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The Commerce Blog

Commerce Supports President Obama's Smart Grid Announcement through Accelerated Standards Effort

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© Tobias Machhaus/Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of Commerce is engaged in expedited efforts to support President Barack Obama’s announcement today of federal grants to 49 states for investments in a nationwide Smart Grid. A draft set of accelerated Smart Grid standards—recently unveiled by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and currently open for public comment—will help ensure that smart meters, sensors and other devices funded through the grants program work together seamlessly for a robust and reliable nationwide electricity system that saves energy and allows greater use of clean-energy technologies. (White House release)

Secretary Locke Kicks Off Visit to China with Discussions on Intellectual Property and Innovation

U.S. State Department map of China.

Map: U.S. State Department

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke stressed the importance of protecting intellectual property today at the Pearl River Delta International Forum on Innovation and Intellectual Property. At the forum, Locke spoke to government officials and business leaders and acknowledged that while China has made some progress protecting the intellectual property of foreign companies operating within its borders, more must be done. Later, at Jinan University, Locke joined a conversation with students about the significance of intellectual property rights for the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. (IPR Forum remarks) (Jinan University remarks)

NOAA and Partners Announce South Atlantic Alliance

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Representatives from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida announced the formation of a partnership to better manage and protect ocean and coastal resources, ensure regional economic sustainability, and respond to disasters such as hurricanes. The announcement was made during the annual meeting of the Coastal States Organization in Charleston, S.C. (More)

Census Bureau Launches 2010 Census Campaign with New Web Site

Marquee of 2010census.gov Web site. Click to go to Web site.

The Department of Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau kicked off its communications campaign to reach every resident in America with the launch of its 2010 Census Web site, 2010Census.gov. The Web site will serve as a platform for a national dialogue about how the census develops a “Portrait of America.” “2010Census.gov puts the census in the hands of the public,” said Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves. “You can find out when you will get the form, and how to fill it out and mail it back. The site also provides a substantial amount of information regarding our commitment to privacy and confidentiality.” (More)

Secretary Locke Visits West Virginia Plant to Highlight ARRA Success, Job Creation, with Senator Rockefeller

President Mark Savan, Senator Rockefeller, Secretary Locke Governor Manchin watch as a plant work er demonstrates a product. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Simonton Windows in West Virginia with Senator Jay Rockefeller and Governor Joe Manchin to celebrate the return of 200 employees to the company, thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Combining Recovery Act energy tax credits and their own example of smart investment to stimulate real growth, Simonton Windows was able to rehire workers it had previously laid off at West Virginia plants. (More)

Secretary Locke Chairs First Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Meeting

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke chaired the Obama administration’s first meeting of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) and focused on initiatives to help boost U.S. exports, spur economic growth and create jobs. Secretary Locke was joined by U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, and other top administration officials from 20 federal agencies on the White House campus. (More) (Remarks)

Secretaries Locke and Chu Focus on American Competitiveness at White House Clean Energy Forum

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a Clean Energy Economy Forum with business leaders from around the country. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and other administration officials were also featured speakers at the Forum, which included a focus on ensuring American competitiveness and leadership in the emerging clean energy economy. In addition to addressing issues of competiveness, administration officials reiterated the need for a comprehensive energy plan that puts America back in control of its energy future and breaks a dependence on oil that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. (Remarks) (More)

NIST Signs U.S.-China Cooperative Agreement on Earthquake and Volcano Sciences

NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher and Yin Chaomin, the vice administrator of the Chinese Earthquake Administration, shaking hands while seated at signing table.

In the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake that occurred in China this past year and its high number of casualties, the U.S. and China have signed a protocol for cooperation on earthquake and volcano sciences. The protocol was signed by the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation and Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S., and the Chinese Earthquake Administration and the National Natural Science Foundation of the People’s Republic of China. Shown are NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher and Yin Chaomin, vice administrator of the Chinese Earthquake Administration. (More) (Protocol)

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Address at U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Conference

Secretary Locke on the podium. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered keynote remarks at the U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Conference, encouraging economic partnerships with Iraq and highlighting American business opportunities in multiple sectors. The conference is the first major event under the recently signed U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement and is intended to promote current investment and business opportunities for American companies in Iraq, provide matchmaking opportunities for U.S. and Iraqi firms, and address the challenges to doing business in Iraq. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Statement on September 2009 New Residential Construction

Department of Commerce seal.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Bureau of the Census released data on new residential construction in September 2009. Permits declined 1.2 percent in September but have risen 15.1 percent since their low in April. Starts edged up 0.5 percent in September and have grown 23.2 percent above their low in April. (More) (Release)