Secretary of Commerce Archives - Shopfloor

New Commerce Secretary Pritzker Confirmed By Senate

By | Economy | No Comments

Today the U.S. Senate voted 97-1 to confirm Penny Pritzker to serve as the next Secretary of Commerce. Manufacturers are looking forward to working with Ms. Pritzker on policies to help create jobs and increase our nation’s exports.

Ms. Pritzker comes from a family with a background in manufacturing as her uncle Bob Pritzker once served as chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers. We need action on policies that will lower the cost of doing business and make manufacturers more competitive. Currently it is still 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared to our largest trading partners.

We have serious and challenging work ahead of us and we look forward to working with Secretary Pritzker to help manufacturers compete.

Good Lucke to Locke

By | Trade | No Comments

President Obama is going to nominate Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to serve as ambassador to China, numerous news agencies report. We wish him good luck on an enormous challenge.

Testimony and Then Questions About Manufacturing in America

By | General | No Comments

Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) of the Senate Commerce Committee, who is chairing a hearing this morning, “The Future of American Manufacturing: Maintaining America’s Competitive Edge,” said manufacturing will be major theme in his committee this year.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has already spoken, and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke just completed his statement as we write. We thank both for mentioning the National Association of Manufacturers.

Here are the prepared statements:

Secretary Locke will be answering questions from the public about his remarks and U.S. manufacturing. From Commerce:

Secretary Locke will be answering questions from Senators during the hearing, but afterwards he wants to hear from you. We invite you to watch the hearing and submit questions about manufacturing via comments on this post, Twitter (use hashtag #LockeChat) and on our Facebook page. As the Secretary’s schedule permits, he’ll answer some of the questions throughout the day.

As a primer, watch the video below. In it U.S. companies from a wide range of industries from health care to plastics talk about why they manufacture their goods in America. The United States offers a highly educated workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a business climate that supports and encourages innovation. For ET Water, Labcon, Supracor and others, manufacturing in America just makes smart business sense.

In India, Secretary Locke Notes Trade Opportunities, Obstacles

By | Taxation, Trade | No Comments

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke gave the keynote speech today at an event sponsored by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi, one of the events on a trade and business mission he is leading through India this week. Twenty-four U.S. businesses are represented on the trip, including several manufacturers.

The Commerce Department is blogging the trip. Key excerpt from the secretary’s speech:

Between 2004 and 2008, trade doubled between India and the United States. 

And ours is increasingly a partnership of equals. . .

. . . With major U.S. multinationals like Cisco, GE and IBM locating major research and development facilities here, and depending on Indian scientists and engineers to do growing amounts of higher value-added work.

I think the growing respect that U.S. businesses have for India can be summed up by the words of a Cisco executive who said:

We came to India for the costs, we stayed for the quality and we’re now investing for innovation.

Key caveat:

Even though India has made tremendous strides to open up its economy, there is much work left to be done. Read More

President’s Visit to GE Schenectady Highlights Energy, Manufacturing, India

By | Energy, Trade | No Comments

From the White House’s weekly schedule for President Obama, posted by Lynn Sweet of The Chicago Sun-Times:

[The] President will travel to Schenectady, New York to visit the birthplace of General Electric. The site is home to GE’s largest energy division, including steam turbines, generators, wind and solar, and the future home of GE’s advanced battery manufacturing facility. The President will tour the site with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt and he will make remarks on the importance of growing the economy and making America more competitive by investing in jobs, innovation and clean energy. The GE plant in Schenectady is a direct beneficiary of GE’s power turbine deal with India announced during the President’s trip last November.

The President’s visit was rescheduled from last week after the shootings in Tuscon.

We’re glad to see the White House emphasize corporate involvement in India, the kind of global investment that creates wealth and jobs in the United States. From GE’s news release, Oct. 25, 2010, “GE Wins Largest Gas Turbine Combined-Cycle Order in India“:

SAMALKOT, India–25 October 2010– Reliance Power Ltd. of India has selected GE’s (NYSE: GE) flexible, efficient power generation technology for a 2,400-megawatt expansion of the Samalkot power plant in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. This will represent the largest gas turbine combined-cycle project in India’s history and will help the country meet its continuing demand for reliable electricity to support its rapidly growing economy.

Under contracts totaling over $750 million, GE will supply six Frame 9FA gas turbines, three D-11 steam turbines, training and long-term services for the project. GE’s 9FA combined-cycle technology is proven in applications worldwide. In a combined-cycle configuration, exhaust gas from a gas turbine-generator is converted to steam, which is used to drive a steam turbine-generator, enabling the plant to produce additional power without an increase in fuel consumption. The new plant is expected to enter simple-cycle (gas turbines only) service in the first half of 2012 and combined-cycle (gas and steam turbines) in the second half of that year.

See also GE, “October Deal Tally in India Tops $1.4 Billion with Turbine Order.”

Commerce Secretary Locke on Friday announced a high-tech trade mission to India for February, with manufacturers a major presence.

Twenty-four U.S. businesses will join Commerce Secretary Gary Locke for a business development mission to India on February 6-11.  The businesses joining the trade mission are based in 13 states across the country and more than half of them are small- and medium-sized companies.

The delegation, which also includes senior officials from the Export-Import Bank (EX-IM) and the Trade Development Agency (TDA), will make stops in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, where Locke will highlight export opportunities for U.S. businesses in the advanced industrial sectors, of civil-nuclear trade, defense and security, civil aviation, and information and communication technologies. Locke accompanied President Obama to India in November, where they witnessed more than $10 billion in business deals between U.S. companies and Indian private sector and government entities, supporting 50,000 American jobs.

“Exports are leading the U.S. economic recovery, spurring future economic growth and creating jobs in America,” Locke said. “The business leaders joining me on this mission see the great potential to sell their goods and services to India, helping drive innovation and create jobs in both countries.”

Secretary Locke met last week with India’s ambassador to the United States, Meera Shankar.

A Critical Goal: Doubling Exports Within Five…Make that Four…Years

By | Trade | 2 Comments

The Washington Post profiles Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and his role in promoting President Obama’s National Export Initiative, “A hands-on leader pushes Commerce“:

Since Locke took office in March 2009, he has earned a reputation as the type of manager eager to know details and wring out new efficiencies. He has pushed the Patent and Trademark Office to shorten the time it takes to get a patent, from 34 months to 20 months. He cajoled the Economic Development Administration, which makes business-development grants to distressed communities, to streamline its approval process. And he brought the 2010 Census in 25 percent under budget, saving taxpayers $1.9 billion.

But those management feats pale next to the challenge he faces as one of the key figures in implementing President Obama’s pledge to double U.S. exports within five years.

It’s down to about four years now, since President Obama announced the export initiative in his 2010 State of the Union Address on Jan. 27, 2010.

The Post piece does a good job of explaining the Obama Administration’s approach toward expanding exports and Secretary Locke’s leadership in the initiative. Unfortunately, the story omits — we hope the Secretary did not — the critical importance of enacting the pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia in achieving the export goal. Read More

Ambassador Kirk’s Reminder: Global Operations Create U.S. Jobs

By | Trade | No Comments

The U.S. Trade Representative’s blog includes this Oct. 14 entry, “Ambassador Kirk Meets with Honeywell International CEO “:

Today Ambassador Kirk met with Honeywell International CEO David Cote. Mr. Cote serves on the President’s Deficit Commission and was named co-chair of the U.S.-India CEO Forum by President Obama in 2009.

Honeywell International is a global company headquartered in New Jersey that supports about 58,000 jobs in the United States and 122,000 total jobs worldwide. The company strives to invent and manufacture new technology that will help increase global safety and security.

It’s a company that thrives on trade to do business. In fact, it’s a leading exporter in over 100 countries worldwide. USTR is dedicated to opening markets and maintaining a level playing field so that companies like Honeywell can export more in support of U.S. American jobs.

And right beneath it, an Oct. 13 post, “USTR Ambassador Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke tour FedEx global export operations in Memphis, Tennessee“:

This week, Ambassador Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke are visiting the front lines of global trade in Memphis, Tennessee. That’s where Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Locke got a behind-the-scenes look at the FedEx global operations hub, one of the busiest transportation and logistics centers in the world. They toured the site at midnight to get a sense of how FedEx operates around the clock, sending over eight million packages daily to more than 220 countries. That enormous volume of trade activity supports 230,000 FedEx jobs in the United States, including 30,000 in the Volunteer State.

That’s right on. U.S. manufacturers and logistics/shipping companies support domestic U.S. jobs through their global operations.

These USTR blog posts serve as a timely rebuke to those who for political purposes misrepresent overseas operations as somehow deleterious to the U.S. economy and job creation.

Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

By | Energy, Global Warming, Studies and Reports | One Comment

From the White House blog:

[Today]from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

In the hopes of a realistic discussion about the potential of “clean energy” as part of the larger — much larger — manufacturing sector, we link again to the analysis released in April by one of Secretary Locke’s own agencies at Commerce, the Economic and Statistics Administration, “Measuring the Green Economy.”

From the introduction, a statement of ESA’s findings:

Our results suggest that green products and services comprised 1% to 2% of the total private business economy in 2007. The lower estimate was developed using a narrow definition that included products that we found generated little debate regarding their “greenness.” The larger estimate was based on a broad definition that included products that some might argue were not green. Under the broad definition, the share of green products and services was substantially larger, but still constituted only a relatively small part of the economy.

The number of green jobs was also found to be modest, ranging from about 1.8 million jobs under the narrow definition to 2.4 million jobs under the broad definition. These jobs constituted between 1.5% and 2.0% of total private sector employment in 2007. Green products accounted for about the same share of employment in the manufacturing sector as in the services sector.

RIP, Robert Mossbacher

By | Trade | No Comments

Reuters, “Former Commerce Secretary Mosbacher dies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Robert Mosbacher, who served as U.S. commerce secretary under former President George H.W. Bush and helped champion the North American Free Trade Agreement, died on Sunday at the age of 82.

More from Bloomberg. As Commerce Secretary, Mossbacher also was a leading advocate of trade liberalization with Japan and other Asian countries in the early 1990s.

Laws, Costs, Burdens: Where’s the Growth Agenda? Like Trade?

By | Trade | No Comments

From Dow-Jones, September 29, “US Secy Locke: Colombia Trade Pact Not Likely Ratified In ’09“:

SANTIAGO (Dow Jones)–The U.S. Congress won’t likely ratify a free trade agreement with Colombia this year as it’s currently focusing on health care reform and energy-related legislation, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said Tuesday.

“It’s pretty doubtful” that the pact will be ratified this year, although the Obama administration is pushing forward with this agreement and similar ones with South Korea and Panama, the secretary said, noting that U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is heading up the effort to conclude the trade deals.

Speaking to reporters in Santiago on the sidelines of the third Americas Competitiveness Forum, Locke said the U.S. aims to strenghten its trade ties with Latin America as the U.S. and Latin economies have greatly benefitted from existing ties.

“It’s in everyone’s economic interest to have trade agreements and lower tariff barriers,” Locke said. He added that President Barack Obama has indicated the U.S. is seeking an equal partnership with the countries in the region.

Secretary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk have been excellent evangelists for the economic benefits of trade agreements, but we’ve yet to see any of the advocacy converted into action.

President Obama spoke to two labor events in September, the AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati and the AFL-CIO national convention in Pittsburgh. At neither event did he even mention the word “trade.” Organized labor could be forgiven for thinking the unions have been given a de facto veto over White House utterances or Congressional action on the pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

It hardly seems like the political environment will improve for expanding trade in 2010, when labor uses its campaign cash to bludgeon candidates into toeing their line.

See also the Investor’s Business Daily editorial, “Serving Castro First“:

On the very day Colombia was humiliated by Locke’s comments in Chile, the State Department announced it had sent acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Bisa Williams to Havana to negotiate new agreements with the ruling Castro oligarchy…[snip]

So why isn’t Colombia getting the same “pace of steps”? All it gets are sorry excuses. The U.S.-Colombia trade treaty was signed in 2006 and is ready to go. Its only barrier is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who doesn’t want a vote because she knows it will pass.

No country has ever been strung along so cynically.