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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Addresses Pharmaceutical Industry Leaders at PhRMA's 52nd Annual Meeting

Locke speaking from podium. Photo copyright Max Taylor Photography.

Photo © Max Taylor

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke to leaders of the pharmaceutical industry at the annual meeting of The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in Arlington, Va. Locke discussed the importance of innovation, particularly in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sectors, to creating American jobs and spurring sustainable economic growth. He also outlined what the Obama administration is doing to jumpstart the national engine of innovation. (Remarks)

Locke Pledges Administration Support for Emerging Trade Opportunities with Indonesia

Locke on podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke discussed emerging trade opportunities between the U.S. and Indonesia as part of the Obama administration’s plan to create jobs here at home and grow overseas markets, especially through the National Export Initiative. In remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Forum, Locke announced a trade mission to Indonesia that will take place in late May, made up of American renewable energy companies. “Ensuring that American companies play a lead role in this energy transformation is a priority for the Obama administration,” Locke said. (Remarks) (Indonesia trade mission)

NIST, Partners Develop Testing Infrastructure for Health IT Systems

NIST logo.

Fully incorporating modern information technology into the healthcare system promises many benefits, including better quality care, less paperwork and fewer medical errors while reducing unnecessary costs. In any such critical application, however, it’s important to ensure that the new technology behaves as expected. To meet this need in health information technology, a broad array of public and private stakeholders have been working with Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST has released the first of four installments of a new health IT test method and related software. (More)

NOAA: Sixth-Warmest February in Combined Global Surface Temperature, Fifth-Warmest December-February

Last month’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made it the sixth-warmest February ever recorded. Additionally, the December 2009-February 2010 period was the fifth-warmest on record averaged for any similar three-month Northern Hemisphere winter-Southern Hemisphere summer season, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to businesses, communities and governments so they may make informed decisions to safeguard their social and economic well-being. (More)

Secretary Locke Convenes Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Meeting

Locke at lectern with other participants in background.

In response to President Obama's recently-unveiled goal of doubling American exports over the next five years with the National Export Initiative (NEI), U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted the second meeting of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) at the department. The TPCC, established in 1992, is an interagency group chaired by the Secretary of Commerce to establish trade promotion priorities that boost exports and create jobs. Later, he hosted a press conference with TPCC members, including Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Kirk, Small Business Administration Administrator Mills and others.

Secretary Locke: Commerce Helps Cities

Locke on podium. Click for larger image.

In remarks to the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke focused on the ways the Department of Commerce assists American cities, describing the core mission of the department as “making American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad so they can create good jobs in communities throughout America.” Commerce is the lead agency for expanding high-speed Internet and broadband access, building critical economic infrastructure through regional innovation clusters, and increasing U.S. exports through the president’s National Export Initiative. (Remarks)

NOAA: Imminent Flood Threat in Midwest, South and East at Risk

Map of U.S. showing areas of flood risk. Click for larger image.

Major flooding has begun and is forecast to continue through spring in parts of the Midwest according to NOAA’s National Weather Service. The South and East are also more susceptible to flooding as an El Niño influenced winter left the area soggier than usual. Overall, more than a third of the contiguous United States has an above average flood risk—with the highest threat in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, including along the Red River Valley where crests could approach the record levels set just last year. (More)

Secretary Locke Discusses Travel and Tourism Industry at American Hotel and Lodging Association Summit

Locke on podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed the American Hotel and Lodging Association Legislative Action Summit to discuss the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the U.S. economy. Locke spoke about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and the role travel and tourism plays in growing American jobs. He also discussed plans for implementation of the recently-signed Travel Promotion Act, which establishes a new public-private partnership between the U.S. government and the nation’s travel and tourism industry. (Remarks)

FEMA and NOAA Renew Partnership to Encourage Flood Safety

NOAA logo. Click to go to Web site.

As one of the snowiest winter seasons in many years yields to warmer weather and the promise of rain and snowmelt, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) FloodSmart campaign and Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced they are again working together during Flood Safety Awareness Week (March 15-19) to raise awareness of the dangers associated with flooding and steps to protect against damage. (More) (Map)

2010 Census Forms Arrive in 120 Million Mailboxes Across Nation

Image of home page of 2010 Census Web site. Click to go to Web site.

Asking just 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete, 2010 Census forms began arriving in 120 million mailboxes across the nation today—just the 23rd time the country has undertaken the constitutionally-mandated population count that dates back to 1790. The Census Bureau today estimated that if every household completed and mailed back their census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of taking the census by $1.5 billion. The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the nation’s participation rate by mail. (More)