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Commerce Department

Economics And Statistics Administration, Bureau Of Export Administration, Economic Development Administration, International Trade AdministrationMinority Business Development Agency

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 of the 13 other executive agencies of the federal government and other selected executive officials.

Although the activities of the Department of Commerce are not always prominent in the American consciousness, the department's efforts in administering economic programs have a major effect on the average citizen. Under the administration of President GEORGE H.W. BUSH, the Department of Commerce has administered a number of programs designed to enhance economic growth and to stimulate economic progress in the wake of a recession.

Minority Business Development Agency

Formerly the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, the Minority Business Development Agency was established in 1979. It helps to develop minority-owned businesses. The agency operates a network of six regional offices and four district offices that provide technical and managerial assistance to business owners and entrepreneurs.


U.S. Government Manual Web site. Available online at <www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual> (accessed November 10, 2003).

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