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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

President Obama Nominates Secretary Locke to be the New U.S. Ambassador to China

President Obama Nominates Secretary Locke to be the New U.S. Ambassador to China

At the White House this morning, President Obama announced Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as his choice to be the next Ambassador to China. As Commerce Secretary, Locke has earned the trust of business leaders across America, advocating on behalf of America’s businesses and U.S. exports all around the world. In 2010, Commerce led an unprecedented number of trade missions worldwide, promoting American businesses and products, and Locke has been a point person for the President’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports in five years, creating several million new jobs. Additionally, as Commerce Secretary, Locke has helped make progress on the critical partnership between the U.S and China, expanding opportunities for American companies and American workers, and negotiating the opening of the Chinese market to U.S. goods and services. Read Secretary Locke's remarks and watch the video of the announcement below. | Public reaction to announcement |  White House blog

NOAA: U.S. Temperature and Precipitation Near-Normal in February

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February 2011 was near normal for both temperature and precipitation averaged across the contiguous United States, according to the latest NOAA State of the Climate Report issued today. The February average temperature was 34.0 F, which is 0.7 F below the long-term (1901–2000) average. Last month’s average precipitation was 1.81 inches, 0.21 inch below the same average. February marked the end of the meteorological winter (December–February), which featured below normal temperature and precipitation for the three-month period.

This monthly analysis is based on records dating back to 1895, prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.  |  Read more of today's report

Secretary Locke Addresses Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation Forum

Secretary Locke Addresses the Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation in the 21st Century Forum

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos today at the Asia-Pacific Patent Cooperation in the 21st Century Forum at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The event featured heads and deputies of Asian-Pacific economies’ patent offices assembled to discuss the urgency of moving forward with patent harmonization in a global process that includes both developed and developing countries.  

Patent harmonization will narrow differences among patent laws, simplify patent applicants’ requirements, and thereby achieve greater efficiency in the global patent system – in turn speeding the movement of innovation from the development phase to the marketplace where it can create new businesses and new jobs.

Locke highlighted the importance of building a better intellectual property infrastructure in our increasingly globalized world and applauded efforts to reduce patent backlogs and produce higher-quality patents, noting the progress made in the U.S. Senate on patent reform legislation that would further these efforts.

“Last week, the U.S. Senate started debating a patent reform bill that would give the patent office the tools it needs to significantly expand its reform efforts,” Locke said.  “Congress has been working for a long time on this issue, and there is strong bipartisan support to get patent reform done this year. So we remain optimistic.”
 
The forum, which began March 6 and runs through March 8, is being convened at an historic moment for intellectual property systems worldwide as patent filings and backlogs continue to increase. Differences among patent systems cause legal uncertainty, complexity and increased costs.  Remarks

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank Discusses New Women in America Report at Center for American Progress

Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank Speaking at the Center for American Progress on White House "Women in America" Report

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank joined Tina Tchen, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls; Preeta Bansal, senior policy advisor and general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget; and a panel of experts at the Center for American Progress today to discuss the findings of a new White House report, “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.” The discussion focused on women’s present role in families, education, employment, health, and crime in American Society.

In support of the Council on Women and Girls, the Office of Management and Budget and the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration worked together to create the report, which was released on the first day of Women’s History Month. 

Among the report’s key findings (PDF):

Secretary Locke Addresses APEC Events in Washington

 Jim Thomas, President of ASTM International and Locke study the agenda

Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the APEC Automotive Dialogue and the “Green Buildings for Green Growth” seminar, held in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)’s Senior Officials’ Meetings of 2011. At the Green Buildings seminar, which seeks to improve trade and investment in the APEC region for green building products, materials and services, Locke spoke about the importance of standards for building efficiency. And at the Auto Dialogue, which seeks to help U.S. automotive companies gain wider market access in the Asia-Pacific region and to advance U.S. commercial and regional strategic interests in the sector, he  underlined the importance of green technology in the automotive industry.

The next key APEC meetings this year will be held in May in Big Sky, Montana, where the Commerce Department will host the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Ministerial and related meetings. In November, the United States will host APEC 2011 – the group’s annual meeting – in Honolulu.  |  Green Buildings, Green Growth remarks  |  Auto Dialogue remarks

Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration Invests in Advanced Manufacturing in the Midwest

The Economic Development Administration today awarded $2 million to the Council on Competitiveness, a non-partisan group of CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders that works to advance economic prosperity – to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the Midwest compete in the 21st century global economy. The grant will be matched by $2.5 million from private-sector partners and help to catalyze development of state-of-the-art technologies that accelerate the design process, allowing small- and medium-sized companies to become more competitive.

With the funding, the Council on Competitiveness will form the new National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, which will develop software, purchase time on supercomputers, and train small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the use of this technology, enabling them to design their own advanced manufacturing processes and products. This will be done in close collaboration with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers of these companies, thus ensuring that this cutting-edge technology will help both OEMs and their supply-chain partners in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

“As U.S. manufacturers work to keep their competitive edge, government and the private sector are working together to foster a vibrant advanced manufacturing sector in the United States,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. “This important public-private partnership to strengthen manufacturing in the Midwest is an example of the type of investment that can help America win the future by out-innovating and out-competing the rest of the world.”

Today’s announcement was made at a meeting with small business and manufacturing leaders at the White House with Fernandez, Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy Ron Bloom, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. The new public-private partnership was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in support of the project. |  Press release

Secretary Locke Testifies Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation About the Future of American Manufacturing

Secretary Locke testifies before the Senate about the future of American manufacturing

Secretary Locke started his testimony about the Future of American Manufacturing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation by declaring, "The Obama administration believes that manufacturing is essential to America’s economic competitiveness. Manufacturing is a vital source of good middle-class jobs. And it is a key driver of innovation, with 70 percent of all private sector R&Dspending done by manufacturing companies. The United States is still the world’s largest and most productive manufacturer. On its own, U.S. manufacturing would rank today as the seventh-largest economy in the world. And just yesterday, it was reported that U.S. manufacturing activity hit its highest level since 2004.

But manufacturing productivity gains – which are so essential to growth – are partly responsible for millions of lost manufacturing jobs. Factories that once needed 1,000 people to build a product  can now do it with 100. Meanwhile, competitors abroad are consistently producing quality goods at less cost. America can’t escape this global competition. But we can win it, by leading the development of new industries and manufacturing higher value goods that the world's consumers demand.

See video