U.S. Government advocacy support is a key component of the President’s National Export Initiative. As a part of this Initiative, the Advocacy Center plays a unique role among the array of U.S. Government trade promotion services. Since its creation in 1993, the Advocacy Center has helped hundreds of U.S. companies — small, medium and large enterprises — in various industry sectors win government contracts across the globe. Advocacy assistance is wide and varied but often involves companies that must communicate a message to foreign governments or government-owned corporations.
The following is a brief synopsis of the commercial and defense advocacy process and what you need to know to put U.S. Government resources and authority behind your company in foreign project or procurement competitions.
The Advocacy Center grants U.S. Government (USG) advocacy assistance on a case-by-case basis in response to requests made by firms pursuing foreign government procurements and/or projects.
WE STRONGLY URGE COMPANIES INTERESTED IN APPLYING FOR U.S. GOVERNMENT ADVOCACY SUPPORT TO SPEAK WITH AN ADVOCACY CENTER STAFF MEMBER PRIOR TO FILING AN ADVOCACY QUESTIONNAIRE. PLEASE CLICK ON “STAFF DIRECTORY” TO SEE A LIST OF ADVOCACY CENTER MANAGEMENT AND STAFF.
1. Companies seeking USG support in specific commercial and defense competitions must submit completed advocacy questionnaires to the Advocacy Center for review.
2. Together with the U.S. Embassy and relevant USG agencies, the Advocacy Center will conduct due diligence on the requesting company, bid/project and the competition.
3. On a case-by-case basis for commercial transactions, following the due diligence process, the Advocacy Center and, if necessary, the USG Advocacy Network will make a national interest determination to identify whether the project qualifies for USG support. Typically, companies must demonstrate how supporting their bid will positively benefit the U.S. economy, primarily in the form of exports of goods and services. (Yet other factors may also be taken into consideration. Please see the Advocacy Guidelines for a list of these factors.)
4. The Advocacy Center is the initial point-of-contact for companies requesting USG advocacy for sales of defense-related goods and services. After initial review and due diligence, the Advocacy Center refers defense advocacy cases to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security for interagency review and a national interest determination. Once the determination is made, the Advocacy Center will take the lead in coordinating advocacy for the company.
Once a company’s request has been qualified for USG advocacy assistance, the Advocacy Center will work with relevant agencies to devise an appropriate advocacy strategy.
1. USG advocacy ranges from U.S. Embassy and Consulate assistance to Sub-Cabinet and Cabinet messages delivered through a variety of media (e.g., letters, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings).
2. Typically, the Advocacy Center, working in unison with the company, plays a prominent role in coordinating both the message and the medium.
3. The Advocacy Center also works with Ex-Im Bank, the Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to marshal USG financial support, where appropriate, to relevant and qualified U.S. companies.
These are the principal reasons why the USG provides advocacy services to U.S. firms in foreign government project or procurement competitions.
1. USG advocacy assistance promotes U.S. exports, supports U.S. employment and increases global market share for U.S. businesses.
2. In many cases, USG advocacy counters foreign government advocacy and political pressure, thus “leveling the playing field” for U.S. companies.
3. USG advocacy encourages transparency, promotes fair treatment of U.S. companies and addresses bribery and corruption in tender processes.
There are a number of services the Advocacy Center provides which offer a competitive advantage to U.S. companies competing in foreign competitions.
1. Within the large U.S. Government bureaucracy, the Advocacy Center centralizes commercial advocacy services in one office.
2. The Center offers an ability to mobilize resources in support of U.S. company proposals and business opportunities.
3. The Center also offers institutionalized process to support of the U.S. national interest, creating and retaining US jobs and expanding the U.S. export base.
There are certain company requests that fall outside the Advocacy Center’s scope of work.
1. The Advocacy Center is focused almost exclusively on foreign business opportunities which involve foreign government decision-makers and does not typically become involved in private sector commercial transactions.
2. The Advocacy Center’s focus is on specific commercial or defense transactions, not policy advocacy. There are other offices in the International Trade Administration that handle policy-related or market access and trade compliance advocacy assistance.
Companies participating in Commerce-sponsored trade missions and events can request the attendance of Department officials at contract signings associated with these activities. To make this request, the company must complete the Trade Events Form and submit it to the Advocacy Center. This document is provided below. The completed and signed Trade Events form may be faxed back to the Advocacy Center at (202) 482-3508.
Note: When your company or any U.S. firm submits a Trade Events Form to the Advocacy Center, the information in the document is considered business confidential and will not be shared with any person or organization outside the U.S. Government unless the Advocacy Center is given permission to do so by your company.
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