Posts Tagged ‘Interagency’

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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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Civil Nuclear Trade Mission – Poland

July 19, 2010

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

I have spent the last few days in Warsaw, Poland, on the first stop of a Civil Nuclear Trade Mission.  Traveling with me are other member of the Department of Commerce, as well as team leads from the Department of State and the Department of Energy.  The impressive government team represents this Administration’s commitment not only to nuclear energy, but to working together as an inter-agency unit to fulfill the goals of the National Export Initiative.  We also have the pleasure of the company of nine of America’s top companies in the nuclear energy sector, as well as representation from our academic community.  Together we represent the leadership, skills, support, and partnership to help this region of the world meet their nuclear energy goals.  And our strong ally and friend Poland is the perfect place to start – here’s to old friendships and new partnerships!

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Talking NEI in China

June 7, 2010

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

I have just returned from a trip to China where we focused on our NEI priorities through the Strategic and Economic Dialogue and a mid-year JCCT review.  These two mechanisms are central in our efforts to encourage an open, transparent, and fair trading climate within this key market.  I also visited the World Expo in Shanghai with Secretary Clinton’s delegation, and especially enjoyed my visit to the U.S. pavilion.  The pavilion is not only a showcase of American promise, but the process that led to the pavilion’s existence is its own story of the collaboration and creativity of American companies and universities. Congratulations again to all of the American sponsors of the U.S. pavilion who made it such a great success.

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Secretary of Commerce Hosts Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue

April 30, 2010

Jennifer Wenger started working for the International Trade Administration one year ago.  She is an international trade specialist in the Market Access and Compliance unit’s Office of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue.  Hosted on April 20 by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, with keynote remarks by Haitian Minister Patrick Delatour, the event yielded an overwhelming 400 attendees who came with an interest in leveraging private sector participation to assist in Haiti’s rebuilding.   Representatives of the U.S. and Haitian business communities engaged in a lively dialogue with private sector and U.S. government panelists.  The unexpected presence of recording artist Wyclef Jean added some starpower to the program, including his “tweets” to his 1.4 million followers on Twitter.


Download full video .mp4 (88MB)

Attendees used every free moment to network.  During the Q&A, the audience members asked great questions about the meaning of the international community’s pledges and where to learn about procurement opportunities.   USAID’s Haiti Task Team Coordinator Paul Weisenfeld explained that the $1.15 billion pledge made by the U.S. Government must be approved by Congress before these monies become available to fund projects.  Other panelists pointed the participants to useful websites or provided guidance on submitting proposals. Despite the devastating losses that the people of Haiti experienced and the challenges ahead, the tone of panelists, participants and especially Minister Delatour, was hopeful.  Minister Delatour cited the Port-au-Prince Hotel Montana, which was destroyed in the earthquake, as “a symbol of the resilience” of the Haitian population as he reported that the hotel’s owners have declared their intention to rebuild.  The Minister emphasized that the goal is to not just to rebuild but to “build back Haiti better.”


Download full video .mp4 (88MB)

Secretary Locke stressed the importance of supporting Haiti as an Administration priority and addressed the private sector saying, “You will play a critical role in providing these opportunities through trade and investment that will benefit people in both Haiti and the United States.”   Participants and speakers alike agreed that the governments, NGOs and the private sector must work cooperatively to rebuild an economically sustainable Haiti.


Download full video .mp4 (88MB)

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Green Building Takes Root in Copenhagen

December 14, 2009

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

Keith Curtis is a senior Foreign Service Officer currently based in the U.S. Commercial Service’s Office of International Operations. He is the Commercial Service’s senior advisor on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The atmosphere in Copenhagen is charged with activity.  Nobody is saving on personal energy – and everyone seems to be filled with a passion to make their point and make things happen.  At the U.S. Presence Center at Bright Green, the International Trade Administration (ITA) was making its point bright and early at the 9:00 Green Building Seminar and the 10:15 Bright Green, “Solutions at Your Doorstep” panel discussion.  Bringing the momentum of the Green Build Road Show to Copenhagen, we laid out for the delegates, NGOs, and students the wide and deep variety of everything going on in the States on Green Buildings.  The audience seemed to especially like the story of the Greening of the Empire State Building as told first hand by Clay Nesler, VP of  Johnson Controls (did you know Johnson Controls produced the first commercial thermostat?).  He described how the tens of thousands of windows would be replaced and lighting and installation changed office by office in the ¼ mile high icon of the American Industrial Age so that when done, they would be using 37% less electricity.  Roger Platt, VP of the US Green Building Council talked about how Green Building was spreading around the world, and the Department of Energy talked about how it was creating the first net-zero (uses no electricity from the Grid overall) large scale commercial building for their National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, Colorado.

The Green Building panel was followed by a second discussion organized by ITA to explain the wide range of bio-fuels, energy efficient manufacturing, and renewable energy technologies that the U.S. is delivering to the world. Kirsty Mac Donald of Intel talked about the modernization of the grid and all the intelligent hardware that will go into homes and vehicles.  Did you know that every wind turbine has a half a dozen IT chips in it?  Honeywell told how their bio-fuels are now being tested in regular commercial airlines for trans-Atlantic flights.  The audience was curious and impressed, but the students, who sported T-shirts saying, “How old will you be in 2050?” added a special sense of urgency to the challenges we were all talking about, although the industry presentations pointed them to ways that U.S. technology is already creating real change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

And we heard our second Cabinet official, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speak to a full house as we looked forward to hearing our own Secretary Gary Locke speak tomorrow.  There is certainly a lot going on already at the COP15 even before the 100 Heads of State arrive.

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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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