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The Commerce Blog

Secretaries Locke and Chu to Travel to China, Focus on Clean Energy Jobs, Business and Technology

Secretaries Locke and Chu at White House press conference.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu will travel to China on Tuesday, July 14. During their four-day visit, the two secretaries will highlight the tremendous potential for mutually beneficial relationships in the clean energy sector. “Today, we are more interdependent with China than at any point in the last 30 years,” Locke said. “The relationship between our two countries is of critical importance, and while great progress has been made in our cooperation on economic, trade and global terrorism fronts, there's much more to do.”

Secretary Locke Statement on Trade Numbers

Photo of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the May 2009 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports increased by 1.6 percent to $123.3 billion since April 2009. Imports decreased 0.6 percent to $149.3 billion. The goods and services trade deficit has fallen to the lowest level in this decade. Overall, the trade deficit declined by 9.8 percent during the month. (More) (Fact Sheet)

El Niño Arrives: Expected to Persist Through Winter 2009-2010

Image of sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Eastern Pacific, as of July 1. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the arrival of El Niño, a climate phenomenon with a significant influence on global weather, ocean conditions and marine fisheries. El Niño, the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months. NOAA expects this El Niño to continue developing during the next several months, with further strengthening possible. The event is expected to last through winter 2009-2010. (More) (Animation)

NOAA and University of California Sign Ground Lease for New Fisheries Center

Artist's rendering of campus and proposed buildings. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of California have signed a 55-year ground lease clearing the way for construction next year of a new federal laboratory and office center at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in La Jolla. “This is a key step as we prepare for construction of a world-class research facility where hundreds of federal and university scientists will investigate the entire ecosystem of fish and marine mammals off the California coast and beyond,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. (More)

Census Bureau Opens 2010 Census Data Processing Center in Jeffersonville, Ind.

Census logo. Click to go to Census 2010 Web site.

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau opened a data processing center in Jeffersonville, Ind., which will process 58 million 2010 Census forms completed by households in 10 states. The new facility will be at the Census Bureau’s National Processing Center (NPC) and will employ approximately 1,350 people. Census officials were joined by Jeffersonville Mayor Thomas Galligan and other dignitaries at the opening of the data processing center. (More) (Census 2010)

Secretary Locke Addresses Moscow U.S.-Russia Business Summit, Named Co-Chair of New Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group

President Obama, President Medvedev, Secretary Locke and Russian Minister Nabiullina seen on stage. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at a U.S.-Russia Business Summit in Moscow where CEOs and business leaders from both countries presented recommendations to expand bilateral commercial cooperation. The Secretary was joined by Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina. Presidents Obama and Medvedev also addressed the summit. On Monday, the Presidents announced that Locke and Nabiullina would co-chair the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group as part of the newly formed U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission between the two countries. (Remarks)

Physicists Find Way to Control Individual Bits in Quantum Computers

Optical lattices use lasers to separate rubidium atoms (red) for use as information “bits” in neutral-atom quantum processors -- prototype devices which designers are trying to develop into full-fledged quantum computers. NIST scientists have managed to isolate and control pairs of the rubidium atoms with polarized light, an advance that may bring quantum computing a step closer to reality. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have overcome a hurdle in quantum computer development, having devised a viable way to manipulate a single “bit” in a quantum processor without disturbing the information stored in its neighbors. The approach, which makes novel use of polarized light to create “effective” magnetic fields, could bring the long-sought computers a step closer to reality. A great challenge in creating a working quantum computer is maintaining control over the carriers of information, the “switches” in a quantum processor while isolating them from the environment. (More)

The Fourth of July 2009: Census Bureau National Holiday Facts and Figures

Image of U.S. flag over main entrance of the Commerce Department. Click for larger image.

U.S. flag, Department of Commerce

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the nation. In 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. This year, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau estimate is 307 million. For fascinating figures on Fourth fireworks, flags, fanfares, firings (grills) and more, see the Bureau’s Facts for Features. (More Facts for Features) (U.S. Population Clock)

Secretary Locke Announces Efforts to Support Minority Business Access to Recovery Act Opportunities

MBDA lgo. Click to go to MBDA Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced significant efforts by the department to support access for minority-owned businesses to Recovery Act opportunities. Locke, along with Commerce senior advisor Rick Wade, held a conference call with reporters today to discuss the department’s commitment to improving outreach and education. “President Obama is committed to ensuring that minority businesses are aware of and have access to federal contracts and funding opportunities,” Locke said. “The success of minority-owned businesses is vital to our economic recovery, and we’re working hard to make sure they have access to these important federal opportunities.” (More) (Commerce.gov/Recovery) (www.mbda.gov)

Secretary Locke to Accompany President Obama to Russia

File photo portrait of Secretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will travel to Moscow, July 6-8, in conjunction with the Presidential Summit Meeting between Presidents Obama and Medvedev. Locke will represent the administration at a private sector Business Summit where U.S. and Russian business leaders will present recommendations to expand bilateral commercial cooperation. This will be Locke’s first overseas trip as Secretary of Commerce. While in Moscow, he will meet with the Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina to discuss U.S.-Russian economic and commercial relations and Russia’s integration into the global economy. (More)