Readout of Ambassador Tai’s Meeting with European Steel Association

BRUSSELS – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today met with EUROFER (European Steel Association) Director General Axel Eggert and Director for International Affairs and External Relations Karl Tachelet. 

Ambassador Tai and EUROFER representatives agreed on the importance of the steel sector to the American and European economies.

Ambassador Tai noted the productive ongoing discussions with the European Union on ways to address global steel excess capacity and consequent market distortions that pose a serious threat to EU and U.S. workers and producers. Ambassador Tai stressed the need to make rapid progress to reach a consensus to preserve our critical industries and meet the economic and environmental goals shared by the United States and European Union.

Ambassador Tai offered her belief that EUROFER can play an important role in helping the United States and European Union reach an agreement that helps steel workers and producers on both sides of the Atlantic. She also reiterated that the United States’ proposal would ensure the long-term viability of the American and European steel and aluminum industries and strengthen the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and EU.

Ambassador Tai and EUROFER representatives pledged to remain in contact as these discussions continue in order to resolve this pressing global issue.

The United States Certifies Mexico’s Shrimp Imports

The Department of State notified Congress on October 21, 2021 of the certification of Mexico under Section 609 of United States Public Law 101-162 (“Section 609”). Section 609 prohibits the import of shrimp and shrimp products harvested in ways that may adversely affect sea turtle species. This certification, allowing again for importation of wild-caught shrimp into the United States from Mexico pursuant to Section 609, is based on a determination that Mexico’s turtle excluder devices (TEDs) program is again comparable in effectiveness to the U.S. program.

The United States and Mexico have been working in close cooperation on sea turtle conservation as well as a range of bilateral fisheries and marine conservation issues.  The Government of Mexico implemented a plan of action in the past several months to strengthen sea turtle conservation in its shrimp trawl fisheries, resulting in significantly improved use of TEDs by its fishing industry, as verified by a team of representatives from the State Department and National Marine Fisheries Service.

The U.S. government is currently providing technology and capacity-building assistance to other nations to contribute to the recovery of sea turtle species and help them receive certification under Section 609. When properly designed, built, installed, used, and maintained, TEDs allow 97 percent of sea turtles to escape the shrimp net without appreciable loss of shrimp. The U.S. government also encourages legislation in other countries to prevent the importation of shrimp harvested in a manner harmful to protected sea turtles.

Gina Raimondo Meeting with with Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland Ville Skinnari

Today, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo met with Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Finland Ville Skinnari to discuss how best to utilize the goals and objectives set during the 1stU.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council ministerial to reinforce and strengthen bilateral and multilateral efforts. The Secretary also expressed appreciation on behalf of the Department of Commerce for Finland’s cooperation on efforts pertaining to important technologies, including 5G. The Secretary and Minister also discussed other topics important to the U.S.-Finland commercial relationship, including technology supply chains.

Manufacturing Continues to be Among Top Five Largest Employment Sectors

It’s no secret the manufacturing sector has a major impact on the U.S. economy, and every year Manufacturing Week offers an opportunity to recognize this sector’s significant impact on the nation. Manufacturing Week is designed to coincide with Manufacturing Day, which has been held the first Friday in October since 2011.

U.S. Census Bureau’s 10th-anniversary celebration of Manufacturing Week.

Manufacturing Week expands upon the traditional Manufacturing Day launched by the Manufacturing Institute in 2011. The Census Bureau is celebrating the 10th anniversary by providing a worth of rich content & statistics that inform businesses and policymakers.

New Data Strategy to Enhance Equitable Economic Growth, Spur Good-Paying Jobs for All Americans

The strategic leverage of data will also provide increased competitive advantage to U.S. businesses and research institution. 

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced a series of tools and initiatives to execute the Department of Commerce’s Data Strategy for fiscal years 2021-2024. With representation from every bureau, Commerce’s Data Governance Board (CDGB) developed this innovative Data Strategy to address some of our most pressing equity challenges around job growth, distribution of resources, and other measures of economic well-being.

“The 2020 Census, which was carried out accurately and dutifully in the face of unprecedented circumstances by the civil servants here in Washington and their partners across the country, showed that people of color now represent more than two-fifths of Americans and over half of the nation’s youth,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “Here at Commerce, and across the federal government, we have an obligation to create economic conditions that recognize the power of diversity and favor the inclusion of all Americans, while using data to brighten the future of our nation’s children.”

“With women, particularly women of color, earning pennies on the dollar in wages compared to white men, and the number of working minority business owners suffering due to this pandemic, Commerce data is needed now more than ever to enhance equitable economic growth and help our communities build back better,” said Secretary Raimondo.” “By leveraging Commerce data, we will spur good-paying jobs, empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow, and help all American workers and businesses to compete here at home and abroad.”

Several tools and initiatives are currently underway at the Department, relying on the exponential amount of data on the nation’s economy, population, and environment that the Department generates, collects, stores, and analyzes. Here are just a few of the exciting initiatives that will be enhanced by the new Commerce Data Strategy:

  • Making the Data Available and Accessible: Through the implementation of this strategy, the data tools within the Commerce Data Hub will enable insights to the nation’s economy and population, including demography, housing, socioeconomics, and businesses. These publicly available datasets and tools assist federal agencies and other entities in the equitable distribution of resources and identifying underserved communities to empower all Americans. The Commerce Data Hub will provide a Commerce-wide data inventory and search portal that will ultimately aggregate and promote all its data assets in one location showcasing each bureau’s specific data search capabilities
  • Driving Technological Innovation: The Opportunity Project (TOP) drives innovation by helping companies, non-profits, and universities utilize federal data to develop new technologies and innovative solutions which advance equitable economic growth. Currently, TOP has focused its efforts on challenges such as improving minority businesses’ access to capital (MBDA), tackling the climate crisis through climate-smart communities (NOAA), increasing content accessibility for multilingual communities (NYC Mayor’s Office), and others.
  • Democratizing Data: Commerce wants to empower communities to leverage data that will inform their decisions and drive lasting change. By producing a series of Data for Everyone Summits, we seek to partner with community organizations, advocacy groups, and government partners to understand the barriers to accessibility of government data and improve usability in underserved communities. Ensuring that individuals have the tools they need to effectively use government data. The Big Data Project (BDP) enables innovation in environmental services using NOAA data accessed through Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Through public-private partnerships with CSPs, Commerce aims to democratize access to NOAA data by reducing and removing obstacles to the public use of NOAA data. With increased access to key data, communities have an enhanced capacity to implement a resilience plan that allows them to withstand and recover from the impacts of a changing climate. Using a data-driven approach for climate resilience is more crucial than ever.
  • Promoting Appropriate Date Use: The Department recognize the importance of protecting privacy, respecting intellectual property, addressing cybersecurity concerns, and fostering an ethical data lifecycle that minimizes algorithmic risk of unintended bias. The Census Bureau will soon be launching The Combating Bias Toolkit, which aims to curate a collection of tools that help mitigate and correct sources of bias in federal data.

National Small Business Week Virtual Summit Highlights Resiliency and Recovery

Prominent small business investors, entrepreneurs, and mentors address nearly 50,000 attendees

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that this year’s National Small Business Week (NSBW) Virtual Summit drew more than 47,000 participants for the three-day virtual summit. Attendees heard from celebrity business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, and lead advisors from across the small business community, and connected with fellow small business owners from across the country. The event featured a focus on resilience and recovery, offering 22 educational sessions to help participants leverage SBA services and funding as they work to recover and build back better than ever.

“Our 2021 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit put a spotlight on the more than 32 million small businesses and innovative startups that are the beating heart of our nation’s economy,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “I’m proud that our dedicated SBA team was able to facilitate so many timely, thought-provoking conversations. And, I am thankful to the renowned business leaders and corporate partners who helped us deliver innovative programming to our incredible network of resource partners and customers. Throughout NSBW 2021, we have celebrated the resilience, creativity, and determination of our nation’s small businesses while connecting them with resources and tools to recover and help build our nation’s economy back better.”

DCRA Contractor Rating System Partners with BBB, Giving District Consumers More Decision-Making Tools

Washington, DC., – The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) announces a partnership with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that makes the innovative DCRA Contractor Rating Systemeven more valuable to District consumers looking to hire licensed building professionals on Sept 15.

Earlier this spring, DCRA launched the Contractor Rating System, which provides free access to an inventory of licensed contractors, architects or other building professionals assigned a rating of one to five stars based on objective data. Under this new partnership, if a building professional is accredited by BBB, the accreditation will be clearly shown in the Contractor Rating System.

“In partnering with the Better Business Bureau, we’re equipping District consumers with even more tools to make informed decisions about who they hire to work on their homes or businesses,” said DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah. “We invite our customers to inquire before they hire.”

“The BBB Accredited Business Seal stands for trust and is a guiding light that fosters an ethical marketplace for all,” said BBB serving Metro Washington DC’s President and CEO Edward Johnson. “We are pleased to partner with DCRA and the important role that they play in helping consumers.”

The Contractor Rating System is comprised of licensed building professionals who have worked on a project within the last 3 years in the District of Columbia. The rating system includes general contractors, architects, electricians, plumbers, expediters and more. Generally, a building professional’s rating represents their performance on projects over the past 3 years during building permit intake, permit plan review, and construction.

The BBB is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing marketplace trust. A BBB-accredited business has met accreditation standards that include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. The BBB assigns ratings from A+ (highest) to F (lowest) that represent the BBB’s opinion of how the business is likely to interact with its customers. The BBB rating is based on information the BBB is able to obtain about the business, including complaints received from the public. The BBB seeks and uses information directly from businesses and from public data sources.

The DCRA Contractor Rating System is the only known customer-facing contracting rating system in the country operated by a local government, and another example how DCRA is using technology to enhance the customer experience.

Gina M. Raimondo Co-chairs U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo issued the following statement regarding the first session of the relaunched U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue, which was held today at the White House.

“Today, I was honored to co-chair the first U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue that Presidents Biden and López Obrador agreed to relaunch in March 2021. I am grateful to have been joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and Ambassador Kenneth Salazar, as well as our colleagues from Mexico, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, and Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán.”

“Mexico is a critical strategic ally and partner of the United States and is a top destination for U.S. exports. As neighbors, it is imperative that we leverage our partnership to build back from the pandemic together and advance shared economic and commercial goals, such as promoting inclusive trade and investment and strengthening regional supply chains.”

“The conversation that began today is the first step towards realizing these goals. We have agreed to the four pillars that will guide our discussion: Building Back Together; Promoting Sustainable Economic and Social Development in Southern Mexico and Central America; Securing the Tools for Future Prosperity; and Investing in Our People. While there is still much to do, I look forward to working to ensure that the U.S.-Mexico economic and commercial relationship builds on its strong foundation to bring shared prosperity and security to our peoples.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Establishes National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today announced that the Commerce Department has established a high-level committee to advise the President and other federal agencies on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). Working with the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department is now seeking to recruit top-level candidates to serve on the committee.

A formal notice describing the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) and the call for nominations for the committee and its Subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence and Law Enforcement appears in the Federal Register published today.

“AI presents an enormous opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our time, strengthen our technological competitiveness, and be an engine for growth in nearly every sector of the economy,” said Secretary Raimondo. “But we must be thoughtful, creative, and wise in how we address the challenges that accompany these new technologies. That includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that President Biden’s comprehensive commitment to advancing equity and racial justice extends to our development and use of AI technology. This committee will help the federal government to do that by providing insights into a full range of issues raised by AI.”

“We have seen major advances in the design, development, and use of AI, especially in the past several years,” said Eric Lander, White House Science Advisor and OSTP Director. “We must be sure that these advances are matched by similar progress in ensuring that AI is trustworthy, and that it ensures fairness and protections for civil rights. I look forward to working with and learning from this committee.”

The National AI Initiative Act of 2020 calls for the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and other department officials, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, to establish the NAIAC. The committee is to provide recommendations on topics including the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness; progress in implementing the Initiative; the state of science around AI; issues related to AI workforce, including barriers to employment supporting opportunities for historically underrepresented populations; how to leverage initiative resources; the need to update the initiative; the balance of activities and funding across the initiative; the adequacy of the National AI R&D Strategic Plan; management, coordination, and activities of the initiative; adequacy of addressing societal issues; opportunities for international cooperation; issues related to accountability and legal rights; and how AI can enhance opportunities for diverse geographic regions.

The NAIAC will consist of expert leaders from a broad and interdisciplinary range of AI-relevant disciplines from across academia, industry, non-profits and civil society, and federal laboratories. These experts will be qualified to provide advice and information on science and technology research, development, ethics, standards, education, fairness, civil rights implications, technology transfer, commercial application, security, and economic competitiveness related to AI.

With AI already changing how society addresses economic competitiveness, national security challenges, and equitable opportunities, NIST and its researchers are dedicated to ensuring AI technologies are developed and used in a trustworthy and responsible manner that allows for accuracy, security, explainability and interpretability, reliability, privacy, safety, and the mitigation of bias. Trustworthy data, standards, and integration of machine learning and AI in applications are critical for the successful deployment of new technologies and the identification and mitigation of sources of algorithmic bias.

Nominations for the Committee and Subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence and Law Enforcement will be accepted on an ongoing basis and will be considered as vacancies arise. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will provide administrative support to the committee. Details for submitting nominations are included in the Federal Register notice.

California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kunarakis presented a Certificate of Recognition to the AICC for its participation in the CIFTIS 2021

California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis presented a Certificate of Recognition to the American International Chamber of Commerce (AICC) on September 2 and thanked the AICC for its participation in hosting the California Pavilion and Investment Trade Forum at the China International Trade in Services (CIFTIS) 2021.

“It is with great pleasure to recognize you and your leadership your role as Executive Chairman of the American International Chamber of Commerce (AICC),” Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kunarakis wrote on the Certificate of Recognition, “Thank you for representing the AICC as the host of the California Pavilion and Forum in the International Trade and Service Fair in Beijing, China.”

“I am very pleased that Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kunarakis of California today presented the Certificate of Recognition to AICC, and I thank the State of California for reaffirming the work of the AICC,” said Holmes Stoner, Chairman of the American International Chamber of Commerce, on September 2nd, “Under the current economic and trade environment between the United States and China, it is of special significance for the California government to recognize and award the work of the AICC in China. We always believe that foreign enterprises will have more development opportunities and broader development space and benefit more from cooperating with California enterprises or investing in California. For a long time, we have focused on promoting California’s cooperation with Provinces and cities in China, which has achieved sustainable and productive results and won praise and praise from our partners and member companies. We are willing to continue to strengthen interaction and provide services for Chinese enterprises and entrepreneurs, and work together for mutually beneficial development.”

“We are grateful to the State of California and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kunarakis for their support of our project,” said Jason Quin, Executive Chairman of the AICC, “CIFTIS is the largest fair of trade in service in the world. The AICC is willing to provide effective services to American businesses participating in the CIFTIS. Through the excellent platform of CIFTIS, the AICC will continue to promote the image of participating companies, enhance their brands, and promote business development. Actively provide follow-up services for Chinese enterprises and entrepreneurs to invest and do business in California after the conference, and provide practical docking of investment and trade business for our members and customers.”