Department of Commerce (DOC) (Federal Agency Profiles)
ESTABLISHED: February 14, 1903
ADDRESS: 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW Washington, DC 20230
PHONE: (202) 482-2000
TDD (HEARING IMPAIRED): (202) 482-4670
FAX: (202) 482-0077
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: William M. Daley
WHAT IS ITS MISSION?
The Department of Commerce's mission is to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved living standards for Americans by working in partnership with business, universities, communities, and workers. It encourages, serves, and promotes the nation's international trade and technological advancement. The department's mission statement involves three strategic themes: building for the future and promoting U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace; keeping the United States competitive by remaining at the vanguard of science and technology; and providing effective management and stewardship of our nation's resources and assets in order to ensure sustainable economic opportunities.
HOW IS IT STRUCTURED?
Although it is the smallest...
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Commerce Department (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Department of Commerce (DOC) is an agency of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH of the federal government that promotes international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement. It performs many activities related to business, trade, and technology. Its numerous divisions work to foster business growth and to create jobs; to prevent UNFAIR COMPETITION in foreign trade; to distribute economic statistics and studies for use by businesses, the government, and the general public; to support and conduct scientific, engineering, and technological research and development; and to promote foreign trade and U.S. exports. As part of its broad mission, the DOC administers the Bureau of the Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, the U.S. PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and several other major government agencies.
Originally part of the Department of Commerce and Labor, which was created in 1903, the Department of Commerce was established as a separate entity by law on March 4, 1913 (U.S.C.A. § 1501). The secretary of commerce sits on the president's cabinet along with the secretaries...
(The entire section is 1598 words.)
U.S. Department of Commerce (Encyclopedia of Small Business)
The Department of Commerce, which was established in 1903, is one of the main government agencies intended to assist businessesarge and smallnd represent their interests domestically and abroad. The agency states that its broad range of responsibilities include expanding U.S. exports, developing and promoting innovative technologies, gathering and disseminating statistical data and other important economic information, measuring economic growth, granting patents, promoting minority entrepreneurship, and providing stewardship. The department promotes these goals by encouraging job creation and economic growth through exports, free and fair trade, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, deregulation, and sustainable development.
One of the key offices within the Department of Commerce is the Office of Business Liaison. That office serves as the intermediary between the business community and the agency. Its objectives include:
- To be pro-active in its dealings with the business community and to be responsive and effective in its outreach efforts.
- To keep the current administration aware of problems and issues facing the business community.
- To keep the business community abreast of key administration decisions and policies.
- To regularly meet with members of the business community.
- To help businesses navigate their way through all the federal agencies and regulations through its Business Assistance Program. In addition to producing a wide variety of published materials, the Assistance Program also provides specialists who are available to answer specific questions on government policies, programs, and services.
Another office that is of interest to small business owners is the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Utilization. This office is responsible for ensuring that the department purchases goods and services from small businesses. It helps small businesses identify which bureaus small businesses should pursue as potential buyers, clarifies who the key individuals at that bureau are, and provides small businesses with basic information on the procurement process and helps them develop marketing strategies.
Following is a list of other key offices, departments, and programs at the Department of Commerce that are also of interest to small business owners:
- Bureau of the Censusvery 10 years, collects a wide variety of information on all people living in the United States. It makes this information publicly available, and business owners often use the information for demographic or marketing purposes.
- Economic Development Administrationesponsible for creating new jobs, retaining existing jobs, and stimulating industrial and commercial growth in economically challenged areas of the United States.
- International Trade Administrationelps U.S. businesses compete in the global market by assisting exporters, helping businesses gain equal access to foreign markets, and making it easier to compete against unfairly traded imports. Includes separate units for trade development and import administration.
- Minority Business Development Agencyevoted to fostering the creation, growth, and expansion of minority businesses in the United States.
- Office of Consumer Affairsxists to bridge the gap between businesses and consumers, to help businesses improve the quality of the services they offer consumers, to educate consumers, and to speak for the consumer in regards to each administration's economic policy development. The Office also works with American businesses to help them become more competitive in the global marketplace.
- Patent and Trademark Officerotects innovation in the marketplace by providing inventors and authors with exclusive rights to their creations.
- National Institute of Standards and Technologyromotes economic growth by working with businesses to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards. Of growing interest to U.S. businesses because of the growing influence of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and international emphasis on quality standards.
- National Trade Data Bankrovides the public with access, including electronic access, to export and international economic information.
- Trade Compliance Centeronitors foreign compliance with trade agreements and provides businesses with information about their rights and obligations under existing trade agreements with other nations.
Extensive information on the Department and its various bureaus and programs is available on the World Wide Web at www.doc.gov.
U.S. Department of Commerce Handbook. USA International Business Publications, n.a.
U.S. Dept. of Commerce (Encyclopedia of Business)
The ideological underpinnings of the U.S. Department of Commerce lay in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the purpose of the Constitution is in part to "promote the general welfare" of this "more Perfect Union." The Department of Commerce (DoC) has thus viewed as its mission the promotion of the general welfare of the United States and its citizens. Since its founding in 1913 the DoC has sought to achieve this goal through a plethora of seemingly disparate activitieshough all ultimately aimed at supporting commerce and thus the general welfare of America. No more succinct description of these multitudinous activities exists than the one found in the U.S. Government Manual: "The Department of Commerce encourages, serves, and promotes the Nation's international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement. The Department provides a wide variety of programs through the competitive free enterprise system. It offers assistance and information to increase America's competitiveness in the world economy; administers programs to prevent unfair foreign trade competition; provides social and economic statistics and analyses for business and government planners; provides research and support for increased use of scientific, engineering, and technological development; works to improve our understanding and benefits of the Earth's physical environment and oceanic resources; grants patents and registers trademarks; develops policies and conducts research on telecommunications; provides assistance to promote domestic economic development; and assists in the growth of minority businesses."
Even before the Constitution was adopted in 1787 there had been various efforts to bring together government and commercial interests for their mutual benefit. One such attempt was the Mount Vernon conference of 1785, which was a 13-point agreement between Virginia and Maryland that dealt with commerce on the shared waterways of the Potomac River. As the United States grew and prospered, both politically and commercially, so did the role of government expand. In 1798 the Navy Department was created; in 1829 the postmaster general joined the cabinet under President Andrew Jackson; in 1849 the Department of the Interior was established, as was the Department of Justice in 1870. In 1888 the Bureau of Labor became a separate department and the Department of Agriculture came into being in 1889. As the government continued to expand, so did pressure for it to establish some sort of "Department of Commerce and Industry." This pressure gained new impetus in the aftermath of the economic Panic of 1893 and the then newly formed National Association of Manufacturers.
Finally in 1903 Congress passed legislation creating the Department of Commerce and Labor and the bill was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt. In the process it downgraded the previously formed Department of Labor to the Bureau of Labor. The new department was initially responsible for ten areas of activity ranging from the Bureau of Census and Coast and Geodetic Survey to the Steamboat Inspection Service and Bureau of Standards. As the U.S. economy continued to expand, labor began pressuring the government for a return of its own department, but this time with cabinet status. On William Taft's last day as president, March 4, 1913, he signed legislation giving labor cabinet status and changing the Department of Labor and Commerce to the Department of Commerce. The following day, March 5, newly elected President Woodrow Wilson appointed William C. Redfield (1858-1932) as the first secretary of commerce. The new secretary oversaw the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Steamboat Inspection Service, and the Bureaus of Corporations, Census, Lighthouses, Standards, Navigation, Fisheries, and Foreign and Domestic Commerce. By 1998 the DoC had grown to be one of the government's largest and most diverse cabinet departments, with 33,000 employees and a $4.9 billion budget.
The secretary of commerce is a cabinet position and oversees all the functions and authorities assigned to the DoC. Offices under the secretary include the Business Liaison Office, the Consumer Affairs Office, and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. The latter functions as an advocate for guaranteeing that small businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities receive their maximum fair share of DoC contracts and subcontracts. The undersecretary for economic affairs advises the secretary and other government agencies and officials on microeconomic and macroeconomic trends. The undersecretary is also the administrator of the Economics and Statistics Administration and in that role supervises the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The Bureau of the Census was established as a permanent office in 1902 to conduct a population census every ten years, a census of state and local governments and various commercial activities every five years, as well as monthly, quarterly, and annual surveys on a wide variety of subjects and activities. The Bureau of Economic Analysis is known as the "nation's economic accountant." The bureau attempts, through the integration and interpretation of economic data, to compile a comprehensive picture of the U.S. economy. The Bureau of Export Administration promotes and controls the export of U.S. goods and the Economic Development Administration targets federal resources to economically distressed areas and local areas in need of economic development.
The largest bureau within the DoC is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The mission of NOAA is to provide the DoC with an overall assessment of those environmental issues and environmental phenomena that affect the country and its economy. This is accomplished through the National Weather Service; the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; the National Marine Fisheries Service; the National Ocean Service; the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; and the Office of NOAA Corps Operations. The latter is responsible for maintaining NOAA's fleet of ships and planes used in fulfillment of its mission.
Other DoC agencies having self-describing titles include the International Trade Administration, the Minority Business Development Agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Patent and Trademark Office.
The Office of Technology Policy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Technical Information Service fall under the purview of the DoC's Technology Administration.
Greenberger, Robert S. "Commerce Department Admits It Erred in Matter of Hughes Report to China." Wall Street Journal, 9 July 1998, B7.
. "U.S. Faces Probe of Role in Aiding China in Analyzing 1995 Rocket-Launch Crash." Wall Street Journal, 24 June 1998, A8.
Magnusson, Paul. "Commerce: Keep the Business, Lose the Sleaze." Business Week, 10 February 1997, 38.
Miller, William H. "Commerce Back on Track." Industry Week, 20 July 1998,46 + .
"The New Daley Machine." Economist, I February 1997, 34. U.S. Department of Commerce. From Lighthouse to Laserbeams: A History of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of the Secretary, 1995.
. "U.S. Department of Commerce." Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce, 1998. Available from www.doc.gov.
U.S. Government Manual. Washington: GPO, 1998.