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The Commerce Blog

What the America COMPETES Act Means for the Department of Commerce

This week, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Act, signifying the importance of science, education and technology to America’s ability to innovate and remain competitive in the 21st century. The America COMPETES Act reauthorizes spending across the federal government on a variety of programs at agencies like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and here at the Department of Commerce.

The act authorizes our National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to receive funding that would double its core science and technology budget by 2017, and elevates the position of the director of NIST to include the additional title of Under Secretary for Standards and Technology. It better equips our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct cutting-edge research and further innovation in oceanic and atmospheric technology development. And it establishes a new Regional Innovation Program to be administered by our Economic Development Administration that encourages and develops regional innovation strategies like clusters and science and research parks that help businesses grow and take advantage of regional strengths. Finally, the new legislation reaffirms the mission of our Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship – first announced in September 2009 – which works to unleash and maximize the economic potential of new ideas by more quickly moving them from the research lab to the marketplace.

This renewed commitment to science, education and technology illustrated through bipartisan Congressional support for the America COMPETES Act will greatly benefit the work done at the U.S. Commerce Department, and help fuel U.S. job growth, economic development and global competitiveness. |  Locke statement | White House blog | NIST release

 

Secretary Locke Meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi

Locke and Minister Yang

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met today with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the Commerce Department to discuss a variety of bilateral trade issues, as well as President Hu Jintao’s upcoming visit. Locke and Minister Yang had a positive meeting, discussing the U.S.-China commercial relationship, as well as the implementation of commitments made from last month’s Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT). JCCT issues that were touched upon included beef market access, software asset management, indigenous innovation and government procurement. Locke said he looks forward to President Hu’s visit, and continuing to strengthen the U.S.-China commercial relationship.

Secretary Locke to Visit the Consumer Electronics Show

Photo Credit: Consumer Electronics Show

Secretary Gary Locke will visit the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Thursday where he will discuss the Obama administration’s efforts to foster innovation and the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports by 2015, supporting several million American jobs.

The Consumer Electronics Show is taking part in Commerce’s International Buyer Program – a key component in reaching President Obama’s exports goal. Jointly created by the Commerce Department and industry groups, the International Buyer Program (IBP) matches international buyers with U.S. companies that want to export.  In Las Vegas, the IBP has recruited to the show's 34 delegations, consisting of 700 delegates, from key markets such as China, Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia – an increase of over 30 percent from the 2010 show.

Here’s how it will work: Foreign trade specialists work with both the Consumer Electronics Association and Department of Commerce domestic trade specialists to identify U.S. companies exhibiting at the show whose technology is attractive to foreign buyers.  These specialists then set up meetings at the show between the buyers and American sellers.  Additionally, U.S. companies will be able to meet with the foreign trade specialists to get information about doing business in markets abroad.

Census: The 2010 Holiday Season

Commerce headquarters with holiday wreaths

The holiday season is a time for gathering with friends and family to reflect and give thanks. At this time of year, the Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau presents holiday-related facts and figures from its data collection, including details about mail, retail sales, toys, trees and decorations and much more. The Census Bureau this week announced the nation’s population at 308,745,538 as of April 1 for the 2010 Census. Happy holidays from the U.S. Department of Commerce!  Holiday facts and features

Secretary Locke Delivers 2010 Census Counts, Announces Nearly $1.9 Billion in Savings

Secretary Locke Introduces the Results of the 2010 Census

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves at the National Press Club today to unveil the official 2010 Census population counts – 10 days before the statutory deadline of Dec. 31. The nationwide population as of April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538. Locke also announced a final 2010 Census savings of $1.87 billion.

“Without the help of the American people and the more than 257,000 partner organizations that worked with the U.S. Census Bureau to raise awareness and encourage participation, we would not have been able to achieve $1.87 billion in 2010 Census savings and a final mail response rate of 74 percent in a time of declining survey participation,” Locke said.  

The 2010 Census counts show how the U.S. population has grown and shifted over the last decade. More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed every year to states and communities based in part on Census population data and American Community Survey (ACS) results. State and local governments use this data to plan new roads, new schools and new emergency services, and businesses use the data to develop new economic opportunities. | Full DOC release | Census Bureau release  | Noticias en español | More releases and data

U.S. Census Bureau Releases National and State Populations from 2010 Census

Secretary Locke, Acting Deputy Secretary Blank and Census Director Groves Unveiled the Official National Population

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released their initial data from the 2010 Census. The nationwide population as of April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538. Secretary Locke also announced a final 2010 Census savings of $1.87 billion.

“Without the help of the American people and the more than 257,000 partner organizations that worked with the U.S. Census Bureau to raise awareness and encourage participation, we would not have been able to achieve $1.87 billion in 2010 Census savings and a final mail response rate of 74 percent in a time of declining survey participation,” Locke said.

The 2010 Census counts show how the U.S. population has grown and shifted over the last decade. More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed every year to states and communities based in part on Census population data and American Community Survey (ACS) results. State and local governments use this data to plan new roads, new schools and new emergency services, and businesses use the data to develop new economic opportunities.

With field operations now completed, the 2010 Census came in at a cost 25 percent lower than planned expenditures for this fiscal year. In August, the Census Bureau announced $1.6 billion in 2010 Census savings. The final figure increased by almost $300 million due to additional efficiencies in subsequent operations and field infrastructure.

The U.S. Census also announced the reapportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives. Texas will gain 4 congressional seats. Florida will gain 2 seats. Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, Washington and Nevada will each gain an additional congressional district. New York and Ohio will each lose two congressional seats. Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey will lose one congressional district.

Commerce Commits to Environmental Management

Green arrows symbolizing reduce-reuse-recycleThe Department of Commerce has recently sponsored several initiatives to green the economy and enhance renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology trade around the globe.  But the Department is also working internally to green its operations.  On December 9 Secretary Locke signed a new environmental policy renewing the Department of Commerce’s commitment to sustainability and environmental management (PDF).  The policy commits the Department to considering environmental impacts in all planning, purchasing, operating, and budget decisions; purchasing greener products; reducing energy, water, and fuel use; promoting reuse, recycling, and diversion of waste from landfills whenever possible; providing a safe and healthy work environment for its employees; complying with environmental laws and applicable executive orders; and implementing a Department-wide environmental management system applicable to all operating units, staff, and contractors.

The new policy is the final milestone for the new headquarters-level, Department-wide environmental management system (EMS), which has been under development for several months.  The EMS provides a set of roles, responsibilities, processes, and procedures for managing progress towards the Department’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan goals and reducing the Department’s environmental impacts.  Read more about the Department’s environmental management system or to download a copy of the new environmental policy (PDF).

Vice President Biden and Commerce Secretary Locke Present Baldrige Award to Five Organizations

Biden and Locke pose on podiumVice President Joe Biden and U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Gary Locke presented five U.S. organizations with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

The ceremony—the 22nd in the history of the award—honored the 2009 recipients: Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, Kansas City, Mo. (manufacturing); MidwayUSA, Columbia, Mo. (small business); AtlantiCare, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. (health care); Heartland Health, St. Joseph, Mo. (health care); and Veterans Affairs Cooperative Studies Program Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center, Albuquerque, N.M. (nonprofit).

The 2009 Baldrige Award recipients were selected from a field of 70 applicants. All of the applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. The evaluation process for each of the recipients included about 1,000 hours of review and an on-site visit by a team of examiners to clarify questions and verify information in the applications.  Read more

Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies is Honored to Receive the 2009 Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award

Today, Vice President Biden and Secretary Locke presented the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award to five organizations honoring their organizational performance, excellence and innovation. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses.

The Baldrige Program:

  • Raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy
  • Provides organizational assessment tools and criteria
  • Educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies about the practices of best-in-class organizations
  • Recognizes national role models and honors them with the only Presidential Award for performance excellence

Anthony Brancato III, President, Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies with Vice President Biden and Secretary LockeGuest blog post by by Anthony J. Brancato III, President, Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies

Today is a great day for Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies. We are receiving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from Vice President Joe Biden and the Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.

Several years ago, Honeywell was at a crossroads in our FM&T business. Declining budgets and aging infrastructure threatened our ability to be efficient and responsive to our customer. Today is a powerful illustration of how that scenario has changed for the better.

Released: Policy Framework for Protecting Consumer Privacy Online While Supporting Innovation

The Department of Commerce today issued a report detailing initial policy recommendations aimed at promoting consumer privacy online while ensuring the Internet remains a platform that spurs innovation, job creation, and economic growth.  The report outlines a dynamic framework to increase protection of consumers’ commercial data and support innovation and evolving technology. The Department is seeking additional public comment on the plan to further the policy discussion and ensure the framework benefits all stakeholders in the Internet economy.

“America needs a robust privacy framework that preserves consumer trust in the evolving Internet economy while ensuring the Web remains a platform for innovation, jobs, and economic growth. Self-regulation without stronger enforcement is not enough. Consumers must trust the Internet in order for businesses to succeed online.” said Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Today’s report, based on extensive public input and discussion, recognizes the growing economic and social importance of preserving consumer trust in the Internet.  Global online transactions are currently estimated at $10 trillion annually. Between 1998 and 2008, the number of domestic IT jobs grew by 26 percent – four times faster than U.S. employment as a whole – with IT employment projected to increase another 22 percent by 2018.

The following are key recommendations in today’s preliminary report, Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework:

  • Consider Establishing Fair Information Practice Principles comparable to a “Privacy Bill of Rights” for Online Consumers
  • Consider Developing Enforceable Privacy Codes of Conduct in Specific Sectors with Stakeholders; Create a Privacy Policy Office in the Department of Commerce
  • Encourage Global Interoperability to Spur Innovation and Trade
  • Consider How to Harmonize Disparate Security Breach Notification Rules
  • Review the Electronic Communications Privacy Act for the Cloud Computing Environment

Read the more detailed press release.  |  Learn more about and read the report.