The Department of Commerce promotes job creation and economic growth by ensuring fair and secure trade, providing the data necessary to support commerce, and fostering innovation by setting standards and conducting foundational research and development. Through its 12 bureaus and nearly 47,000 employees located in all 50 states and more than 86 countries, the Department of Commerce works to provide U.S.-based companies and entrepreneurs invaluable tools through programs such as the Decennial Census, the National Weather Service, NOAA fisheries, and the Foreign Commercial Service. Among many other functions, the Department oversees ocean and coastal navigation, helps negotiate bilateral free and fair trade, and enforces laws that ensure a level playing field for American businesses.
The Department is comprised of 12 bureaus that work together to drive progress in five business facing key goal areas:
The underlying strength of the Department is the ability for its bureaus to work together and leverage expertise in all of these goal areas to drive economic growth. Read a summary of the strategic plan or the entire plan.
What Commerce Does:
Expand the U.S. economy through increased exports and foreign direct investment that leads to more and better American jobs.
- Open markets globally
- Increase U.S. exports
- Increase high-impact foreign direct investment
- Strengthen fair competition in international trade
Trade and investment are critical to the Nation’s prosperity. The United States is the world’s largest economy—the largest exporter and importer of goods and services and the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment. In 2014, the United States exported more than $2.3 trillion worth of goods and services. Exports fuel U.S. economic growth; support good jobs; and spread ideas, innovation, and American values.
Being the leader, however, is not enough. Too few U.S. companies export. Those that do export, export to too few markets. Of the more than 300,000 U.S. exporters, the top one percent account for approximately 80 percent of the value of U.S. merchandise exports, underscoring the tremendous opportunity for U.S. companies to export more.
Increasing trade will help the U.S. economy continue to rebalance from one mostly driven by domestic consumption to one increasingly engaged with the 96 percent of consumers who live outside U.S. borders. Encouraging global foreign direct investment will help the United States compete for the opportunities that develop as emerging markets mature. As the lead trade and investment promotion agency in the federal government, the Department’s goal is to increase the international competitiveness of U.S. businesses and make trade and investment a bigger part of the U.S. economy’s DNA.