the Future.” Whether it is through launching the National Export Initiative or completing the 2010 Census on time and under budget, I make sure the department works efficiently and effectively to strengthen America’s economy through the Secretary’s vision.  

Through our work we also have the unique opportunity to help American small businesses first hand, including those run by women.  Just this month, Acting Deputy Secretary Becky Blank and the Economics and Statistics Administration released the first comprehensive federal report in decades on the conditions of “Women in America.” (PDF) The Department works continuously to address the challenges faced by women and girls especially in regard to the economic struggles they face. Through awarding startup grants or making export information and guidance available to those businesses ready to expand, the Commerce Department provides guidance daily to women entrepreneurs and business owners in order to foster the growth of the U.S. economy. Women have dramatically reshaped their role in the workforce over the past several decades and the U.S. economy will only benefit as more women continue to grow their businesses.

Secretary Locke Tours Embraer to Highlight Importance of Trade Relationship Between U.S. and Brazil

Secretary Locke Tours Embraer 's Facility
Secretary Locke visited Embraer's Manufacturing Facility

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today encouraged stronger U.S.-Brazil commercial relations during a visit to Embraer manufacturing facility outside Sao Paulo. Embraer is a Brazilian manufacturer of commercial, general aviation, and defense aircraft.  Locke toured the facility and saw firsthand how the company incorporates significant U.S. aviation content into its supply chain.  He also applauded the company for it integrated supply chain and encouraged further integration with American small-medium-sized enterprises.

"Embraer is a shining example of partnership between U.S. and Brazilian manufacturing that is a "win-win" and creates jobs in both countries," Locke said.

According to Embraer, the company has imported over $6 billion in goods from U.S. companies over the last five years.  Embraer recently opened an assembly facility in Melbourne, Fla. and currently employs 660 people in the United States at 5 facilities.

Brazilian firms have made substantial investments in the U.S. worth billions of dollars during the past decade. Between 2003 and 2010, 47 projects were announced with a total capital investment of $2.5 billion dollars. Completed, these projects could create 4,806 new jobs, in a cross-section of industries ranging from information technology to steel making.

U.S. subsidiaries of Brazil-owned firms employed 42,200 people in the United States as of 2008.

Secretary Locke Advances U.S.-Brazil Trade Relationship During Presidential Trip

Secretary Locke chats with Fernando Pimentel, the Brazilian Minister of Development Industry and Foreign Trade

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke arrived today in Brazil, where he will accompany President Obama on his first trip to South America. Locke participated in number of meetings with key ministers leading up to the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum tomorrow. 

Locke met with Fernando Pimentel, the Brazilian Minister of Development Industry and Foreign Trade to discuss ongoing cooperation on key commercial relationship issues and the short- and long-term priorities of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum.

Earlier in the day, Locke met with Antonio Palocci, President Dilma Rousseff's Chief of Staff and co-chair of the U.S.-Brazil CEO forum, to discuss increased commercial engagement between the two countries. He discussed improving cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights issues with Brazilian Minister of Culture Ana de Hollanda.

During the evening, Locke and other Administration officials met with more than a dozen U.S and Brazilian CEOs to set priorities and goals for tomorrow's U.S. Brazil CEO Forum.

Locke will co-chair tomorrow’s sixth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum where U.S. and Brazilian business leaders will discuss concrete recommendations to improve trade between the two countries.

[Press Release]

Commerce Department Supports Puerto Rico as part of President’s Interagency Task Force

Guest blog post by Rick Wade, senior adviser to Secretary Locke, deputy chief of staff, and member of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status

Today the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status submitted a report to President Obama and Congress that provides recommendations for addressing Puerto Rico’s political status and economic climate. The report identifies specific proposals for boosting economic development, building competitive industries, and improving the quality of life for the people of Vieques – a Puerto Rican island-municipality in the northeastern Caribbean.

These recommendations, along with plans for their implementation, follow two public hearings held in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as well as meetings with island officials and other stakeholders to gather input directly from a broad cross section of voices on the issues of Puerto Rico’s status and economic development.

The report underlines the fact that Puerto Rico’s political status continues to be of great importance to its people. Its economy – like many others – has also faced significant challenges in recent years, driving the need for a greater focus on economic progress in the U.S. territory. Per capita income in Puerto Rico remains at less than one-third of that in the United States, due in part to its low employment rate and persistently low rate of labor force participation.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will be intensely involved in implementing the recommendations of the Task Force’s report. Six of the department’s 12 bureaus will lead projects in support of economic growth in Puerto Rico. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will help develop an interagency team that works to connect Puerto Ricans to broadband Internet. The International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center in San Juan will help Puerto Rico increase its exports. And the department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis will help Puerto Rico update its methodology for calculating gross domestic product so it aligns with U.S. standards and better captures economic conditions there.

Protecting Consumers & Promoting Innovation Online: A Call for Baseline Privacy Legislation

Guest blog post by Cameron Kerry, General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The time has come for Congress to pass strong Internet consumer privacy legislation that provides clear rules of the road for businesses and consumers while preserving the innovation and free flow of information that are hallmarks of the Internet economy.

That’s the Obama Administration’s conclusion based on the work we have been doing on commercial data privacy.  Three months ago, the Commerce Department published its Green Paper, which contained preliminary policy recommendations to enhance consumer protection and strengthen online trust, while ensuring the Web remains a platform for innovation, jobs, and economic growth

In response, the Commerce Department received thoughtful and well-researched comments from over a hundred stakeholders representing industry, consumer groups, and academic sectors.  We carefully reviewed all them.  Through the Privacy and Internet Policy Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), which I co-chair with Assistant Attorney General Christopher Schroeder, we consulted with Federal agencies and key White House offices to develop a roadmap for moving forward on this important Administration priority.

Based our review, we have concluded that baseline consumer privacy legislation will strengthen the U.S. Internet privacy framework for consumers and businesses alike.  The Obama Administration is committed to working with Congress to pass a bill that provides a stronger statutory framework to protect consumers’ privacy interests in data that are collected and used or disclosed in commercial contexts in the Internet economy, while supporting innovation.  Consumer privacy legislation should have the following elements:

Secretary Locke Visits Research Triangle for Public Forum on Innovation, Entrpreneurship and Education

Steve Case, right, listens as Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke talks during a meeting of leading innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs who make up President Barack Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke was joined by North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill today to participate in the first town hall-style public forum of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) and discuss the importance of education to U.S. competitiveness.  Today's press release
 
At the meeting, NACIE subcommittees presented updates to Locke and the full Council on their work developing recommendations on how to better incentivize innovation and entrepreneurship to help America win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our economic competitors.

Incorporating a wide range of stakeholder input, reports included initiatives to develop new cross-college, cross-disciplinary educational programs that connect business with science, math, technology and engineering fields and extend these programs to young people in underserved and low-income areas by involving community colleges in consortia for training and mentoring in innovation and entrepreneurial activities.

Secretary Locke Discusses the U.S.-Turkey Trade Relationship

Secretary Locke Delivers a Keynote on Strengthening Turkish-American Economic Relations

Today, Secretary Locke delivered keynote remarks at an event jointly hosted by the Center for American Progress and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON).  He discussed the U.S.-Turkey trade relationship and its importance for the strategic partnership between the two countries. Turkey and the United States conducted nearly $15 billion in bilateral trade last year – an almost 40% rise from the previous year, and the most trade ever between Turkey and the U.S. This trade was helped along by Turkey's impressive resilience in the wake of the global financial crisis. Last year, Turkey posted economic growth of over 7%.

To further our trade relationship, In December 2009, President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan launched a new strategic framework to strengthen our economic bonds, the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation. The framework elevates the responsibility for increasing our economic dialogue to the highest levels of both our governments.

That framework has focused on enhancing our business-to-business ties and how we can promote innovation in both Turkey and the United States.  Particularly on issues like:

  • Promoting renewable energy;
  • Incentivizing more entrepreneurship;
  • Helping Istanbul fulfill its role as a European and global financial center; and
  • Empowering small and medium-size enterprises

To help meet those goals, the Department of Commerce plans to schedule two trade missions to Turkey later this year – one with U.S. oil and gas companies and another with renewable energy companies.

Read Secretary Locke’s full remarks.

U.S. Commerce Department Launches i6 Green Challenge

Wind turbines on a wind farm (DIS photo)

Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and its Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship today announced the opening of its $12 million i6 Green Challenge in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. ‪

EDA will award up to $1 million to each of six teams around the country with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in support of a green innovation economy, increased U.S. competitiveness and new jobs. Its partner agencies will award more than $6 million in additional funding to i6 Green winners.

First announced at the White House launch of Startup America in January, i6 Green follows last year’s inaugural i6 Challenge to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship in the United States.

“Initiatives like the i6 Green Challenge support the president’s vision for out-innovating the rest of the world by moving great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to spur the development of 21st century jobs and industries,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “We know that in the last 30 years, nearly all net new jobs were created by startups, and they will continue to play a critical role in our nation’s economic prosperity.”  For application information on i6 Green, visit www.eda.gov/i6. |  Release