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Secretary Locke Announces Board of Directors for New Corporation for Travel Promotion

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today appointed 11 travel and tourism industry leaders to serve on the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) Board of Directors. The CTP is a new non-profit corporation that will promote travel to the United States and communicate and improve the entry process so that visitors want to return.

The Corporation will help enhance the competitiveness of an already robust industry, which supports more than 8 million American jobs and is a critical source of export strength. Many other nations operate ministries of tourism that actively market their countries as tourist destinations around the world. The Corporation will help get America into the game and encourage people across the globe to travel to the U.S.  

“We are extremely pleased to join with this diverse group of talented travel and tourism industry leaders as we work together to strengthen this important sector of the U.S. economy,” Locke said. “President Obama recognizes the critical role that attracting international visitors to the United States plays in creating jobs and growing our economy.”

The CTP and its efforts to promote America as a travel destination will be funded by private donations and matching funds from a new fee collected from foreign travelers to the U.S.

The CTP Board of Directors represents various regions of the United States and each member has expertise and experience in specific sectors of the travel and tourism industry.  See the full release

NOAA: Fourth-Warmest U.S. Summer on Record

U.S. temperature map graphicThe contiguous United States had its fourth-warmest summer (June-August) on record, according to the latest NOAA State of the Climate report issued today. The report also showed the August average temperature was 75.0 degrees F, which is 2.2 degrees F above the long-term (1901-2000) average. Last month’s average precipitation was 2.41 inches, 0.19 inch below the 1901-2000 average.

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

USPTO Launches Data Visualization Center

Image of dashboardCommerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week launched a beta version of the “USPTO Data Visualization Center.”  This tool will give the public access to important data covering USPTO patent operations in a convenient dashboard format.  The patents dashboard provides more refined pendency information than was previously available, as well as other critical indicators such as the number of applications in the backlog, production, staffing and more.

This information will help the entire intellectual property (IP) community to better understand the USPTO’s processes, and enable applicants to make more informed decisions about their applications, especially as the USPTO develops more opportunities for applicants to control the timing at which their applications are examined.  The new dashboard, which will be updated monthly, will also be used internally by the USPTO to analyze and improve its examination process and to track the effectiveness of its improvement efforts.  The USPTO also plans to add relevant data to track progress in other areas such as Trademarks and worksharing with global IP offices.

The USPTO is pleased to offer this new tool which provides a window into USPTO operations that has not been available to the public before.  To learn more about what the USPTO will be measuring and tracking visit the dashboard at www.uspto.gov/dashboards.  And to read USPTO Director Kappos’ blog about the dashboard, visit www.uspto.gov/blogData Visulization Center

 

NOAA Reopens More than 30,000 Square Miles in the Gulf to Fishing

Map of Reopened Fishing AreaToday NOAA reopened 3,114 square miles of Gulf waters offshore of the western Florida panhandle to commercial and recreational fishing. The reopening was announced after consultation with FDA and under a re-opening protocol agreed to by NOAA, the FDA, and the Gulf states.

Trajectory models show the area is at a low risk for future exposure to oil, and fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA experts have shown no signs of contamination.

“We are pleased to continue moving forward with reopening portions of Gulf federal waters to recreational and commercial fishing,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “I’d like to thank everyone for their patience throughout this process, as we work to ensure seafood safety remains our primary objective.”

At its closest point, the area to be reopened is about 55 miles northeast of the Deepwater/BP wellhead. The total area is about one percent of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Release

Secretary Locke Hosts First Meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Secretary Locke Seated at Table Addressing Members of CouncilSecretary Gary Locke today hosted the first meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Commerce Department. The Council advises Locke and the administration on key innovation and entrepreneurship issues and supports President Obama's innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship and identify new ways to take great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to drive economic growth and job creation.

Council members include successful entrepreneurs, investors, and university and non-profit leaders. Steve Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution and co-founder of AOL; Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan; and Desh Deshpande, chairman of Sparta Group, A123 Systems and Sycamore Networks, among others, serve as the advisory council’s co-chairs. To see the full agenda from today's meeting, please click on the following link. Agenda (PDF)

To share ideas on how to spark innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. and hear from Steve Case, co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, on the topic and the council’s first meeting, click here.

Secretary Locke Announces Opening of Permanent CommerceConnect Office in Michigan

Secretary Locke Speaks

Secretary Gary Locke today announced the opening of a permanent CommerceConnect office in Pontiac, Mich., during his visit to ALTe, a southeastern Michigan technology company that offers electric and hybrid propulsion system alternatives for the vehicle transportation industry and is experiencing substantial growth through innovation in the alternative energy industry. Locke spoke with local businesses about the new office and the Commerce Department’s collaboration with state and local partners to continue the one-stop initiative he first unveiled in June 2009 that brings department and other federal, state and local programs under one roof in an effort to help businesses at every point of their life cycle. U.S. Rep. Gary Peters joined Locke for the announcement.

Locke also announced an official partnership between the department and Michigan-based non-profit The MORE Program, bringing state and local government, business organizations, educational institutions and private foundations together to connect innovators, entrepreneurs, and businesses with the resources needed to grow and flourish.

“When we launched the pilot phase of CommerceConnect last year, we had one goal in mind: to streamline government bureaucracy and bring services and solutions directly to the businesses and entrepreneurs who are creating and sustaining jobs,” Locke said. “With today’s announcement, we are giving CommerceConnect a permanent home in the Detroit area because we know that Main Street business owners should be spending their time working to grow their businesses, meet payroll, and keep their customers happy, not trying to navigate federal bureaucracies.”

Locke opened the CommerceConnect pilot office in Plymouth last October. Since opening its doors, the pilot has served over 90 companies, providing 199 referrals to 10 different Commerce bureaus and an additional 111 referrals to 13 other Federal, state, local and non-profit partners throughout the region.

Following his visit to ALTe, Locke and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow met with Michigan businesses at Automation Alley, the state’s largest technology business association that has helped Michigan dramatically increase its exports. Release  |  Remarks  | CommerceConnect

Secretary Locke Discusses Export Control Reform at 23rd Annual Bureau of Industry and Security Update Conference

Locke on podiumSecretary Gary Locke addressed the annual conference to discuss reforms to the U.S. export control system that will strengthen national security and improve the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors. In addition, President Barack Obama delivered a recorded statement about the administration’s efforts to reform the export control system.  Remarks  |  BIS 2010 Update website

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry Representatives in Nashville to Discuss Piracy and Global Intellectual Property Protection

Secretary Locke Meets with Music Industry

Locke emphasizes protection of creativity and innovation as vital to jobs and the economy

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met with artists and representatives from the music industry today to discuss the administration’s commitment to global enforcement of laws against intellectual property piracy. Locke was joined by Congressman Jim Cooper and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean for a tour of “Music Row.” After the tour, Governor Phil Bredesen joined the group for a discussion with musicians, including Big Kenny from Big & Rich, songwriters, students and other industry representatives at Belmont University.

“This administration is committed to tackling the challenges facing the music industry, because it is a fundamental issue of economic security and jobs,” Locke said. “We are continually looking for new ways to protect the creativity that is the lifeblood of Nashville and America’s economy.”

As “America’s Music City,” Nashville is an important hub in the U.S. music industry and has been impacted by the recent rise in online intellectual property piracy. With the advent of the Internet and file-sharing technologies, consumers are spending less on recorded music in all formats, and total revenues for recorded music in the U.S. have dropped from a high of $14.6 billion in 1999 to $7.7 billion in 2008. This has affected the local economy, which supports thousands of jobs and a $4 billion industry annually.  |  More  |  Remarks  |  More photos 

Secretary Locke Addresses Exports, Economic Growth and Job Creation with Minority Businesses

Secretary Locke talks at MED Week

On the final day of the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference hosted by the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives and officially opened a Business-to-Business Expo Hall.

Locke discussed President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and how minority businesses can become more competitive and increase job creation and economic growth by participating in the global marketplace. Minority businesses already export twice as much as the average business, as they often have existing cultural, family or business ties to foreign countries. The NEI seeks to build on that, with a goal of increasing the number of small-, medium- and minority-owned businesses exporting to more than one market by 50 percent over the next five years.

Following his remarks, Locke officially opened and toured the Business-to-Business Expo Hall, which includes exhibit booths and one-on-one matching services with more than $20 billion in opportunities for minority businesses. The expo also offers 20-minute power-learning sessions conducted by public- and private-sector partners.

The MED Week Conference wraps up Friday night with the Awards Gala. U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower will highlight the impact of minority-owned firms on the global economy and thank the MED Week award winners for their hard work.   Remarks

Minority Business Development Agency Kicks Off National Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference

Conference to help expand global reach for minority-owned firms

Alternate TextToday Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) kicked off the 28th annual National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference in Washington, D.C.  The week-long conference focuses on “Strategies for Growth and Competitiveness in the Global Economy.”

The MED Week conference helps minority-owned firms grow domestically and globally through a series of educational, training and business-to-business networking events. Throughout MED Week, nearly 1,500 minority business owners, government officials and corporate representatives will hear about President Obama’s National Export Initiative and develop the skills to become export-ready. They will also have the chance to participate in sessions on opportunities for minority-owned firms in federal contracting and Haiti reconstruction, among others. The week will wrap up with an awards gala to honor excellence in minority-owned firms.

MBDA and National Director David Hinson will welcome several speakers to this week’s conference, including: U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Administrator of the Small Business Administration Karen G. Mills, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Dennis Hightower, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez.

MBDA is focused on helping minority-owned firms grow their businesses domestically and globally to foster job creation and economic growth. For more information about the conference and a video of National Director Hinson at MED Week, visit http://www.medweek.gov.  |  Conference details and more  | USPTO Kappos's remarks