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United States Department of Commerce

 

The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. Among its tasks are gathering economic and demographic data for business and government decision-making, and helping to set industrial standards. This organization's main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and improve standards of living for all Americans. The Department of Commerce headquarters is the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C.
Proposals to reorganize the Department go back many decades. The Department of Commerce was one of three departments that Texas governor Rick Perry advocated eliminating during his 2012 presidential campaign, along with the Department of Education and Department of Energy. Perry's campaign cited the frequency with which agencies had historically been moved into and out of the department and its lack of a coherent focus, and advocated moving its vital programs into other departments such as the Department of the Interior, Department of Labor, and Department of the Treasury. The Economic Development Administration would be completely eliminated.
The Obama administration plan faced criticism for some of its elements. Some Congress members expressed concern that the Office of the United States Trade Representative would lose focus if it were included in a larger bureaucracy, especially given its status as an "honest broker" between other agencies, which tend to advocate for specific points of view. The overall plan has also been criticized as an attempt to create an agency similar to Japan's powerful Ministry of International Trade and Industry, which was abolished in 2001 after some of its initiatives failed and it became seen as a hindrance to growth. NOAA's climate and terrestrial operations and fisheries and endangered species programs would be expected to integrate well with agencies already in the Interior Department, such as the United States Geological Survey and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. However, environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council feared that the reorganization could distract the agency from its mission of protecting the nation's oceans and ecosystems. The plan was reiterated in the Obama administration's FY2016 budget proposal that was released in February 2015.