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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Convenes Inaugural Meeting of Interagency Task Force on Commercial Advocacy

Friday, February 21, 2014

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker convened the inaugural meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Commercial Advocacy, established by an Executive Order signed by President Obama in December 2012. The task force is responsible for coordinating federal resources to help level the playing field on behalf of U.S. businesses competing for international contracts. As a resource to help U.S. businesses sell their goods and services abroad, the Advocacy Center is a key component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI).

 Secretary Pritzker, who chairs the task force, was joined by representatives from multiple federal agencies who comprise its membership. The task force discussed advocacy wins and progress in interagency coordination from the last year, and laid out the challenges and opportunities the task force must address over the next several months.

After meeting with the task force, Secretary Pritzker met with business leaders who are current or potential Advocacy Center clients.

“The Task Force will help us uncover new ways to provide increased support for U.S. businesses trying to win government contracts across the globe,” Secretary Pritzker said. “We want to help U.S. businesses sell their goods and services to the 95 percent of worldwide consumers who live outside our borders, and build on the all-time record exports that the Commerce Department recently announced – $2.3 trillion in 2013. We know that every $1 billion in exports of U.S. goods and services supports between 4,000 and 5,000 U.S. jobs that pay 13 to 18 percent higher than the average national wage. Supporting U.S. companies in their efforts to export American-made goods and services is critical to the Obama Administration’s economic growth agenda.” 

A fact sheet on the Advocacy Center can be found below. 

The Advocacy Center, U.S. Department of Commerce

The Advocacy Center exists at the intersection between business and foreign policy, where commercial diplomacy efforts are required to help level the playing field for U.S. companies competing abroad. Established in 1993 under the Clinton Administration, the International Trade Administration’s Advocacy Center (AC) coordinates U.S. government resources on behalf of U.S. business that are bidding on specific international contracts with overseas governments. 

Companies become clients of the Advocacy Center based on how the sales of their goods and services will benefit the U.S. exports and the U.S. economy. Since its creation, the AC has helped hundreds of U.S. companies – small, medium, and large enterprises in various industry sectors – win government contracts across the globe. 

As a resource to help U.S. businesses sell their goods and services abroad, the Advocacy Center is a key component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI). The NEI is a government-wide effort to support U.S. businesses in selling their goods and services to the 95 percent of worldwide consumers who live outside America’s borders – and it is paying off. Exports now support about 10 million U.S. jobs, up 1.3 million since the NEI was launched in 2010. In 2013, U.S. exports hit an all-time record of $2.3 trillion. 

The Advocacy Center at a Glance:

·         The Advocacy Center is currently staffed by 28 regional managers and overseas staff handling nearly 800 pending cases in 127 countries.

·         There are 794 active cases that span a range of sectors. The top five include defense (182 cases); energy and power (113 cases); aerospace (76 cases); computers, IT and security (59 cases); and infrastructure (55 cases).

·         Since March 2010, the Advocacy Center’s caseload has increased by approximately 105 percent. 

Advocacy Wins:

·         Since the National Export Initiative was launched in March 2010, the Advocacy Center has been successful in 228 cases, which have a combined project value of $221.6 billion. U.S. export content for these 228 cases is valued at $163.7 billion.

·         Small-and medium-sized enterprises accounted for 21.4 percent of total advocacy wins between 2011-2013.

·         Since FY2010, 64 percent of all advocacy wins were in the following sectors: aerospace (45 wins); energy and power (36 wins); defense (32 wins); computer and IT security (21 wins); and infrastructure (21 wins).

·         The Advocacy Center has been growing its client base in what were non-traditional sectors. For example, between FY2010 and FY2013, the number of clean energy and environmental project wins increased from 1 small win to 8 sizeable wins. U.S. export content of these wins in FY2013 was $563.9 million, supporting almost 2,800 U.S. jobs, up from $4.7 million and 24 jobs in FY2010. 

Executive Order – Establishment of an Interagency Task Force on Commercial Advocacy:

·         In 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order to establish an Interagency Task Force on Commercial Advocacy, which will review and prioritize commercial advocacy cases and coordinate the activities of relevant agencies to enhance Federal support for such cases, in order to increase the success of U.S. exporters competing for foreign contracts. The Task Force is also responsible for developing strategies to raise the awareness of commercial advocacy assistance within the U.S. business community in order to increase the number of U.S. businesses utilizing commercial advocacy services.

·         The Task Force is chaired by the Secretary of Commerce and consists of senior-level officials from at least 14 other executive departments and agencies. 

Examples of Advocacy Successes

·         Aquatech International Corporation (Canonsburg, PA): The company signed a letter-of-intent with the Engineering for the Petroleum and Process Industries, an Egyptian government-owned company, on October 10, 2012 to provide a water treatment system for the client’s petrochemical plant. The system will recycle all water for reuse, thereby eliminating liquid waste entirely.  The total value of the contract is $24.5 million, with $21 million in U.S. export products and services.  

·         The Engine Alliance (Hartford, CT): The company finalized a contract on October 12, 2012 with Transaero Airlines (TSO; Russia) valued at $271 million of U.S. export content from a total contract of more than $500 million.

·         Beechcraft Defense Company (BDC, a division of Beechcraft Corporation; Wichita, KS): The company signed a final contract on December 14, 2013 with the New Zealand Ministry of Defence to provide a T-6 airplane pilot training system including aircraft; ground based flight training systems; and associated courseware and equipment.  Beechcraft believes this win will help maintain production and engineering jobs in Wichita, Kansas and with Beechcraft suppliers nationwide.

·         General Electric (GE; Fairfield, CT): The company signed a tender on December 14, 2013 to provide 52 wind turbines for a wind farm project in Bac Lieu in the Mekong delta of Vietnam. The contract is valued at $94 million with an estimated $73 million in U.S. export content.