Tuesday, April 27, 2010
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Outreach to Muslim-Majority Countries
The U.S. Department of Commerce and its International Trade Administration will be organizing or assisting at least 25 commercial trade missions to foster stronger commercial and trade ties. Commercial Service outreach events will be held in 10 countries including: Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Qatar, Libya and Turkey. In addition, trade missions are being organized for Algeria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iraq.
CLDP Entrepreneurship Building in the Arabian Peninsula
The Department of Commerce's Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) has undertaken a program to modernize commercial laws in the Arabian Peninsula in order to support entrepreneurship in the region. CLDP has advised countries in the Arabian Peninsula on drafting and enforcing important new legal structures that support entrepreneurship: commercial company, competition and contract law; corporate governance regulation; as well as insolvency and secured lending law.
CLDP's initial focus has been in Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates – countries, given their relative scarcity of petro-carbon resources, which are eager to adopt laws that will support entrepreneurship. Bahrain and Oman have referred to parliament new draft commercial companies’ laws written with CLDP assistance. These new laws simplify company organization, facilitating entrepreneurial start ups.
Also with CLDP assistance, Bahrain and Oman have adopted new Corporate Governance Codes and E-Commerce Laws. CLDP is working with Bahrain on the development of a new secured lending law that will allow enterprises to borrow on moveable property, as well as advising Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on new draft Insolvency Laws that will provide reorganization opportunities for troubled entrepreneurial enterprises.
Judicial Educations Programs
In addition, CLDP has conducted judicial education programs to prepare judges to adjudicate the types of commercial disputes that arise from increased entrepreneurship in the region. CLDP has trained judges from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen in the settlement of disputes arising from banking law, company law, contract law and insolvency law.
Country IPR Toolkits
Developed country toolkits—which are posted on embassy Web sites and on www.StopFakes.gov—contain detailed information on protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the Muslim-majority countries of Brunei, Egypt and Malaysia. The Department of Commerce is working to expand the program to include toolkits for other trading partners and could consider other Muslim-majority counties in this context.
The Department of Commerce was given $3 million by USAID, through a Memorandum of Agreement, to enhance Pakistan's economy by promoting legal and economic development and improving competitiveness and strengthening rule of law. Commerce's International Trade Administration has been granted $1.5 million to focus on investment promotion, support the SABIT Program, provide opportunities for duty-free export, support U.S.-led infrastructure projects in Pakistan, establish grants for private sector associations, and work with the Karachi financial community to build a pipeline of projects for consideration by other agencies and businesses. The Commercial Law Development Program is allotted $1.5 million to modernize Pakistan's commercial laws and regulations, and train business and legal communities.
Pakistan Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) Program
Through SABIT, select Pakistani entrepreneurs will travel to the United States at the end of May to receive training on American business practices and standards. Modeled after SABIT's successful programs in Eurasia, ITA's three-week Pakistan program is designed to recruit and train promising entrepreneurs and government officials focused on high-potential industry sectors, and to connect them with partners in the United States. The main goal is for these talented professionals to return home with the skills and knowledge necessary to affect change and make improvements within their own companies and organizations in Pakistan.
The International Trade Administration, in collaboration with USAID and the Carana Corporation, is organizing a visit for 10-13 CEOs of Palestinian information technology companies to Northern Virginia. The program includes training and business-to-business meetings, and will promote bilateral commercial ties, expand business opportunities, and support economic development in the Palestinian Territories.
Iraq and Afghanistan
The Department of Commerce is developing commercial ties, projects and training programs through the Task Force on Reconstruction and Development in Iraq and Afghanistan that facilitate establishment of markets conducive to trade, investment, and private sector development.
The Department of Commerce is supporting the recently established U.S.-Egypt Business Leaders Forum, which is the private sector-led successor to the U.S.-Egypt Business Council.