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U.S. Exports Hit Record High for the Fifth Straight Year

Total Exports in 2014 were 2.35 trillion.

Guest Blog Post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Trade Agreements Will Help Accelerate Economic Growth

Today, the Commerce Department announced new data that show U.S. businesses exported $2.35 trillion of our goods and services in 2014, hitting a record high for the fifth straight year. U.S. goods exports increased 2.7 percent to a record $1.64 trillion in 2014. Records were set in exports of capital goods; consumer goods; petroleum products; foods, feeds, and beverages; and automotive vehicles and parts. Annual services exports hit an all-time high of $710.3 billion, led by record export levels in the travel, transport, charges for the use of intellectual property, and financial services sectors.

What does this mean for American businesses and American workers? Exports have been a key driver in our economic comeback. Exports support 11.3 million American jobs, and contributed one-third of our annual growth between 2009 and 2013. In some cities– like Kansas City, Albuquerque, Youngstown, Columbus, and Detroit – exports drove nearly all growth out of the recession.

As I have traveled across the United States, speaking with more than 1,500 CEOs and business leaders, I have seen firsthand the way exports are benefiting American companies and workers. Take Davenport Aviation, a certified distributor of spare parts and aviation equipment based in Columbus, Ohio.  Davenport Aviation is a small business – they now have eleven employees – but taking advantage of the global marketplace has helped them grow every year since they opened in 2009. Exports account for 99 percent of their business, and this year, because of increased demand, Davenport Aviation plans to add at least 3-4 new jobs.

All over the country, exporters like Davenport Aviation are growing and creating jobs. While America’s economy is on the right track, we have more work to do to ensure our growth is sustainable. Exports are a critical part of that effort, which is why President Obama has made increased trade a top priority. In today’s global economy, American prosperity is directly tied to our ability to reach new markets and new customers overseas. We know that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, so gaining greater access to markets abroad will allow our companies to expand, hire more workers, and pay better wages here at home.

Enacting trade promotion legislation will give the President the ability to move forward on trade agreements that will open doors for American businesses, including small businesses like Davenport Aviation. Passing trade promotion legislation this year is critical. 

In addition, we must finish and implement two major trade agreements that would open up new markets to U.S. goods and services: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Once completed, these two agreements will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses a large base of new potential customers. For example, while the Asia-Pacific is currently home to 570 million middle class consumers, that number is expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2030, and this Administration wants our American businesses and workers to have access to that opportunity. 

A Record Year for American Exports, Further Proof of American Greatness

Under Secretary Stefan M. Selig (second from left) discusses the importance of exports as part of a panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC on February 5, 2015.

Cross blog post by Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

“The shadow of crisis has passed,” the President declared in his State of the Union two weeks ago, and the export data we released today goes to the heart of that very point.

The Commerce Department announced today that the U.S. economy hit a new annual record for exports, with $2.35 trillion in goods and services shipped in 2014.

That also represents the fifth consecutive year that our economy yielded record exports, going back to 2010 when the President launched the National Export Initiative.

If you take a deeper dive into the numbers, you see that exports are an important chapter in the larger story of our economic recovery.

Last year, we achieved record annual goods exports with Canada ($312 billion), Mexico ($240 billion) and China ($124 billion). In fact, the U.S. economy had record goods exports with 52 countries in 2014.

It was also a banner year when it came to goods exports with our free trade agreement (FTA) markets. You would expect that our exports to these countries would be strong. But last year saw enormous year-over-year growth in a variety of FTA markets throughout the world: up 7% with South Korea, 9% with Guatemala, 10% with Colombia, 11% with the Dominican Republic, and 28% with Oman.

Our services industry also enjoyed a banner year in 2014, hitting an all-time high of $710 billion.

Travel and tourism remained our strongest service export (it is easy to forget that every dollar a foreign visitor spends on airfare, lodging, and entertainment counts as an export dollar) coming in at $182 billion.

It was also a record year for goods exports, exceeding $1.6 trillion. When you take a look at individual sectors, it is easy to see a compelling story.

Exports of passenger cars represented our third-largest source of year-over-year growth—$61 billion in exports—an increase of more than $4 billion. Our three leading export markets for U.S. passenger cars were Canada, China, and Germany.

FY 2016 Budget Request Prioritizes Innovation

FY 2016 Budget Request Prioritizes Innovation

Yesterday, Secretary Pritzker released the U.S. Department of Commerce’s fiscal year 2016 budget request. The FY 2016 budget request supports and builds on President Obama’s vision for creating economic opportunity that will benefit all Americans. The budget includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities, including promoting trade and investment, fueling our data-driven economy, and spurring innovation. 

The U.S. Commerce Department plays a critical role in promoting U.S. economic growth and providing vital scientific and environmental information. The FY16 budget request directly aligns with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation.  
 
Manufacturing is critical to innovation since it creates new growth industries, jobs and strengthens our economy. The budget supports the expansion of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) with up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes across the nation. In total, the budget includes discretionary funding for seven new institutes, including $140 million for the first two Commerce-led institutes, and an additional $1.9 billion mandatory proposal to fulfill the President’s vision. NNMI has kept America on the front-lines of discovery, which has resulted in our businesses, our manufacturers, and the American economy globally competition in the 21stcentury economy.
 
The budget also invests in the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support innovative economic development planning, regional capacity building, and capital projects, which includes the Regional Innovation Strategies Program. This program promotes economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level, which has resulted in the establishment of proof-of-concept centers that foster the rapid commercialization of research and startup creation; The feasibility and planning of new research parks where academic and industry can collaborate; and Providing technical assistance for regions wanting to establish seed-capital funding programs for startups.
 
Additionally, the budget provides $49 million for NTIA, which is a demonstration of the Administration’s continued commitment to broadband telecommunications as a driver of economic development, job creation, technological innovation, and enhanced public safety. The President’s broadband vision of freeing up 500 MHz of Federal spectrum, promoting broadband competition in communities throughout the country, and connecting over 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband connections through the ConnectED initiative will create thousands of quality jobs and ensure that students have access to the best educational tools available.
 
Lastly, through the implementation of the America Invents Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to make it easier for American entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their inventions to the marketplace sooner, converting ideas into new products and new jobs. The budget allows USPTO to fund operations and to further implement administrative actions proposed by the President’s Patent Task Force. The USPTO offers countless resources such as, the Track One Prioritized Examination Program, which allows small businesses to get a final disposition within about twelve months.
 
Learn more about the fiscal year 2016 budget request and the many ways it supports the Department of Commerce’s mission.

The Important Work of NACIE Begins

The Important Work of NACIE Begins

Guest blog post by Julie Goonewardene, Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Strategic Investment, Diaceutics Chairwoman, AMA Board, MBI Board

Last year, I was honored to be appointed as an advisor to Secretary Pritzker as part of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). NACIE is emblematic of all the entrepreneurs, educators, philanthropists, and innovators in all sectors of the economy who are working to ensure that our country remains a place of opportunity, innovation and entrepreneurship for generations to come. In December 2014 Secretary Pritzker convened the first meeting of the 27-member NACIE. My NACIE colleagues impress me. We are a diverse group, and I was excited to hear from my fellow council members as they brought their experiences to bear as we began discussing the issues. I can’t think of a better group to address the challenges of creating an innovation economy.

As the current NACIE we are charged with bringing our ideas, and networks together to identify and recommend policies, programs, and partnerships that can help American businesses, individuals, and communities become even more competitive in the global marketplace.

Economic development is hard. It demands years of sustained effort that transcends political movements, market cycles, demographic changes, and geopolitical shifts. It also requires people from all sectors of the economic ecosystem to analyze and understand what is working, to offer alternatives where improvement is needed, and to reach consensus around policies and investments that support paths to prosperity for all Americans.

The Secretary and her team, marshaled by the Director of EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Julie Kirk, expect every council member to come to meetings prepared to contribute. Our first workshop began with an exchange of backgrounds and philosophies then broke into three standing committees — Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development — where the Council will conduct the majority of its work.

2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Last week, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. These visionary inventors each patented inventions that revolutionized their industries and changed people’s lives. Of the fourteen new inductees, seven will be honored posthumously. 

The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in the Madison Building on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia, was established in 1973 and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and scientific achievements and helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts. 

This year’s class of inductees includes Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura, responsible for the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which enabled the white LED, and the blue laser diode; Jaap Haartsen, the inventor of Bluetooth® technology, now used in 2.7 billion devices and growing; George Alcorn, who furthered deep space exploration with his X-ray spectrometer; Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp, pioneers in display technology related to rear projection television and 3D applications; duo Ioannis Yannas and John Burke, who have saved the lives of many burn victims with their invention of Artificial Skin; and Thomas Jennings, the first African American to receive a patent, who invented the precursor to modern dry cleaning. Watch this short National Inventors Hall of Fame video on the 2015 inductees. 

Both the new and previous inductees will be honored in a three-day event series. It will kick off with a illumination ceremony at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia on May 11th, followed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on May 12 at the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, and a panel discussion on May 13th presented with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be emceed by CBS News correspondent and television personality Mo Rocca.

The Benefits of IMCP

A US Navy welder works at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Photo courtesy US Navy

Guest Blog by Sarah Lee, Principal Economic Development Manager, Puget Sound Regional Council

Washington State brought in $7 million in IMCP-aligned federal agency funds just months after receiving one of the “manufacturing community” designations from the U.S. Department of Commerce. That’s a pretty shining endorsement of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program, right? But the truth is Washington State began reaping the benefits of the program even before we submitted our application. The value of this program is about even more than funding.

Our IMCP application was based on the Washington Aerospace Strategy, already developed by the Governor’s Office of Aerospace and the Washington Aerospace Partnership, so we had a head start. The application process pushed us to dig deeper, to prioritize projects and firm up commitments. We reached out to more stakeholders than we had before, which meant we uncovered great programs and projects and discovered partners we didn’t even know we had.

For example, we hadn’t fully explored what our local Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) could do for us. MEP is a National Institute of Standards and Technology program that helps small and medium manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. With a median size of 98 employees, our state’s aerospace suppliers definitely qualify for MEP programs. As a result, two of the six catalytic investments outlined in our IMCP plan are projects developed in partnership with our MEP. We have already secured funds for one of those projects, and the MEP relationship continues to open new doors. 

EDA Tools: Supporting Investment in Local Communities

Data Driving Development:  EDA Releases New Cluster Mapping Tool to Help Spur Regional Economic Growth

A community can’t attract investment if it doesn’t have a clear sense of what it has to offer to a potential company or industry looking to locate there. That’s why the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has tools to help communities identify assets in their regions that will help to attract private investment: the National Excess Manufacturing Capacity Catalogue (NEXCAP) and the U.S. Cluster Mapping website.

In the United States, there are hundreds of millions of square feet of nonproductive commercial, industrial, and manufacturing space. This space provides an opportunity for domestic companies to find manufacturing spaces as well as foreign companies looking to locate operations in the United States. However, information about this space can be incomplete and scattered. That’s where NEXCAP comes in. With funding from EDA, NEXCAP is uniquely and comprehensively cataloging these vacant manufacturing facilities, their assets, and those of the surrounding community. The searchable catalog offers companies seeking manufacturing production sites/facilities in the U.S. a complete and detailed overview of potential manufacturing sites. NEXCAP's site inventory and portal is populated with detailed profiles of the facilities and their host communities. It provides companies seeking locations with a toolkit of information to guide their business location and/or expansion decisions. This benefits the communities with properties by attracting investment and new, job creating industries.

Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center’s MED Week Event Helps Local Entrepreneurs, Businesses Expand Their Opportunities

Isabella Cascarano, U.S. Embassy of Dominican Republic,  Jose Burgos USEAC, of Puerto Rico, James W. Brewster, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Gabriela Morales, MBDA Business Development Specialist, Teresa Berrios, Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center's Director, and Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA's National Director, ready to meet local entrepreneurs during the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center's MED Week Conference in San Juan's Condado Plaza Hotel, Jan. 30.

Puerto Rican businesses and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities that drive growth found them during Puerto Rico’s MBDA Business Center’s Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) conference held on January 30th in San Juan’s Condado Plaza Hotel.

The MED Week in Puerto Rico continued the celebration of the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) 45th Anniversary.  It was also another opportunity to amplify our continued efforts in Puerto Rico to assist minority-owned firms grow in size and scale, and diversify into the industries of tomorrow.

To that end, this past year, we engaged the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center on several important business endeavors.  One of them was ensuring that minority firms in Puerto Rico were well positioned to export, and that’s precisely why we invited James W. Brewster, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic to be the keynote speaker at this year’s MED Week event.  As a critical trade partner, we wanted to talk about the exporting opportunities that exist in the Dominican Republic, but also throughout all the Caribbean nations.

America’s Economic Resurgence: Invest in the U.S.A - The 2015 SelectUSA Summit Agenda

SelectUSA 2015 Investment Summit

There has never been a better time to invest in the United States. With a resurgent economy and a strong economic foundation to support growth for years to come, it is no wonder the United States is the world’s top destination for businesses looking to expand.

Building on this, President Obama is hosting the second SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is right around the corner.  On March 23-24, more than 2,500 people from around the world and every corner of the United States will gather in Washington to explore opportunities to grow their businesses.  This is a “don’t miss” event, and we are excited to unveil the Summit agenda. We hope you will consider joining us.

More than 1,200 people from 70 international markets have already registered, and we anticipate that the event will be filled to capacity well in advance of the Summit.

Why is interest so strong?  The United States offers an unprecedented investment climate for foreign investors of all sizes, a skilled and productive workforce, an unmatched higher education system, strong intellectual property protections, a serious commitment to innovation, and an abundant and stable energy supply.

The U.S. domestic market remains the world’s most attractive for foreign investment. Real GDP grew at a 5.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, and businesses have added 11.2 million jobs during a record 58 straight months of private-sector job growth. U.S.-based companies offer access to millions of global consumers through high quality Free Trade Agreements. More than ever, the U.S. market is driving global competitiveness. 

How can investors learn more about this unparalleled opportunity? Attend the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., March 23-24, of course.

Head Health Challenge III

Dr. Willie E. May, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology and Standards and Acting Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology at the press conference announcing the Head Health Challenge III

Guest blog post by Dr. Willie E. May, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology and Standards and Acting Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Today I had the honor of announcing a new public-private partnership, along with the National Football League (NFL), GE, and Under Armour. This unusual group of players is launching an open innovation competition to advance materials that better absorb or dissipate energy. These new materials could improve the performance of protective equipment for athletes, military personnel and first responders.

The announcement was made at a news conference in Phoenix as part of the NFL’s larger annual health and safety presentation for reporters prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 1.

The NFL, GE, Under Armor, and NIST have each contributed $500,000 for a total of $2 million in prize money for the winners of the competition.

During the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit in May 2014, President Obama announced a number of planned new investments from federal agencies, universities, the NFL, and even private donors all focused on lowering the societal cost of concussions and other brain injuries for athletes of all ages, our military forces, and other members of the public.

NIST is proud to join our partners in helping implement the President’s promise and realize his vision.