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The Advocacy Center

Advocacy Assistance for SMEs

"We thought that [U.S. Government] advocacy was more for the corporate giants you read about in the paper. We learned first, that these services are available to small companies, and second, that they really work."

-- Quote by Jeff Tuel, Global Atmospherics, Inc.


The quotation above was first published in the February 2000 issue of ITA's monthly magazine, Export America. (Click to see the full article, "Eyes of the Storm," by Jake Bright.) Its premise expresses a common misconception too frequently held by the owners and/or officers of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United States. Contrary to that notion, the Advocacy Center actively promotes and encourages the filing of advocacy requests by the SME business community.


Specifically, the Center seeks to broaden and deepen the U.S. exporter base by marshaling USG resources on behalf of SMEs competing for commercial transactions abroad. In fact, the USG advocacy network, within which the Advocacy Center acts as the coordinating hub, assisted 28 SMEs win contracts since June of 2002. The total value of these successes amounted to $637 million. USG Advocacy is enlisted by SMEs to ensure: (a) access to foreign market opportunities, (b) transparency of procurement procedures, and (c) fairness in competitive evaluations. In FY 2004, the Advocacy Center launched a number of educational outreach initiatives geared to SMEs.

  • The Center seeks to expand its outreach campaign to SMEs in an effort to spread knowledge about—and participation in—the USG advocacy program to new-to-export and to new-to-market SME beneficiaries.
  • The Center will actively promote its SME objectives to larger corporate advocacy clients in an effort to encourage their future employment of U.S.-based SMEs as suppliers and/or subcontractors in those transactions for which they seek USG advocacy support.
  • The Center will refer SME advocacy applications to appropriate export financing agencies (e.g., Ex-Im Bank, OPIC, TDA) in an effort to leverage USG support for SME client firms. As a rule, the financing agencies welcome opportunities to assist SMEs by furnishing Letters of Interest (in the financing of projects/ventures/procurements/etc.) which can subsequently provide a competitive advantage to SMEs as they pursue commercial opportunities abroad.