Commerce Secretary Unveils 'Open for Business' Agenda

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Inaugurating the slogan “Open for Business,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on Thursday put her first major mark on her department since her June arrival by outlining a “bold new policy agenda” built around trade and investment, innovation, and new types of data for use by U.S. businesses.

The agenda reflects the department’s “role and the Obama administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation” in a competitive economy, Commerce said in a release.

“While we have more to do to put Americans back to work and lift incomes, our strong American businesses are positioned -- more than ever before -- to take the lead in the global economy,” Pritzker said in an appearance at 1776, an incubator platform in Washington that connects startups tackling challenges in education, energy, health care and government with resources. “The Commerce Department and this administration are committed to partnering with America’s private sector as you continue to lead us to full economic recovery.”

The agenda, assembled after Pritzker spent months touring the country to listen to business leaders and Commerce employees, includes a revitalized National Export Initiative, an enhanced and expanded program to attract foreign investment, a first-of-its-kind Commerce effort to ensure that skills training programs meet industry needs, and a focus on public-private partnerships that enable businesses and communities to make better use of government data, the department said.

The “Open for Business Agenda” includes a “robust environmental agenda,” and complements the administration’s broader economic blueprint, “which calls for long-term fiscal reform, rate-lowering business tax reform, pro-growth investments in infrastructure and education, and comprehensive immigration reform,” Commerce added.

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