Posts Tagged ‘DOC’

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The Road to Copenhagen

August 20, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Frank Caliva is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. He is also a former Presidential Management Fellow.

The international conversation regarding climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage, and environmental protection has taken on a heightened sense of priority lately.  These issues are on the front page of our daily newspapers, the topics du jour among academics and policymakers, and the increasing focus of global conferences and summits.  Our daily lives are starting to be impacted as well: more alternate-fueled cars on the road, more options for conserving energy and choosing the source of our electricity from our utility companies, and more ways for individuals to reduce our carbon footprints.

Making Progress

Some significant steps have also been taken by our national leaders.  Legislation has been introduced in Congress to put a cap on carbon emissions, increase funding for renewable energy, and encourage more efficient practices by U.S. companies to reduce waste.  Businesses are now more commonly implementing “green” strategies to lessen their impact on the environment.  We are taking steps in the right direction, but real change will require a coordinated effort on a global level.  To achieve this, we at ITA have been working with other federal agencies as participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations. These discussions are focused on writing a new international agreement on climate change.

In 2007, countries decided to shape an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be formally agreed to in Copenhagen in December 2009.  In the time since then, representatives from across the U.S. government have been talking with their foreign counterparts in preliminary meetings to lay the groundwork for the treaty.  Only a few months away, all eyes are now looking ahead to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December.

Providing Input

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is at the top of the conference agenda, but these negotiations will also touch on numerous other issues with significant implications for the U.S. business community—like intellectual property rights, research and development, technology sales, carbon financing, and energy efficiency.  As an analyst at ITA, it is my job to ensure U.S. industries’ voices are heard during these critical negotiations, so that a solution is found that is not only effective but also recognizes the critical importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to a successful response to climate change.

To accomplish this goal, we have scheduled meetings across the United States leading up to the Copenhagen conference, where industry leaders will have the opportunity to meet with government representatives—from ITA and other federal agencies—to learn how this new proposed agreement could impact their businesses.  These meetings will also help us prepare for the upcoming negotiations, by letting us hear the thoughts and concerns of the business community. The first of these meetings took place in Washington, DC at the Department of Commerce on July 16.

I hope to hear from many of you and would encourage your participation in upcoming events planned in Milwaukee on August 25, San Francisco on September 10, Pittsburgh on October 8, and Little Rock, with an additional option for firms nationwide to participate via webinar.

There are only a few months left before the Copenhagen conference.  This is an important opportunity to lay out a plan on climate change which will reduce carbon emissions, enhance energy security, and protect our environment, while promoting development and economic growth.

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Honoring a Man and his Legacy as a Presidential Management Fellow

July 8, 2009

David Kincaid is a first year Timothy J. Hauser Presidential Management Fellow who obtained his Masters degree from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.  In addition to his coursework in international affairs and economics, David has experience in business and non-profit program management.  During the first year of his PMF program, David has had the opportunity to work with Invest in America, the Corporate Partners Program, Advocacy Center, the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, and is currently working with the Foreign-Trade Zones Board located in Import Administration.

 Living up to expectations

Last August, when I joined ITA, I arrived on the scene bearing, in addition to the title Presidential Management Fellow or PMF, the name of a man I had never known—Timothy J. Hauser.  Many told his story, each expression unique, yet the message was the same—Tim had been a pillar of the ITA family and had left an indelible mark on the soul of this organization.  But for me, one piece of his story resonated with clarity.  As someone close to Hauser said, “Tim advocated that all ITA personnel should seek a variety of experiences in the organization.  Only in this way can they see how it all works together and get beyond the weeds.”  I took Timothy Hauser’s inspiration to heart and embarked on my journey as a PMF.

During my Masters program I learned a great deal about the work of ITA, I learned about trade law, antidumping and countervailing duties, I learned there are four business units within ITA and that Census and BEA are not part of ITA but rather are part of Commerce, I even learned that certain offices conduct trade policy analysis and others support the efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative.  But who knew there are USEACs and political appointees and taskers and that hundreds of people work to foster exports of everything from chemicals to cars and from tourism to pension funds?  There was no course on TMs and IBPs, FSNs and SCOs, or how OSP works on PIPs for MAS, CS, MAC, ODUS, OCFO, and IA through WBTs developed by folks in OCIO!  It’s true; the alphabet soup was at best daunting to learn.  But, beyond the intellectualist brain-tickling, far more valuable lessons have come of my PMF journey.

Working through others to achieve a common goal

On the first day of my new position, a respected voice said to me, “the greatest skill you can learn here at Commerce is working through others to achieve a common goal.”  And oi!, how true it is—even beyond the walls of this building—because this is, in fact, what we do here. The International Trade Administration is made up of thousands of people who work tirelessly through others to achieve a goal on behalf of the American people.  They work to ensure opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses overseas, they work to create jobs for Americans, they work to level the playing field in the global marketplace for U.S. companies, they work to foster innovative and cutting-edge strategies for American competitiveness, they work to serve the American people.  Whether it be promoting foreign direct investments that create job opportunities for American workers, or engaging corporate partners who may facilitate U.S. exports, or advocating on behalf of American companies for foreign contracts, or opening foreign markets for civil nuclear reactor builders, utilities and wastewater technology industries, or programs that reduce duties on value added imports so American manufacturers can remain competitive and keep jobs at home.  I have worked in all these areas and have met people working through others to serve the American people.

And so it is that I am now armed with many rewarding experiences, a renewed understanding of people and the inspiration of Timothy Hauser.  Having now gained a 30,000 foot view of the organization and having built an abundance of rewarding relationships, I am grateful for the opportunity to participate as a PMF and honored to be of service as part of the ITA family.

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Paris Air Show

June 19, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Daniel Harris is Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy, Paris.

If you enjoy the thrill of a heart-stopping experience, you should have been with me at the Paris Air Show this past week.  The jet fighter screamed past the spectators, then stood on its tail and then shot straight up, engines roaring as if it were a rocket rather than an airplane.  After gaining altitude, the fighter rolled over on its back in a long arc until the plane pointed straight down, accelerating rapidly towards the earth.  As my heart rate started rising, the pilot pulled the fighter onto a smooth, level course in front of the crowd, which included six United States Senators and a host of other dignitaries from around the world.

Welcome to the Paris Air Show!

A highlight for me was the opening of the U.S. Pavilion, where I had the honor to introduce several distinguished Americans, especially Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, the President’s Representative to the Paris Air Show, holder of the Congressional Medal of Honor and a much respected figure in and out of the U.S. Senate.  Other speakers included the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Michael Donley and the U.S. Chargé d’Affairs, Mark Pekala.

Commercial Service Paris also escorted the members of the U.S. Congressional delegation from the Senate Appropriations Committee to their meetings at show. The delegation was led by its Chairman, Senator Inouye, accompanied by Senator Thad Cochran (Mississippi), Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa), Senator Richard Shelby (Alabama), Senator Byron Dorgan (North Dakota) and Senator Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma). The final highlight of the day was the opening night gala Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) reception for 1100 American exhibitors and guests at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador.

The Paris Air Show, Europe’s largest aerospace exhibition, takes place every two years at the Le Bourget exposition site and airport. Over 300 U.S. exhibitors, including 162 companies and American states exhibited inside the U.S. Pavilion (organized by Kallman Worldwide) – the largest national delegation at the show.  The Commerce Department’s acting Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services, Mary Saunders, was also on site to meet with her counterparts from governments around the world who send representatives to this huge biennial event.

The activity was non-stop as business deals were discussed in the corporate “chalets” that line the flight line at the airfield, while enjoying great views of the flight demos. The CS team at the U.S. Commercial Service Paris (CS Paris) office within the U.S. Embassy Paris, together with the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), jointly support the commercial and military aspects of the show, with assistance from several other U.S. government agencies, including the FAA and NASA.

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Waste Expo Highlight the Latest Waste Management and Recyling Technologies

June 18, 2009

(This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Vidya Kori has been with the International Trade Administration for 5 years.  She currently serves as a Project Officer in the United States and Foreign Commercial Service’s International Buyer Program.

I am writing from the bustling International Business Center located at Waste Expo 2009, North America’s largest trade show serving the solid waste and recycling industries.  Here in Las Vegas Nevada, over 500 exhibitors are showcasing the latest equipment and technologies the industry has to offer.  There are also 40 conference sessions and training workshops led by industry experts on current topics such as Green Management and Technology, Recycling, Energy, and Landfill Operations.  The International Trade Administration’s (ITA) own Marc Lemmond (a trade specialist from ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, a part of the Manufacturing and Services unit) was one of the speakers at a seminar titled E-Waste:  New Laws, New Programs.  Although this seminar took place on the pre-exhibition day, well over 100 people were in attendance at this seminar, even with 3 other concurrent sessions going on!  Marc enlightened the audience on the international drivers for electronics recycling.  The seminar focused on the fact that discarded electronics should be considered a recyclable commodity, not waste – for this reason, the recycling community prefers the term “e-scrap” to e-waste.  The falling cost of electronics, transition to digital TV, and new technologies such as LED are making discarded electronics the fastest growing segment of the municipal waste stream.  U.S. and international regulations are reinforcing market opportunities for shredding, sorting, and treatment technologies for electronics recycling.  The session was very popular and well-received!

As a participant in the International Buyer Program (IBP), Waste Expo was promoted by United States and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) around the world resulting in USFCS Specialists recruiting and leading buyer delegations here to meet U.S. exhibitors from Vietnam, Romania, Japan, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon.  It’s been great to see so many international buyer delegates meeting with U.S. companies here in the International Business Center!  The show also features a U.S. Export Pavilion with representatives from within the Department of Commerce (Census and Commercial Service) and Export Import Bank.  “I’ve been to several trade shows over the past few years and there seems to be a higher percentage of U.S. manufactured goods and services in this industry than in the other shows,” stated Kelly Kemp from Export Import Bank.

It is only the first day of the 2.5 half day exhibition and so many important introductions and meetings have taken place.  I’m excited to see what the next two days have to offer and commend all the Commerce and government representatives at the show for all their hard work on making this show a great success!  For other shows participating in the IBP, you should check out www.export.gov/IBP.

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Globalization in the Midst of Recession-Prominent Business and Government Officials Headline Utah’s World Trade Week Conference

June 4, 2009

(This post was written on May 20, 2009. This post contains external links.  Please review our external linking policy.)

Dave Fiscus is the Director of the U.S. Foreign & Commercial Service‘s Utah Export Assistance Center, where he helps Utah companies compete and succeed in the international marketplace. He’s been with the International Trade Administration for ten years.

Greetings from Salt Lake City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics and one of the fastest growing export markets in the country! I’m here at Zions Bank’s 8th Annual International Trade and Business Conference. Zions Bank, a corporate partner of the U.S. Foreign & Commercial Service (CS), has assembled a great cast of speakers to address this year’s topic, “Globalization in the Midst of Recession.” Zions Bank’s President and CEO, Scott Anderson, just provided opening remarks, in which the Zions Bank-CS partnership featured prominently (a great highlight for the CS and for the corporate partnership program!).

Over 800 members of Utah’s business community turned out for this half day event of presentations from officials representing all sectors of the economy from government to manufacturing to academia.

Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department of Commerce just concluded his kick-off remarks. They were spot on with the theme of the conference and very well received by attendees. He pointed out that Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke said in his confirmation hearing that he is committed to “work every day to make the Commerce Department an engine for improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation, and creating jobs.” Furthermore, he stated that partnerships are a critical component of this goal, and the Secretary and our team intend to strengthen our relationships with business, other federal agencies, and state and local organizations to position the United States as a global leader in exports and innovation.

Rick Wade at the International Trade and Business Conference, Salt Lake City, May 20, 2009

Rick Wade, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Commerce, speaks at the Zions Bank’s 8th Annual International Trade and Business Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 20, 2009. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)

The audience also just heard that last year, exports accounted for 13 percent of U.S. economic growth and supported millions of jobs in the United States. The U.S. exported an astounding $1.84 trillion worth of goods and services. To put this in historical context, exports accounted for nearly 10 percent of our gross domestic product five years earlier and 5 percent 40 years ago.

Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., who was recently appointed as the next U.S. Ambassador to China by President Obama, just stopped by to accept Utah’s “Internationalist of the Year Award”. The Governor provided remarks, underscoring the theme of the day. A fitting send-off for a leader who made Utah’s global competitiveness a hallmark of his tenure at the helm of the state.

Well, we’re going into a break and my colleague Jeff Hamilton and I need to head over to the Commercial Service Utah table in the exhibitor information section of the conference alongside Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee partners Ex-Im Bank and SBA as well as various local trade multipliers. Russell Roberts, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are slated to round out the day’s agenda.

Best from the American West!

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Pow Wow Kicks Off in Miami

June 2, 2009

Helen Marano is the Director of the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries which serves as the National Tourism Office for the United States.  She has worked in the travel and tourism industry for 18 years.

I am writing you from Pow Wow in sunny Miami. Pow Wow is the travel and tourism industry’s premier international sales and marketing event. It’s great to be here with a strong federal presence from the Departments of State and Homeland Security, as well as our Travel & Tourism Team from the U.S. Commercial Service. Part of our mission at Pow Wow is to educate international travel leaders about new entry and exit programs and provide the latest information about U.S. travel destinations programs, and inbound visitation statistics.

International Trade Administration Travel and Tourism Team

International Trade Administration Travel and Tourism Team. Department of Commerce photo.

It’s exciting to see over 4,000 attendees here from all over the world. They’re folks from State Tourism offices, cities, attractions, hotels, travel journalists and foreign buyers of U.S. travel and tourism products and services. It is great to see commerce at work with more than 50,000 appointments between buyers and sellers taking place this week. These negotiations typically generate over $3 billion in future travel to the United States.

Today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke at Pow Wow’s closing luncheon.  He said, “I am especially pleased to note that travel and tourism is responsible for over one-fourth of all services exports for the United States. And for the 20th consecutive year, travel and tourism produced a travel trade surplus for the U.S. – a record $29.7 billion.” He went on to say, “What is impossible to count are the friendships that were formed, the perspectives that were broadened, or the discoveries that were made about a new culture and country as a result of traveling to the United States.”

Events like Pow Wow are an excellent opportunity for individual destinations like Miami to showcase their attractions and venues to international buyers. Pow Wow shows how resilient the travel and tourism industry is and what an engine it is for economic growth. Events such as Pow Wow help generate more visitors to the U.S., more dollars spent, and more jobs created.

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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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