The U.S. Department of Commerce on Aug. 9 announced that it had canceled a systemwide recompetition of Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers that was to occur by year's end. In announcing the decision, Phillip J. Bond, Under Secretary of Technology, said in a statement, "Stakeholders expressed their belief that the proposed recompetition would be too disruptive and untimely . . . This is not the right time for a systemwide recompetition." The Commerce Department heard from stakeholders during a series of roundtables presented by the National Institute of Standards & Technology, which administers the MEP program. The MEP is a public-private partnership that aims to assist primarily small U.S. manufacturers improve their competitiveness. A recompetition originally had been proposed in a manufacturing report released by the Commerce Department in January.