Department of Commerce
Investigations and Compliance Unit -
Recently established to take new and proactive measures
to ensure that our trading partners honor their
commitments; this office is staffed with experts
in intellectual property rights, investigations,
and intelligence. It works closely with United
States Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office to investigate and
resolve violations of trade agreements.
The Department of Commerce is a key member of the STOP!
(Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy) Initiative, announced
in October 2004. It was created to coordinate government-wide
activities to confront global piracy and counterfeiting.
The program seeks to:
- Keep global supply chains free of infringing goods.
- Dismantle criminal enterprises that steal America's
- Stop fakes at U.S. borders.
- Secure and enforce intellectual property rights
in international markets.
- Reach out to like-minded partners and build an
international coalition to stop piracy and counterfeiting
worldwide. For manufacturers or other parties who
have observed violations or who have other related
concerns, there is a hotline, (1-866) 999-HALT,
and a Web site, www.StopFakes.gov.
Coordinator for International Intellectual
Works with agencies across the Administration to develop
policies to address international intellectual property
violations and enforce intellectual property laws overseas.
This person heads the international work of the National
Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordination
Council (NIPLECC), coordinating and supervising international
intellectual property protection plans among other
agencies. The coordinator for IPR enforcement plays
a significant role in the implementation of the Administration's
Intellectual Property Rights Attaché
To deal specifically with intellectual property
rights abuses in China, the Department of Commerce
arranged for the assignment of Mark Cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The two
agencies have increased their intellectual property
enforcement and compliance staff by 25 percent since
Unfair Trade Practices Task Force
Also stemming from the Manufacturing Report,
the Department of Commerce in 2004 established the
Unfair Trade Practices Task Force within its Import
Administration to pursue the elimination of foreign
unfair trade practices that adversely affect U.S. commercial
interests. The task force is available to advise U.S.
manufacturers of their full rights under U.S. trade
law. Small companies may not have the resources to
hire trade lawyers and the petition process may be
difficult to understand. The task force can help in
these situations. The mission of the Import Administration
is to enforce laws and agreements to protect U.S. businesses
from unfair competition within the United States resulting
from unfair pricing by foreign companies and unfair
subsidies to foreign companies by their governments.
In March 2003, the Department of Commerce launched
the Standards Initiative, an eight-point plan that
responds to industry concerns that divergent standards,
redundant testing and compliance procedures, and
regulatory red tape are becoming one of the greatest
challenges to expanding exports. The report can
be accessed through the Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration Standards Home
Page at www.ita.doc.gov/td/standards.
The assistant secretary for manufacturing and services
has assumed responsibility for the Standards Initiative.
Services for Exporters
U.S. Commercial Service - The U.S. Commercial
Service has a network of export and industry specialists
located in 108 U.S. offices and 150 international offices
in 83 countries. The service helps a SMM to grow its
international sales in four ways:
- Market research.
- Trade events that promote products or services
to qualified buyers.
- Introduction to qualified buyers and distributors.
- Counseling through every step of the export process.
To help companies export their products and/or services,
U.S. Commercial Service of the Department of Commerce
has a very helpful website, www.export.gov, which brings
together resources form across the government to assist
American businesses in planning their international
sales strategies and succeed in today's global marketplace.
From market research and trade leads from the Department
of Commerce's Commercial Services to export finance
information from Export-Import Bank and the Small Business
Administration to agricultural export assistance from
USDA, Export.gov helps American exporters navigate
the international sales process and avoid pitfalls
such as non-payment and intellectual property. This
website serves as the U.S. government's export portal
for companies just beginning to export and those expanding
their international sales. It provides online trade
resources and access to one-on-one counseling. The
Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration
manages Export.gov as a collaborative effort with the
19 Federal Agencies that offer export assistance programs
and services. A manufacturer can also call (1-800)
International Partner Search
For an SMM that wants to find qualified international
buyers, partners or agents without traveling overseas,
U.S. Commercial Service specialists can deliver
detailed company information on up to five prescreened
international companies that have expressed an
interest in the company's products and services.
Telephone (1-800) USA-TRADE.
Customized Market Analysis (CMA)
The CMA program is a custom-tailored research service
that provides U.S. firms with specific information
on marketing and foreign representation for individual
products in particular markets. Interviews or surveys
are conducted to determine the overall marketability
of the product, key competitors, prices of comparable
products, customary distribution and promotion
practices, trade barriers, possible business partners
and applicable trade events. Telephone (1-800)
USA-TRADE or visit www.export.gov.
Gold Key Service
The Gold Key Service is a custom-tailored business
matching service offered by the Commercial Service
in key export markets around the world. It includes
orientation briefings, market research, appointments
with potential partners, interpreter services for
meetings, and assistance for development of follow-up
strategies. Telephone (1-800) USA-TRADE or visit www.export.gov.
International Company Profiles
ICPs are background reports on specific firms prepared
by commercial officers overseas. Telephone (1-800)
USA-TRADE or visit www.export.gov.
Trade Event Programs
The Commercial Service in overseas embassies and local
Export Assistance Centers in the United States
can help exporters identify trade shows that may
be appropriate for their products and take the
necessary steps to participate in them. Telephone
Export Trading Company Affairs
The Export Trading Company Affairs function, part of
the International Trade Administration, can advise
an SMM on forming a legally protected export joint
venture, understanding the antitrust implications
of such a venture, finding export partners and
trading partners, and finding an export trading
company, export management company or export intermediary.
Telephone (202) 482-5131.
Office of Small and Disadvantaged
The Department of Commerce, through its Prime
Contractor Directory, can assist small businesses with
their marketing efforts in obtaining suitable subcontracting
opportunities and presenting their capabilities to
prime contractors registered with the Department. Telephone
International Company Profiles
ICPs are background reports on specific firms
prepared by commercial officers overseas. Telephone
(1-800) USA-TRADE or visit www.export.gov.
Department of Labor Programs
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)This
legislation provides for the federal government to
spend $15 billion each year for employment and job
training activities. In a February 2005 meeting with
the Manufacturing Council Subcommittee on the U.S.
workforce, Assistant Secretary of Labor Emily DeRocco
encouraged the subcommittee to develop a dialogue on
how best to utilize these funds. Available raining
resources often go unused because state and local workforce
agencies to not know how to make use of them. There
is an opportunity for Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs)
around the country to bring manufacturers into their
membership and for manufacturers to inform WIBs of
their workforce challenges.
The WIA Act appropriate funds in 2008 as follows:
|Dislocated worker activities
|Community service employment
|Total 2008 WIA Budget
The National Association of Workforce Investment
Represents the interests of the nation's Workforce
Investment Boards (WIBs). Across the country, more
than 600 state and local WIBs are providing workforce
development leadership in their communities. The business-led
WIBs have the critical role of governance and oversight
of the federal resources that support the operations
of the national network of taxpayer-supported One-Stop
Career Centers and federal training investments. Workforce
Board membership consists of private-sector businesses
and employer representatives, working in concert with
public sector representatives to design effective workforce
development services for job seekers and employers
alike. NAWB can be reached at telephone (703) 778-7900
or visit www.nawb.org.
High Growth Job Training Initiative
The purpose of this presidential initiative, implemented
by the Department of Labor, is to grow industries
with advanced manufacturing occupations. It is
a strategic effort to prepare workers to take advantage
of new and increasing job opportunities in the
high-growth, high-demand and economically vital
sectors and industries in the U.S. economy. The
foundation of this initiative is partnerships that
include the public workforce system, business and
industry, education and training providers, and
economic development authorities. Training programs
are tailored to meet local workforce needs. Contact
Department of Labor, Employment & Training
Administration, Business Relations Group, (1-877)
The High Growth Job Training Initiative has awarded
31 grants for advanced manufacturing for a total of
$75 million. The grants ranged from lean manufacturing
to training for dislocated workers. One grant of $1,956,700
went to a Competency based Apprenticeship System for
Metal Working, which is at the hart of advanced manufacturing.
The Initiative gave 157 grants worth $145 million to
13 other sectors ranging from hospitality to healthcare
and information technology.
Community-Based Job Training Initiative
The purpose of this program is to improve the capabilities
of the U.S. workforce through community-based job
training grants, a new, employer-focused competitive
grant program for training in community and technical
colleges. Two rounds of $125 million grants were
made available in 2005. Manufacturers can work
regionally to define parameters for retraining
that can be implemented by community colleges.
Contact Department of Labor, Employment & Training
Administration, Business Relations Group, (1-877)
Advanced Manufacturing Initiative
In October 2004, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao announced
a series of investments of more than $43 million
to address the workforce needs of the advanced
manufacturing industry. The Department of Labor
has sought to understand and implement industry-identified
strategies to confront critical workforce challenges
based on input from employers, industry associations
and other experts. The department's Employment
and Training Administration is supporting comprehensive
partnerships that include employers, the public
workforce system, and other entities that have
developed innovative approaches while also helping
workers find good jobs with good wages and promising
career pathways in the advanced manufacturing industry.
This set of workforce solutions is based on defined
manufacturing industry priorities such as training
for innovation, pipeline development (too few young
people consider the possibility of manufacturing
careers), image (manufacturing confronts a negative
public image characterized by such phrases as:
moving offshore, declining, dirty, low pay, etc.),
immigration, employability/soft skills, training
program design, and matching training providers
to business needs.
At the Greater Rome, GA Chamber of Commerce event, January
18, 2007, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary, Elaine
Chao, mentioned the Workforce Innovation in Regional
Economic Development (WIRED) initiative, which "integrates
economic and workforce development activities and encourages
regional governments, employers, education providers,
foundations, venture capitalists, and others to come
together and invest in the talent that promotes job
creation." (www.dol.gov/sec/media/speeches) This
program addresses the challenges associated with building
a globally competitive and prepared workforce. The
total appropriation is $195 million for 13 regional
San Diego County is included in the California Innovation
Corridor that received First Generation grants in February
2006. First Generation WIRED Regions were awarded $15
million grants over three years to revitalize their
local economy. The California Innovation Corridor is
implementing a three-target approach for WIRED:
Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training
- Innovation Support - Sustainable Entrepreneurship
- Industrial Rejuvenation - Manufacturing Value Chain
- Competitiveness Talent Development - Creation of
Assists private industry in developing and improving apprenticeship
and other training programs designed to provide the skilled
workers needed to compete in today's global economy. Contact
Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services
Department of Labor, telephone (202) 6933812 or visit www.doleta.gov
Environmental Protection Agency Programs
Useful information resources for SMMs concerning environmental regulations
include the following:
Small Business Ombudsman
Provides an information clearinghouse and hotline to provide private
citizens, small communities, small business enterprises and trade
association information on environmental regulations. Telephone (1-800)
Small Business Environmental Home Page
An EPA-sponsored Web site to help small businesses access environmental
compliance and pollution prevention information. Visit www.smallbiz-enviroweb.org.
Suppliers Partnership for the Environment
A partnership of the EPA and NISTMEP centers that makes available environmental
management tools, best practices and lessons learned based on the
experience of OEMs and Tier I suppliers in the automotive supply
chain. Visit www.supplierspartnership.org.
Department of Energy Programs
Industrial Technologies Program
Works with U.S. industry to improve industrial energy efficiency and
environmental performance and invests in high-risk, high-value R&D
to reduce industrial energy use. Also provides information to manufacturers
on energy efficiency and renewable energy best practices through EERE
Information Center. Telephone (1-877) 337-3463 or visit www.eere.energy.gov/industry.
Small Business Administration Programs
The SBA's PRO-Net has recently been integrated with the Defense Department's
Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. This combined database
serves as an electronic gateway of procurement information for and about
small businesses that serves as a search engine for contracting officers,
a marketing tool for small firms, and an Internet-based database of information
on more than 180,000 small, disadvantaged, 8(a), and women-owned businesses.
Contact email@example.com or www.ccr.gov.
Office of Advocacy
Represents the views of small business before federal agencies
and Congress, receives criticisms of federal policies that affect small
businesses and makes proposals for minimizing the burden of regulations
on small businesses. It monitors and reports to Congress on federal agencies'
compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which requires
a regulatory flexibility analysis of the impact of proposed rules on
small entities. Contact www.sba.gov/advo/ or
telephone (202) 205-6533.
SBA Loan Programs
The SBA offers many loan programs to assist small businesses, primarily
as a guarantor of loans made by private and other financial institutions.
- Basic 7(a) Loan Guaranty - This program serves as the SBA's primary
business loan program to help qualified small businesses obtain financing
when they might not be eligible for business loans through normal
lending channels. The program is delivered through commercial banks.
- 504 Certified Development Company (CDC) Loan Program - Provides long-term,
fixed-rate financing for small businesses to acquire real estate
or machinery or equipment for expansion or modernization. Typically
a 504 project includes a loan secured from a private-sector lender
with a senior lien, a loan secured from a CDC (funded by a 100 percent
SBA-guaranteed debenture) with a junior lien covering up to 40 percent
of the total cost, with a contribution of at least 10 percent equity
from the borrower. CDCs are private, nonprofit corporations set up
to contribute to the economic development of their regions. See www.sba.gov/financing.
- Export Express - Combines the SBA's lending assistance with its
technical assistance to help small businesses that have exporting
potential but need funds to buy or produce goods or to provide services.
- Export Working Capital Program - Supports export financing for small
businesses when that financing is not otherwise available on reasonable
terms. The EWCP is a combined effort of the SBA and the Export-Import
Bank of the United States. See www.sba.gov/financing.