This week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews traveled to Silicon Valley to participate in two meetings of the Digital Economy Board of Advisors (DEBA). Established by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker earlier this year, the DEBA is comprised of technology industry leaders, innovators, and experts, and serves as a centralized forum to help businesses and consumers realize the potential of the digital economy to advance growth and opportunity. The Board provides advice in furtherance of increasing domestic prosperity, improving education, and facilitating participation in political and cultural life through the application and expansion of digital technologies.
On Thursday, Deputy Secretary Andrews moderated a discussion of the DEBA Working Group Coordinators’ Committee (WGCC), which included Working Group members and outside experts, representing corporations ranging from General Electric to Uber to Microsoft. Deputy Secretary Andrews expressed his interest in the WGCC’s advice on how the Department can transform to meet the demands of the 21st century economy and remain as relevant as possible to its constituents. The Deputy Secretary also received valuable information about what companies need from the Department of Commerce in today’s digital economy and how Commerce can improve its outreach to its constituents.
Today, Andrews delivered opening remarks at the second public meeting of the full DEBA, thanking members for their contributions to the Commerce Department’s successes in the digital economy space. The Deputy Secretary noted that under the Obama administration, the Department of Commerce has promoted a free and open Internet by implementing agreements such as the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, and continues working to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which limits digital protectionism in the Asia-Pacific’s dynamic markets. Additionally, through the privatization of the Domain Name System, the Commerce Department has worked to protect Internet freedom worldwide and entrust Internet governance to the people, while continuing to promote innovation and entrepreneurship at home and abroad. In closing, the Andrews charged the Board with informing and inspiring the next Administration to make the digital economy a top priority.
Following his remarks, the Deputy Secretary had the opportunity to learn about each Working Group’s progress since their first meeting in May 2016, when each was charged with a unique mandate, ranging from structuring the Department of Commerce for the 21st century economy to empowering business to innovate, compete, and scale by leveraging digital platforms. Working group members were able to deliberate with other Board members on how to think boldly and creatively about what they must do to support innovation, inclusivity, opportunity, and growth in the digital economy.
This meeting was a critical step in the lead-up to the third and final meeting of the DEBA under the Obama administration on December 15, 2016. At that time, the DEBA will present the Commerce leadership with forward-looking, actionable recommendations for policies that will help keep the United States on the cutting edge of global, digital commerce in the 21st century.