Posts Tagged ‘Competitiveness’

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Private Sector Council Provides Feedback on Manufacturing Initiatives

May 3, 2013

Michael Laszkiewicz is the Chair of the 2013 Manufacturing Council. He is the Vice President and General Manager of Rockwell Automation.File photo of workers building a car.

Innovation.

Workforce development.

Export promotion.

Greater support for small and medium-size manufacturers.

And most of all, competitiveness.

Those were the key issues that 23 representatives of the manufacturing community discussed in the initial meeting of the newly appointed 2013 Manufacturing Council, on which I serve as chairperson.

The Council is the principal private sector advisory committee to the Secretary of Commerce on the manufacturing industry. It is composed of representatives from large and small manufacturers from across the U.S., representing an array of industries ranging from automotive parts to chemicals to superconductors.

The Council will meet four times this year to advise the Secretary of Commerce on the challenges facing manufacturing, and provide input on the Obama Administration’s manufacturing initiatives.

As professionals in the field, we know and understand the issues affecting manufacturing. We care about the future of the manufacturing sector and we’re proud to have a voice to provide input on the Obama Administration’s initiatives.

While the issues we discussed aren’t new, we approach them with energy and enthusiasm, buoyed by the Administration’s renewed commitment to reinforce its efforts to strengthen U.S. manufacturing global competitiveness.

What do you think of the list of issues the Council is focusing on? If we could give the Administration one piece of advice on how to strengthen manufacturing, what should it be?

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Proud of Our Progress in 2011, Determined to Do More in 2012

January 10, 2012

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

At the International Trade Administration (ITA), we measure our success by the positive impact we have on jobs, businesses and the growth of our economy.  That’s why I’m proud to say that ITA had a great year in 2011, one full of many noteworthy accomplishments. 

Just to name a few:

Under Secretary Sánchez with two of the 56 members of the largest education trade mission to Indonesia and Vietnam that took place in March 2011.

Under Secretary Sánchez with two of the 56 members of the largest education trade mission to Indonesia and Vietnam that took place in March 2011.

  • U.S. goods and services exports were up roughly 16 percent in the first nine months of 2011 — the latest data available — putting the United States on pace to achieving the President’s National Export Initiative goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014;
  • There were six record-breaking months of U.S. exports during the year;
  • President Obama signed three important trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama, which will support tens of thousands of jobs for the American people and create an abundance of new opportunities for U.S. firms; and
  • The United States’ host year for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum was a tremendous success, strengthening our economic ties with a critically important region of the world.

I could go on and on.  We’ve achieved a lot.  But, all of us at ITA know that there is much more work to do.  Too many people are still out of work.  Too many businesses are still struggling.  And, the fact remains that only 1 percent of American businesses export; of those that do, 58 percent export to just one market. 

So, there is incredible potential for U.S. businesses to be more involved in the international markets and bolster their bottom lines.  We at ITA are determined to help them achieve these goals.  As part of this effort, we will continue to have an unprecedented focus on key initiatives.  These include: 

  • Ensuring that U.S. businesses seize the incredible opportunities developing in emerging technologies like renewable energy, and emerging markets, such as Brazil and India;
  • Continuing to level the playing field for U.S. businesses in international markets by vigorously enforcing trade laws, advocating on behalf of qualified American firms for contracts with foreign governments, and empowering entrepreneurs with the tools they need to compete;
  • Training our foreign commercial services officers — in markets across the globe — so that they can begin promoting foreign direct investment into the United States as part of the new SelectUSA initiative, the first coordinated federal effort designed to attract capital from overseas to spur economic development on our shores; and
  • Supporting advanced manufacturing, a sector that’s historically been the heart of our economy and provided a ticket to the middle class.  By expanding the opportunities available to U.S. firms in overseas markets, we will continue to help manufacturing businesses here at home sell their products, strengthen their bottom lines and impact jobs.

With each and every action we take, we fully realize that our best success comes when we partner with stakeholders like the readers of International Trade Update; you are leaders from the private sector, academia and a wide-range of other fields, and have been critical to our success. 

That’s why, throughout 2012 and beyond, we look forward to working with you to help continue our nation’s economic recovery. 

That’s a New Year’s resolution we can all rally around.

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Formation of Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness

November 4, 2011

David Long is the Director of the Office of Service Industries, part of ITA’s Manufacturing and Services Unit.

It is my pleasure to announce the formation of the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness, published in the Federal Register on 3 November 2011.

The deadline for applications is 14 December 2011. Full details appear in the Federal Register notice: 76 Fed. Reg. 68,159.

As described in the notice, the Committee will advise the Secretary of Commerce on the development and administration of programs and policies to expand the competitiveness of U.S. supply chains, including programs and policies to expand U.S. exports of goods, services, and technology related to supply chain in accordance with applicable United States regulations.

In this effort we will continue to work very closely with our colleagues at the Department of Transportation and other Federal agencies, as we have over the past three years.

This advisory group is possible due to the sustained interest and willingness to participate that has been demonstrated from the beginning in May 2009 at the joint Department of Commerce – Department of Transportation national conference, “Game Changers in the Supply Chain Infrastructure: Are We Ready to Play,” held in Washington and carried on through informal regional outreach discussions on freight policy and competitiveness issues in Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, Seattle, Kansas City, and New Orleans.

I hope that you will consider applying for this advisory committee. For more information and details on how to apply, please consult the Federal Register notice.

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Civil Nuclear Trade Mission – Czech

July 19, 2010

Francisco J. Sánchez is the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade

We traveled from Poland to Prague, where the magnificence of the cobblestone streets and crumbling spires are as historic as the government tender that is currently open for bidding –  the two new nuclear power plants scheduled for building represent the largest single U.S. commercial opportunity not only in Czech, but in all of Europe.   The project is worth an estimated $27.5 billion, and will create thousands and thousands of jobs.  If Westinghouse, one of three companies in the final running along with competitors from France and Russia, wins the bid, billions of those dollars will represent new U.S. exports, and thousands of those jobs will be high-paying U.S. jobs.  We are promoting a fair and transparent procurement process, for if that happens, we are confident nobody can match the experience, expertise and technology of powerhouse Westinghouse.  This is what the National Export Initiative is all about.

After touring the actual Czech build site at Temelin, we traveled by bus through the sun-flowered rolling hills onwards to Slovakia and the charming capital of Bratislava.  One barely notices when crossing the border of these neighboring countries, and their commercial ties are deeply intertwined as well.  In fact, the largest energy project currently in the works would be constructed and operated as a joint venture – 51% owned by the Slovak government and 49% owned by the Czech Energy Works.  As we have throughout this trade mission, we enjoyed a warm welcome by our local staff as well as government counterparts, and candid discussions on opportunities and working together.  The tender here reflects the importance of financing in landing these enormous deals – as private financing must be secured for the entire cost of the project.  This is where our inter-agency efforts are critical, and our ability to provide access to capital and financing for our companies essential in enhancing our exports abroad.

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Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit

November 2, 2009
 

 

 

 

Morgan Barr is an International Economist with the Office of Trade Policy Analysis.  She has been working on the Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative for two years and started in the office as a SCEP focusing on earning her MBA and MA in international affairs from the George Washington University.

On October 8, our Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative team hosted the Sustainability and U.S. Competitiveness Summit at the Commerce Department.  The event was a complete success.  We had more than 120 representatives from private industry, industry associations, non-governmental organizations, academia and major federal agencies in attendance.  The Summit was a follow up to a similar event we held in 2007, and we wanted to report to our stakeholders on the work we’ve done since then.  We also wanted to gain input from attendees on possible areas of future work for our initiative.

Sustainability Summit Event Poster

Sustainability Summit Event Poster

The enthusiasm from the attendees was tremendous.  We had two extended coffee breaks and a lunch session where attendees could network and meet with representatives from various government agencies to learn about the programs and resources that are available to help them.

The event began with opening remarks from Secretary Gary Locke, who stressed the importance of manufacturing as a source of well-paying jobs and emphasized the role that sustainable practices can play in lowering costs and making manufacturers more competitive.  The Secretary was followed by Gary Guzy, Deputy Director and General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who discussed the plans for the development of the “green economy”.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke speaks at the Sustainability Summit

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke speaks at the Sustainability Summit. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

Then our team presented its work.  In the past two years, we’ve created an interagency group on sustainable manufacturing to coordinate action across the government, and we’ve also held a series of regional facility tours—or SMARTs—to promote the adoption of sustainable practices. Our newest deliverable is our Sustainable Business Program and Resource Clearinghouse—a searchable central database that includes numerous federal government programs and resources to support sustainable business and manufacturing practices.

We’re also working on a study being conducted in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on simplified metrics for sustainable manufacturing.  Michael Bordt of the OECD presented his work to date on the study, which will include an easy-to-use toolkit with a simplified set of metrics and guidance on how companies can use them to help make business decisions about improving their environmental performance.  You can read more about the study and our other projects on our website.

Attendees at the Sustainability Summit exchange explore the displays in the Commerce Department's lobby

Attendees at the Sustainability Summit exchange explore the displays in the Commerce Department’s lobby. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

In the afternoon, Andrew Winston, co-author of Green to Gold, and author of Green Recovery, gave an excellent keynote address on the linkages between sustainability and competitiveness.  His address really set the stage for the afternoon breakout sessions where attendees met in smaller groups to discuss the morning’s presentations, the challenges they’ve faced implementing sustainable business practices, and areas where the government can potentially aid the private sector in its endeavors. The discussion in the sessions was excellent, and we’re going to use the individual input, along with other factors, when we’re planning our future work on the initiative.

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DOC and DOT Connected to Address Supply Chain Issues

May 13, 2009

Bruce Harsh is responsible for Commerce’s Distribution and Supply Chain unit and has been with the Department about 24 years.

America’s economy depends on the health of our country’s supply chain infrastructure. Problems with the supply chain are not readily noticeable until you don’t get the part you need to keep your supply chain in operation, or the gift you were looking for at a store during the holiday season. Not only do supply chain problems make America’s producers and consumers mad, they are clearly linked to our economic recovery and long-term economic growth.

Supply chains don’t just move products and goods, they also support jobs. One recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce suggests that approximately 110 million U.S. jobs or nearly 80 percent of the entire workforce is critically dependent on our supply chain and transportation infrastructure.

This past Monday, leading supply chain stakeholders met in Washington, DC at the joint Department of Commerce-Department of Transportation conference titled, “Game Changers in the Supply Chain Infrastructure: Are We Ready to Play?” to hold a frank discussion with decision-makers on how to deal with current problems that minimize their ability get those products and services to consumers in a timely, safe, and environmentally-friendly manner and to develop a world-class network to reduce the chance of “game changers” thwarting these goals in the future.

The discussion stirred up lots of suggestions and comments. Panelists and audience participants emphasized that restoring America’s manufacturing jobs depends on not just fixing one part of the supply chain infrastructure but to look at these issues from the start at the manufacturer’s factory floor , or field, to the consumer’s house or company facility. They encouraged governmental agencies to come together to develop a holistic, comprehensive national freight policy that promotes the supply chains and assures America’s competitive advantage in the 21st century.

These suggestions were heard and many participants appreciated seeing two secretaries, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, stand together to say they were going to have their agencies work together to meet these goals. Many participants also appreciated hearing leading experts share how they would minimize those “game changers” that produce constraints and chokepoints, and offer ways for the government to encourage innovative information technologies, improve security and resilience, and do all of this in an environmentally sound manner to restore America’s world-class transportation network.

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