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The Commerce Blog

White House Council Launches Interagency Subcommittee on Privacy & Internet Policy

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to promoting the vast economic opportunity of the Internet and protecting individual privacy, the National Science and Technology Council has launched a new Subcommittee on Privacy and Internet Policy. Populated by representatives from more than a dozen Departments, agencies and Federal offices, and co-chaired by the two of us, the subcommittee will develop principles and strategic directions with the goal of fostering consensus in legislative, regulatory, and international Internet policy realms.

In this digital age, a thriving and dynamic economy requires Internet policies that promote innovation domestically and globally while ensuring strong and sensible protections of individuals’ private information and the ability of governments to meet their obligations to protect public safety.   

Recognizing the global nature of the digital economy and society, the Subcommittee will monitor and address global privacy policy challenges and develop approaches to meeting those challenges through coordinated U.S. government action.  The Subcommittee is committed to fostering dialogue and cooperation between our Nation and its key trading partners in support of flexible and robust privacy and innovation policies. Such policies are essential to the health of competitive marketplaces for online goods and services.

Senior Commerce Department Official Visits Haiti for Opening of First School Built Since January Earthquake

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Commerce Department Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Wade traveled to Haiti this week for the opening of the L’Ecole Nouvelle Royal Caribbean School in Labadee, the first school to be built in Haiti after the devastating January earthquake. American businesses, with the help of the Commerce Department, spearheaded the effort to build the school, which is a project between Royal Caribbean International and InnoVida, a Miami-based producer of residential and commercial buildings. 

“The Commerce Department has been actively involved in encouraging U.S. businesses and the Haitian Diaspora to help in Haiti’s recovery, which will create jobs in Haiti and support jobs in America,” Wade said. 

Over the past few months, Wade has been traveling across the United States to help promote opportunities for U.S. businesses to get involved in Haiti’s reconstruction. The U.S. private sector has an indispensable role to play in spurring investment in Haiti and providing innovative solutions to help Haiti grow and rebuild its communities.

Read more about Rick Wade’s involvement in Haiti’s recovery in his recently-authored opinion editorial. | Release

Efforts to Support American Women Highlighted in Commerce and White House Reports

Sec. Locke Meets with Economic Team This week the National Economic Council released a report on the impact of the recession on women and how the Obama administration’s economic policies benefit American women. Some of these policies include a tax credit for college for working families, expanded and increased student aid, and more manageable loan repayment so women can get the education they need to succeed. The report lays out the economic landscape facing women today and details some of the many ways the administration is committed to making sure the government is working for all Americans, especially American women.

The Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) further explored the state of American women and Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century in a report issued earlier this month for the White House Council on Women and Girls.  According to the report, women-owned businesses are steadily expanding and account for $1.2 trillion in economic output. Yet they continue to lag behind other companies in several key indicators.

To help reverse this trend, the Obama administration has invested in women’s education and expanded the capital available for women to start a business. The White House has already given out more than 12,000 Small Business Administration Recovery Act loans totaling more than $3 billion to women-owned small businesses.

Learn more about what the administration is doing on behalf of women and the economy and women-owned businesses, or read the reports.

Secretary Locke Commends the Nation’s Strong Participation in the 2010 Census as Final Numbers Come In

Census 2010 logoSecretary Locke congratulated the nation today on its strong participation in the 2010 Census after the U.S. Census Bureau released the final mail participation rate of 74 percent, matching the final mail participation rate achieved in the 2000 Census. More than 22 states, 1,553 counties, and 278 cities and other geographies met or exceeded their 2000 Census participation rates. 

“I’d like to thank the American people for their cooperation and participation in the 2010 Census,” Locke said. “With their help, we were able to match the participation rates of 2000 in a time of declining survey participation and save taxpayer money by reducing the need for costly door-to-door follow up.”  

America’s strong mail participation is part of the reason the U.S. Census Bureau was able to announce $1.6 billion in 2010 Census operational savings in August.  More than 250,000 partner organizations and a far-reaching communications campaign helped alert people across the country about the importance of mailing back their 2010 Census form.

Find your area’s final mail participation rate on the 2010 Census’s interactive “Take 10” Map at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/2010textview.php.   Release  |  Census release

Secretary Locke Keynotes AdvaMed 2010 Conference

Locke on podium during remarksSecretary Gary Locke addressed national and international medical device and technology leaders today at the AdvaMed 2010 Medical Technology Conference at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. In his keynote remarks, he discussed the Commerce Department's efforts to expand exports of medical devices and technologies and grow U.S. jobs.

“Each new medical discovery creates and sustains demand for further innovations, which fuel our national health, prosperity and productivity, and contribute to global well-being,” Locke said.

He also acknowledged the important work being done to cultivate industries and lines of scientific discovery that provide long-term benefits to society, spur sustainable innovation and create jobs and new businesses.

AdvaMed is the world’s largest medical technology association, with diverse member companies that produce medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems.  Other conference keynote speakers included U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. Remarks

Celebrating World Statistics Day, Oct. 20, 2010

The United Nations General Assembly designated Oct. 20, 2010, as the first-ever World Statistics Day to highlight the importance of official statistics and the many achievements of national statistical systems.  Statistical organizations throughout the world will celebrate World Statistics Day today at the national and regional level. The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis and 12 other principal federal statistical agencies together have been collecting statistics about the nation’s people, economy and society since the first national census in 1790. Check out the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features special edition on World Statistics Day. 



Census Facts for Features | Facts for Features en español | World Statistics Day videos

Secretary Locke, Ambassador Kirk Meet With Turkish Counterparts to Discuss Progress of U.S.-Turkey Commercial Relationship

Secretary Locke, Ambassador Kirk, Deputy Prime Minister Babaca and Trade Minister CaglayanU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk held a press conference today along with their Turkish counterparts, Foreign Trade MinisterZafer Çağlayan and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, following the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Turkey Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation. The Framework establishes an annual forum for senior-level officials from both countries to discuss commercial and economic issues and work towards enhancing the bilateral relationship.

The Framework stems from a meeting President Obama and Turkish President Gul held in April 2009.  In response to a request from President Gul, President Obama pledged to work towards enhancing our commercial and economic relationship with Turkey. | Joint statement  |  Press release  |  Fact sheet

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address at U.S. Chamber of Commerce U.S.-Israel Summit, Live Webcast

Photo of Locke and Ben-EliezerToday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke delivered the keynote address at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural summit, “The United States and Israel: Building Business through Innovation.” Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the event brought together leading innovators, entrepreneurs, and policymakers from the United States and Israel. Prior to the summit, the secretary met with Israel’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, to discuss the U.S.-Israel trade relationship. The summit featured a live webcast and is available hereRemarks

Secretary Locke Keynotes Annual GridWeek Conference

Secretary Locke at lecternSecretary of Commerce Gary Locke delivered the opening keynote address today at the 2010 GridWeek Conference at the Washington Convention Center. The annual conference brings together key leaders and stakeholders from the energy industry to explore the Smart Grid’s impact on the economy, utility infrastructure, consumers and the environment.

The 2010 Conference focused on international Smart Grid policies, programs, collaborations and standards-harmonization efforts. Locke discussed increased global cooperation among industry and government leaders on Smart Grid standards and highlighted U.S. industry leadership in advancing the harmonization and deployment of these standards. He also acknowledged the Commerce Department’s George Arnold, who won this year’s GridWeek International Award for his work in advancing international Smart Grid cooperation and standards. Arnold is the national coordinator for Smart Grid interoperability at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

"If a Smart Grid is built here in the United States, it can help reduce power demand by more than 20 percent," Locke said in his remarks. "If Smart Grids are rolled out around the world, the reduction in global energy demand and the corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions will be transformative."

The Obama administration has allocated $11 billion in investments through the Recovery Act for Smart Grid technologies, transmission system expansion and upgrades, and other investments to modernize and enhance the electric transmission infrastructure.  Remarks

Secretary Locke Joins President Obama in Announcing the 2009 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Laureates

Image of the National Medal of Technology and InnovationSecretary Locke today joined President Barack Obama in announcing and congratulating the 2009 winners of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The medal is the nation’s highest honor for technological and scientific achievement and was awarded to three individuals and one team, who will receive their awards later this year at the White House.

“Innovation is a key driver of economic growth, and the technological advances of the 2009 medalists are truly awe-inspiring,” Locke said. “These innovations have revolutionized communications, medicine and numerous other industries, and exemplify American ingenuity and leadership at its best. The American people greatly appreciate the contributions of these men and women. I look forward to joining President Obama in honoring our winners at the White House.”

The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by Congress in 1980 and has been presented by the President of the United States since 1985. A distinguished, independent committee appointed by the Secretary of Commerce evaluates the merits of all candidates nominated through an open, competitive process. Committee recommendations are forwarded to the Secretary, who makes recommendations to the President for a final decision.

The Medal program is administered by the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office. For additional information, visit www.uspto.gov/nmti. See the related White House announcement here. Commerce press release