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The Advocacy Center

Advocacy Assistance for Exporters: What You Need to Know

U.S. Government advocacy support is a key component of the President's National Export Strategy. Within this strategy, 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 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 Application Process
Advocacy Center Services
Why We Advocate
Value-added to U.S. Firms

Outside the Center's Scope of Work



The Advocacy Application Process
1) The Advocacy Center grants U.S. Government (USG) commercial advocacy assistance on a case-by-case basis in response to requests made by firms pursuing foreign government procurements and/or projects.

a. Companies seeking USG support in specific commercial competitions must submit completed advocacy questionnaires to the Advocacy Center for review.

  • The questionnaire must be signed by an officer of the filing company.
  • In cases involving joint-ventures, consortia and teaming arrangements, the documents must be cosigned by an officer of the Bidder-of-Record.
  • Lastly, the submitted advocacy questionnaire must be accompanied by a completed and signed agreement concerning bribery.

b. 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.


c. On a case-by-case basis, 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.)


Advocacy Center Services
2) 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.

a. 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).


b. Typically, the Advocacy Center, working in unison with the company, plays a prominent role in coordinating both the message and the medium.


c. Recently, the Advocacy Center has developed a new role in marshaling U.S. export credit agency financing support, where appropriate, to relevant and qualified U.S. companies. The Advocacy Center has relationships with Ex-Im Bank, the Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation that can aid U.S. competitiveness overseas. (For more information, see Coordinated ECA Support and Early Project Development.)


Why We Advocate
3) These are the principal reasons why the USG provides advocacy services to U.S. firms in foreign government project or procurement competitions.

a. USG advocacy assistance promotes U.S. exports, supports U.S. employment and increases global market share for U.S. businesses.


b. In many cases, USG advocacy counters foreign government advocacy and political pressure, thus "Leveling the Playing Field" for U.S. companies.


c. USG advocacy encourages transparency, promotes fair treatment of U.S. companies and addresses bribery and corruption in tender processes.


Value-added to US Firms
4) There are a number of services the Advocacy Center provides which offer a competitive advantage to US companies competing in foreign competitions.

a. Within the large US Government bureaucracy, the Advocacy Center centralizes commercial advocacy services in one office.


b. The Center offers an ability to mobilize resources in support of US company proposals and business opportunities.


c. The Center also offers institutionalized process to support of the US national interest, creating and retaining US jobs and expanding the US export base.


Outside the Center's Scope of Work
5) There are certain company requests that fall outside the Advocacy Center's scope of work.

a. 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.


b. The Advocacy Center's focus is on specific commercial 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.