Q:

What are the duties of the Department of Commerce?

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Quick Answer

The U.S. Department of Commerce is charged with protecting and developing the nation's economic growth. In particular, the department focuses on promoting American business interests both domestically and overseas, and on analyzing economically relevant statistics.

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Full Answer

In addition to encouraging the sale of American exports, the commerce department must also ensure the persistence of equitable trade relations favorable to the United States. Thus, the department is responsible both for enforcing international trade agreements as well as for shepherding the distribution of sensitive technologies. The department also issues patents and trademarks to domestic manufacturers, safeguards American intellectual property, and harvests demographic data that later informs policy decisions.

Because trade conditions are inextricably linked to the environment, the commerce department is highly involved in both meteorological technology and maritime studies. In particular, the department evaluates developments in forecasting science and studies concerned with global ocean health. This focus has led to the creation of a host of internal offices, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, and the National Weather Service, to name only a few.

To encourage a level playing field among different demographics, the commerce department attempts to stimulate economic growth in poorer communities, as well as those possessing minority-owned businesses.

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