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The Commerce Blog

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

New U.S. Census Bureau Data on Retail Sales and Business Inventories Show Solid Gains

File photo of Secretary Locke seated at conference tableToday, the U.S. Census Bureau released retail sales data for September 2010 and data on manufacturing and trade inventories and sales for August 2010. Both retail sales and business inventories rose 0.6 percent, exceeding private-sector expectations. Monthly sales for retail and food services in September increased 7.3 percent from September 2009, and business inventories in August rose 4.7 percent from August 2009.

“Retails sales have shown strong growth over the last three months,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “This rising trend signals that consumer spending is expanding and that the recovery is broadening. The outlook for sustained growth remains positive, and this administration remains focused on continuing the economic turnaround that has now seen four straight quarters of GDP growth and nine straight months in which the private sector has added jobs.”  Statement  |  Report on retail sales  |  Report on manufacturing and trade

USPTO Kicks Off 2010 National Trademark Expo

Image of costumed trademark charactersThe Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold its annual National Trademark Expo Friday, Oct. 15, and Saturday, Oct. 16, at its Alexandria, Va., headquarters.

The Expo will highlight the vital role trademarks play in our global economy as well as efforts to combat counterfeiting.  Event features include children's workshops, story time and guided tours, and educational lectures for adults.  Many of last year's Trademark Expo guests such as the Pillsbury Doughboy, Betty Boop, and Popeye and Olive Oyl will be joined by new guests including the Berenstain Bears, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and GEICO's Gecko, transforming the USPTO’s campus into a “Trademark Theme Park.”  

Adults and children alike can learn about:

  • Anti-counterfeiting efforts
  • Shape, sound and color trademarks
  • 100-year-old registered trademarks
  • The evolution and history of trademark

Classic and new characters in costume with childrenThe National Trademark Expo is free and open to the public and runs from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday at the Alexandria campus at 600 Dulany Street.  For more information, visit USPTO's NTE webpage.

Secretary Locke Meets with Manufacturing Council and One Member Announces 600 New Jobs in the U.S.

Secretary Locke swears in the Manufacturing CouncilThis morning, Secretary Gary Locke met with the 24 members of the recently-appointed Manufacturing Council.

“Today’s meeting is an example of the public-private partnership needed to restore our manufacturing sector in the United States,” said Locke. “I look forward to working with the members of the Council to present President Obama with solutions to revitalize this critical sector, grow our economy and put Americans back to work.”

The Council advises the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and government policies and programs that affect U.S. manufacturers. The Council’s new charter increased membership from 15 to 25 members and now includes more diverse and expansive industry representation in the manufacturing sector.  The appointees represent a broad cross section of the industry and include steel, supercomputer, solar panel, medical device and superconductor manufacturers, both large and small. Their products support a diverse range of industries such as the auto, aerospace, apparel and energy efficiency sectors.

Statement from Secretary Locke on August 2010 U.S. International Trade

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the August 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in August 2010 increased by 0.2 percent to $153.9 billion from their July 2010 level. Imports in August increased 2.1 percent over July to $200.2 billion. U.S. exports so far in 2010 are up nearly 18 percent compared to the same period last year.  Report  |  Statement  |  Fact sheet

Secretary Locke and USTR Ambassador Kirk Travel to Memphis to Discuss Exports and the Economy

Secretary Locke shaking a Fed Ex worker's hand

Locke, Kirk joined by FedEx officials and local businesses to highlight President Obama’s National Export Initiative

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk are visiting the Memphis, Tenn. area this week to meet with local businesses and discuss the opportunities and challenges of exporting. Locke and Kirk toured the FedEx Express Super Hub on Tuesday night where each day, millions of packages are moved through the hub to reach over 220 countries and territories around the world.  They also held a rountable discussion on exports and the economy with small- and medium-sized businesses today to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how it can help U.S. companies sell more of their goods and services overseas and support the creation of American jobs.

The NEI aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years while supporting two million American jobs. It will provide more funding, more focus and more Cabinet-level coordination to grow U.S. exports, and represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his Cabinet.  Remarks

NOAA Establishes Supercomputing Center in West Virginia

Image depicting new state-of-the-art NOAA supercomputer center in Fairmont, W. VaNOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco today announced a $27.6 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act investment to build a new state-of-the-art supercomputer center in Fairmont, W. Va. Lubchenco was joined by U.S. Rep. Alan B. Mollohan for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the NOAA Environmental Security Computing Center (NESCC), which is geared to develop and improve the accuracy of global and regional climate and weather model predictions.

“This state-of-the-art supercomputer will not only give NOAA a powerful new tool in climate and weather modeling and service delivery, it will also cement north central West Virginia's reputation as a growing high-tech center,” said Rep. Mollohan. “This facility will help anchor the I-79 Technology Park for decades to come.”  Read more

Commerce Department Reopens Tuesday After Building Closure Due to Fire

Commerce Herbert C. Hoover Building headquarters with U.S. flagA fire occurred in the Department of Commerce's Herbert Clark Hoover Building headquarters, in the 3rd floor 8th corridor between corridors 1 and 2, at approximately 8:15 pm, Thursday, October 8th.  This area is in the section of the building being renovated.

The building was safely evacuated with everyone accounted for, with no complaints of injury or ill-effect reported. Air sampling was conducted throughout the building, and all areas of the building have been cleared for occupancy.  The building can be accessed by employees and contractors with PIV badges over the weekend, and will officially reopen Tuesday morning, October 12, 2010.  Update release