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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Hosts U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, Receives Recommendations to Promote Economy

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Secretary Locke seated at table with Board  participants. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke participated in a U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB) meeting to discuss recommendations key to growing the economy and boosting tourism. The travel and tourism industry, which accounts for 2.6 percent of U.S. GDP, has been adversely impacted by the economic downturn. Locke asked the TTAB for its views regarding issues facing the travel and tourism industry. The Board was established in 2003 and consists of up to 15 private-sector industry leaders who are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. (TTAB Web site)

Secretary Locke meets with France's Minister of State for Foreign Trade

Ildrac and Locke seated. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with France’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Anne-Marie Idrac, at the Commerce Department. This was their first meeting. Secretary Locke and Minister of State Idrac shared views on the importance of increasing trade and economic growth. Locke affirmed, “The U.S. government is committed to expanding trade and avoiding protectionist policies.” The Secretary suggested that the Doha Round must be balanced and ambitious. “The United States and France would benefit from increasing trade with developing nations,” he said. (More)

NOAA: Warmest Global Sea-Surface Temperatures for August and Summer

NOAA Visualization

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest for any August on record, and the warmest on record averaged for any June-August (Northern Hemisphere summer/Southern Hemisphere winter) season according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The preliminary analysis is based on records dating back to 1880. NCDC scientists also reported that the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for August was the second-warmest on record, behind 1998. For the June-August 2009 season, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the third-warmest on record. (More)

Secretary Locke Breaks Ground on Major San Diego-Area Recovery Act Project

Shown with shovels in their hands: NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Directo Director Tony Haymet, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, NOAA Chief of Staff Margaret Spring. Click for larger image.

Photo: Robert Monroe/Scripps

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Mayor Jerry Sanders led a groundbreaking ceremony in La Jolla, Calif., for two new buildings dedicated to ocean science on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The project is a major groundbreaking in California under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The buildings are supported by two federal agencies—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—and will feature state-of-the-art marine life tanks and cutting-edge science labs. (More) (Remarks)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on August 2009 Retail Sales

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for August 2009.Retail sales rose 2.7 percent in August, well above the increase of 2.0 percent private analysts had expected. Motor vehicle sales jumped 10.6 percent, while sales excluding motor vehicles increased 1.1 percent, and sales excluding motor vehicles and gasoline rose 0.6 percent. These data come after four straight quarterly declines in retail sales. (Statement) (Census Release)

NIST Submits Master Plan for Gaithersburg Campus

View of Gaithersburg campus. Click for larger image.

Courtesy HDR Architecture, Inc./Steve Hall
© Hedrich Blessing

Planned and potential expansions and new facilities across campus, the addition of 400-500 kilowatts in power from solar panels, and increasing already-heavy employee use of alternative transportation to a daily rate of 40 percent are among the highlights of an updated Master Plan for the Gaithersburg, Md., campus of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST has delivered its plan to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), the central planning agency for federal land and buildings in the National Capital Region. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Hirschhorn as Under Secretary for Industry and Security

Bueau of Industry and Security logo.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate attorney Eric Hirschhorn to be the Under Secretary of the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Hirschhorn is currently a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Winston & Strawn LLP. "Eric Hirschhorn has a wealth of experience working with export controls and I look forward to having him onboard as we implement President Obama's vision to reform the export control system and increase competitiveness of U.S. companies by facilitating the sale of our goods while protecting national security," Locke said. (More) (White House press release)

USPTO to Hold Live Online Chat for Independent Inventors

Photo of inventors with large-screen monitor.

File Photo

Senior officials of the Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be available live online Wednesday, September 16, 2009 from 2 to 3 p.m. (EDT). They will be answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the online chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO Web site at 10 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday. Inventors can begin logging on for the chat at 1:30 p.m. The independent inventor on-line chat is part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to promote and protect America’s independent inventor community. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Gallagher as Director of NIST

Portrait of Patrick Gallagher.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate physicist Patrick Gallagher to be the 14th director of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gallagher, 46, is currently the NIST deputy director. “NIST is a unique agency with a strong culture of world-class scientific achievement,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “Pat Gallagher has come up through the ranks and his continued leadership will be critical to an agency that is central to the nation’s ability to innovate and compete in global markets.” (More) (White House Press Release) (Bio)

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Secretary Locke Statement on Census Bureau Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Report

Portrait of Secretary Locke.

The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that real median household income in the United States fell 3.6 percent between 2007 and 2008, coinciding with the recession that began in December 2007. Additionally, the number of people covered by private health insurance decreased from 202 million in 2007 to 201 million in 2008. (More) (Census Bureau Release) (Full Report-PDF)