Small and expanding “export-ready” businesses are categorized as either “new-to-export” or “new-to-market”. The benefit of a business being in existence for a year or more expands their ability to utilize public programs and have had time to establish ample credit.

Here we focus attention primarily on helping export-ready businesses enter foreign markets and make sales. To be considered export-ready, you must have (a) a product that has been successfully sold in the domestic market; (b) have an international marketing plan with defined goals and strategies; and (c) have corporate management committed to developing export markets and willing and able to dedicate staff, time, and resources to the process.

Participate in Export & Import Training

Sign-up for export and import training through your local U.S. Export Assistance Center, Small Business Development Center and/or International Trade Center. Enroll in your District Export Council’s (DEC) Export University training for in-depth understanding.

Develop Your Export Growth Plan

It all begins with a plan–develop yours today! The Small Business Administration has the Export Business Planner which is a very helpful tool to help you get started. Manufacturers are eligible to enroll in ExportTech, a corporate management program that will develop an export growth plan while participating in a 24-hour training program that brings export-experts to you. The Export Champions program works with business students at both USC Marshall School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Business where business teams will conduct primary market research in-country to develop your strategic business plan.

Take Advantage of Business Counseling Services (Case Management)

Federal and state programs provide confidential one-on-one business consulting to assist with international trade development and market expansion. California-based entrepreneurs and businesses that are export capable but not yet “export-ready” may receive support from the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), California Centers for International Trade Development (CITD), and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC)–a Manufacturing Extension Partner for Southern California. Export-ready firms with U.S. products or services are eligible for assistance from the District Export Councils (DEC), the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service Export Assistance Centers (for export promotion) and the Bureau of Industry and Security (for export regulations). Businesses interested in learning about U.S. export finance programs can also consult with the Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. All of the agencies and offices listed have a local or district office in the Los Angeles region.

Please note that while international trade counseling services are available at no cost to eligible businesses, appointments are often required in advance. Additionally, client in-take forms and business assessments may be required to satisfy public funding mandates. For example, SBDCs are obliged to account for the clients they serve, the services they provide, and their client outcomes resulting from their assistance. Accordingly, while the trade specialists and business advisors are happy to respond to questions at conferences or provide limited advice by phone, they respectfully require all clients seeking one-on-one appointments with counseling staff to comply with their office protocol.

Participate in International Trade Programs

There are a variety of trade-training and business-matching programs available locally for all levels of international trade expertise. Some programs are industry and/or market specific while others are more horizontal and available to all exporters; review the available options to see what best addresses your needs and interests.

International Marketing and Export Promotion

The U.S. Commercial Services provides a variety of international marketing and export promotion assistance. Services include international partner searches, business matching, international credit and due diligence reports, trade missions and trade dhows, and customize market intelligence reports to support U.S. exports.

Conversely, if you are exporting products that do not meet the content requirements (51 percent or more) to qualify for federal U.S. assistance, you may be eligible for services available through the foreign government in which goods you plan to promote. Most every nation has an interest in growing their economy through exports and as such, there is a commercial section dedicated to working towards expanding export opportunities. Contact the trade commissioner of the country of interest to learn about available programs and services.

Export Legal Assistance

The Export Legal Assistance Network (ELAN) was established by the Federal Bar Association with assistance from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s International Trade Program. Lawyers from the Federal Bar Association links volunteers to provide an initial legal consultation free of charge to companies just beginning to export. Under ELAN, knowledgeable lawyers help new to export companies learn the legal aspects of international trade. ELAN has regional coordinators throughout the United States, each with three or more attorneys on tap.

Global Trade Finance

Access to capital is a high priority within global commerce. Lower costs of capital enable U.S. exporters to be more competitive and offering payment terms encourage sales.

Free Trade Agreements

ITA’s FTA Tariff Tool combines tariff and trade data into a simple and easy-to-search public interface. Using the Tool, users can see how U.S. and FTA partner tariffs on individual products—searchable by keyword or tariff code—are treated under an agreement. Additionally, U.S. importers and exporters can see the current tariff and future tariffs applied to their products, as well as the date on which those products become duty-free. Finally, by combining sector and product groups, trade data, and the tariff elimination schedules, users can also analyze how various key sectors are treated under recently concluded FTAs.

Regional trade agreements (RTAs) have become increasingly prevalent since the early 1990s. As of 31 January 2014, some 583 notifications of RTAs (counting goods, services and accessions separately) had been received by the GATT/WTO. Of these, 377 were in force. What all RTAs in the WTO have in common is that they are reciprocal trade agreements between two or more partners. Information on RTAs notified to the WTO is available in the RTA Database.

Preferential trade arrangements (PTAs) are unilateral trade preferences. This database contains information on the preferential trade arrangements (PTAs) that are being implemented by WTO Members. The database was established as an outcome of the decision establishing the Transparency Mechanism for PTAs. In the context of this decision, PTAs are understood to mean non-reciprocal preferential schemes. They are distinct from regional trade agreements (RTAs), which are covered by the Transparency Mechanism for RTAs.

Advocate for Free & Fair Trade

Become an advocate for free and fair trade by joining the California Chamber of Commerce’s (CalChamber) Coalition for Free Trade. This coalition is a broad-based group of companies and business organizations working to secure a national free trade agenda. In joining the coalition, you will be kept apprised of international activities and your attention will be brought towards ways that you can be supportive of the free trade agenda.

U.S. Government International Business and Development Entities

U.S. Department of State

The U.S. State Department is the primary voice of the United States around the world. U.S. Ambassadors urge business friendly economic reforms, advocate for US businesses, and highlight the critical role of entrepreneurship in development. The State Department fights for a level playing field, holds countries to their international trade commitments, and helps to stitch together the global networks of law, telecommunications, and transportation that make business possible. The U.S. Department of State is tasked with protecting and assisting U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad; assisting U.S. businesses in the international marketplace; coordinating and providing support for international activities of other U.S. agencies (local, state, or federal government), official visits overseas and at home, and other diplomatic efforts; and keeping the public informed about U.S. foreign policy and relations with other countries and providing feedback from the public to administration officials. The U.S. maintains diplomatic relations with about 180 countries and also maintains relations with many international organizations, adding up to a total of more than 250 posts around the world.

Commercial Work Agencies: U.S. Embassies, Consulates, Diplomatic Missions, and Foreign Policy Development.

Contact: For more information call 202-647-4000 or visit the U.S. Department of State website at

Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs

The Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs integrates high-level economic expertise in areas such as international trade and investment policy, finance, telecommunications and information technology, energy and sanctions, international transportation issues, agriculture, and intellectual property rights with up-to-date information about economic and other developments around the world to advance U.S. interests. The Office of Commercial and Business Affairs, which is part of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, works directly with U.S. business representatives to help them tap into the worldwide resources of the State Department. It also champions U.S. business interests overseas with outreach, advocacy, troubleshooting, and market access support and engages business leaders on strategic international issues that affect them.

Key Products and Services: Agencies, commercial advocacy, business facilitation, business outreach events

Contact: Visit the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ home page at

Office of Commercial and Business Affairs

The Office of Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA), plays a major role in coordinating trade and investment matters in support of U.S. firms doing business overseas. CBA can help answer your questions and provide information on important issues such as corruption and bribery in overseas markets, U.S. export controls on sensitive equipment and technologies, and business-related visas for employees, partners and clients of U.S. firms. CBA also coordinates State Department advocacy on behalf of American businesses and can provide assistance in opening markets, leveling the playing field, protecting intellectual property and resolving trade and investment disputes. CBA and the Department of State work with our U.S Government trade promotion partners and our U.S. embassies around the world to support American businesses overseas by providing commercial information and identifying market opportunities for American firms, advocating on their behalf, and encouraging corporate responsibility. U.S. Embassy officers are the eyes, ears, and in-country advocates for U.S. business interests throughout the world.

Key Products and Services: Facilitating Business Travel to the U.S., China Business Information Center (ChinaBIC), Middle East and North Africa Business Information Center (MENABIC), Middle East Initiatives and Activities Related to Trade and Investment, U.S. Government Iraq Reconstruction: Information on Contracts, U.S.-Mexico Good Partner Program, State Department Authentication and Verification Services

Contact: You can call the Office of Commercial and Business Affairs at 202-647-1625, or visit the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ home page at

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is responsible for developing and coordinating U.S. international trade, and overseeing trade negotiations with other countries. The USTR serves as the president’s principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on trade issues. Staff members at the USTR can provide information to exporters confronted with problems involving the implementation of international trade agreements. Offices are organized according to sectoral, functional, and geographic responsibilities.

Key Products and Services: Special 301, FTA Negotiations, TIFAs, BITs

Contact: For more information, contact the following USTR Offices: Agricultural Affairs, 202-395-6127; Office of African Affairs, 202-395-9514; Services, Investment, and Intellectual Property Rights, 202- 395-4510; Office of Textiles, 202-395-3026; and the Office of Industry, 202-395-5656. The home page is

U.S. Department of the Treasury

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of International Affairs supports economic prosperity at home by encouraging financial stability and sound economic policies abroad. At the international financial institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and the regional development banks, the U.S. has been a leader in promoting private sector development as the key to long-term growth and poverty alleviation. Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance advises governments in areas such as financial market supervision, debt market development, and fiscal management.


U.S. Department of Commerce

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) promotes the business interests of the United States. ITA units include (1) trade specialists in 108 domestic Export Assistance Centers and 150 overseas offices, (2) industry experts and market and economic analysts, (3) market access experts, and (4) import policy and trade compliance analysts who enforce trade laws and agreements that provide remedies to domestic industries injured by unfair import competition. These ITA units perform analyses, promote products, and offer services for the U.S. exporting community, including export promotion, counseling, and information programs listed elsewhere in this booklet. The International Trade Administration strengthens the competitiveness of U.S. industry, promotes trade and investment, and ensures fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements.

Export Promotion Agencies: International Trade Administration, U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), Advocacy Center, Manufacturing and Services (MAS), Bureau of Industry and Security, Market Access and Compliance (MAC), Trade Compliance Center, Trade Information Center, and National Institute of Standards and Technology, Patent and Trademark Office, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Economic Development Administration

Contact: For more information cal 202-482-2000 or visit the DOC homepage at

U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service

The U.S. Foreign & Commercial Service (USFCS), a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, helps U.S. companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, increase their international market share and sales. Through its global network of more than 1,700 trade specialists located in 108 domestic offices and 150 posts in 80 countries, the USFCS works one-on-one with companies through every step of the exporting process— helping them leverage worldclass market research, promote their products and services in target markets, meet qualified international buyers and distributors, and overcome challenges and barriers they may encounter while doing business in international markets.

Key products and services: International Partner Search, Gold Key Service, Platinum Key Service, Market Research, Trade Leads, Trade Information Center, BISNIS, Country Commercial Guides, International Buyer Program, Trade Fairs and Exhibitions, Trade Missions, U.S. Export Assistance Center Network.

Contact: For more information about the CS and its programs, visit, or— to speak with a USFCS trade specialist— call 800-USA-TRAD(E) (800-872-8723).

Advocacy Center

The Advocacy Center (AC), working in unison with the company, plays a prominent role in coordinating both the message and the medium. Recently, the AC has developed a new role in marshaling U.S. export credit agency financing support, where appropriate, to relevant and qualified U.S. companies. The AC has relationships with Ex-Im Bank, the Trade and Development Agency and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation that can aid U.S. competitiveness overseas. Once a company’s request has been qualified for USG advocacy assistance through the submission and approval of the Advocacy Questionnaire, the AC will work with relevant agencies to devise an appropriate advocacy strategy. 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). Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) assist in financing social and economic infrastructure— as well as privatization— projects in developing countries. The U.S. liaison officers in each of these institutions are dedicated to the identification of these projects at the earliest possible stage. They provide in-depth counseling to U.S. firms on these project and procurement opportunities and advocate on behalf of U.S. commercial interests. The term MDBs typically refers to the World Bank Group and four Regional Development Banks: The African Development Bank, The Asian Development Bank, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and The Inter-American Development Bank Group. The AC is tasked with managing the Department of Commerce representatives to the MDBs. These representatives are responsible for protecting and promoting American commercial interests at the MDBs, which altogether finance development projects worth billions of dollars throughout the world. With these representatives reporting to the Center, the USG hopes to markedly increase the proportion of MDB tenders won by American firms.

Key Products and Services: Advocacy for U.S. companies on foreign government procurements, Early Project Development, Coordinated ECA Support, New PEFCO Relationship, Small Business Outreach

Contact: For more information, call Advocacy and Multilateral Development Bank Center at 202-482-3896, visit, or call the CS at 800-USA-TRAD(E) (800-872-8723).

Manufacturing and Services

Manufacturing and Services (MAS) industry and international trade specialists work directly with U.S. firms and industry associations to identify overseas trade opportunities and obstacles by product or service, industry sector, and market. MAS analysts also participate in trade policy development and negotiations and advocate on behalf of U.S. companies to help them win foreign contracts. MAS staff members also develop export marketing programs and obtain industry advice on trade matters. They organize executive trade missions, trade fairs, product literature centers, reverse trade missions, marketing seminars, and business counseling. MAS works with other U.S. Government agencies in developing a public policy environment that advances U.S. competitiveness at home and abroad. The Office of Manufacturing and the Office of Services consists of industry analysts covering virtually all industry sectors of the economy. MAS also oversees key Department of Commerce Initiatives, including the Manufacturing Initiative and the Standards Initiative. Through the Manufacturing Initiative, MAS is addressing the challenges facing U.S. manufacturers. Under the Standards Initiative, MAS coordinates trade-related standards activities across ITA, the Department, and other U.S. Government agencies and seeks to remove standards-related trade barriers.

Key Products and Services: Industry Analysis, Industry and Trade Data Resources, Market Development Cooperator Program, and Safe Harbor.

Contact: For more information about MAS and its programs, visit, or email . Trade statistics are available by industry on the home page of Manufacturing and Services’ Office of Trade and Industry Information, at For MAS industry and international trade officers, call 800-USA-TRAD(E) (800-872-8723). To access industry office Web sites, choose “Manufacturing and Services” on the ITA home page at

Bureau of Industry and Security

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) provides assistance on export licensing requirements through its Office of Exporter Services (OEXS). OEXS interprets the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and provides detailed and up-to-date information on the status of pending license applications. OEXS also offers guidance on a broad range of export issues, including licensing requirements, license-processing time frames, documentation required for export transactions, and country-specific policies. In addition, OEXS counselors can serve as intermediaries and arrange meetings between exporters and BIS licensing officials. OEXS also authorizes emergency processing on export license applications for cases that meet specific and limited criteria. BIS’s Internet -based Simplified Network Application Process (SNAP) provides a secure environment for the electronic submission of license applications, commodity classification requests, and high-performance computer notices. Once OEXS has received and processed a request to use SNAP, exporters can access the system for tracking purposes within 24 hours, and notification of final action is sent electronically.

Key Products and Services: Export Compliance and Enforcement, Office of Antiboycott Compliance (OAC), Simplified Network Application Process, Office of Strategic Industry and Economic Security (SIES), Office of National Security and Technology Transfer Controls (NSTTC), and Nonproliferation and Treaty Compliance (NPTC), Implements the Export Administration Act (EAA), Commerce Control List (CCL), Commerce Country Chart, E-mail Notification Service, On-Line Export Administration Regulations, Counseling, Export Control Seminars

Contact: For more information, call the BIS Office of Outreach and Educational Services at 202-482-4811. To speak to an export seminar staff member, call 202-482-6031. Call the BIS Western Regional Office at 949-660-0144. Call the BIS Northern California Office at 408-998-7402. Contact Export Enforcement Offices Nationwide (800) 424-2980. The home page for BIS is

Market Access and Compliance

The Market Access Compliance (MAC) unit works to open foreign markets for American goods and services, country by country and region by region, by working with U.S. exporters to overcome foreign trade barriers and develop strategies to level the playing field. MAC specialists maintain in-depth knowledge of the trade policies and practices of our trading partners. Working hand-in-hand with U.S. businesses, trade associations, and other U.S. government offices, MAC country and regional experts develop information needed to conduct trade negotiations, monitor foreign country compliance with trade agreements, and ensure that U.S. firms know how to use market opening agreements.

Key Products and Services: TCC, IPR Office, AMBIT (Program for Northern Ireland and Border Counties), E-Business Fellowship Program, Special American Business Training Programs Internship (SABIT), Good Governance Program, Country Teams and Agreement Specialists.

Contact: For appropriate contacts in MAC offices, call 800-USA-TRAD(E) (800-872-8723), or visit the home page at

Trade Compliance Center

The Trade Compliance Center (TCC) ensures vigorous enforcement of existing U.S. international trade agreements. The TCC is a one-stop shop for U.S. businesses and industries concerned with foreign compliance with trade obligations, standards of behavior, or related problems with exporting. The TCC monitors, investigates, and evaluates foreign compliance with multilateral and bilateral trade agreements.The TCC has the U.S. government’s only comprehensive, free, and searchable Internet database of trade agreements and market-specific export information. This website assists new and experienced exporters in understanding their rights and their trading partners’ obligations, as found in more than 300 trade agreements (including the World Trade Organization agreements and NAFTA). The website also provides direct access to the TCC through its “trade complaint hotline.” One e -mail or fax to the TCC connects you to U.S. government trade policy assistance in resolving market access and trade agreement– related difficulties.

Key Products and Services: Advocacy in trade agreement compliance violation cases, Trade and Related Agreements (TARA) database, Exporter’s Guides, and Country Market Research.

Contact: To contact the Trade Compliance Center, call 202-482-1191. For more information, visit or send an email to

Trade Information Center

The Trade Information Center (TIC), a U.S. Commercial Service resource, is the first stop for companies seeking export assistance from the federal government. CS trade specialists working in the TIC

  • Advise U.S. firms on all government export programs
  • Guide businesses through the export process
  • Provide country and regional business counseling on standards and trade regulations, distribution channels, opportunities and best prospects for U.S. companies, tariffs and border taxes, customs procedures, and common commercial difficulties
  • Direct businesses to market research and trade leads
  • Assist businesses with the North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin and with other free trade agreements
  • Provide information on overseas and domestic trade events and activities
  • Refer businesses to state and local trade organizations that provide additional assistance 

Key Products and Services: Tariff and Fee Information, Email Counseling, HS/Schedule B Information, Free Trade Agreements, CE Mark, Country Information, NAFTA Certificate of Origin Interactive Tool

Contact: For more information, visit . To contact a CS trade specialist, call 800-USATRAD(E) (800-872-8723), or e-mail

U.S. Export Assistance Center Network

The U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the Export– Import Bank (Ex– Im Bank), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have formed a nationwide network of U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs). USEACs are located in more than 100 cities throughout the United States and serve as one-stop shops that provide small and medium-sized businesses with hands-on export marketing and trade finance support. USEACs work closely with federal, state, local, public, and private organizations to provide unparalleled export assistance to American businesses trying to compete in the global marketplace. USEAC trade specialists provide global business solutions by (1) identifying the best markets for their clients’ products; (2) developing effective market-entry strategies based on information generated from commercial offices; (3) facilitating the implementation of these strategies by advising clients on distribution channels, key factors to consider in pricing, and relevant trade shows and missions; and (4) providing assistance in obtaining trade finance available through federal government programs, as well as access to state, local, public, and private-sector entities. Many USEAC offices are co-located with other federal, state, local, public, and private sector entities— making it easy for U.S. companies to find the help they need.

Key Products and Services: Market Research, Trade Events, Counseling and Advice, International Contacts and Advocacy Services.

Contact: For the address and phone number of the USEAC nearest you, call 800-USA-TRAD(E) (800-872-8723), or visit and

National Institute of Standards and Technology

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST carries out its mission in four cooperative programs: (1) the NIST Laboratories, conducting research that advances the nation’s technology infrastructure and is needed by U.S. industry to continually improve products and services; (2) the Baldrige National Quality Program, which promotes performance excellence among U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, and health care providers; conducts outreach programs and manages the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes performance excellence and quality achievement; (3) the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers; and (4) the Advanced Technology Program, which accelerates the development of innovative technologies for broad national benefit by co-funding R&D partnerships with the private sector.

Key Products and Services: Assistance to small manufacturers, Calibrations, Computer Security Resource Center, Databases, Laboratory accreditation, Measurement & standards research, NIST Information Quality Standards, NIST Research Library, Publications, Performance excellence guidelines, R&D funding, Software, Standard Reference Materials, Standards and Weights and Measures.

Contact: For more information, call the National Center for Standards and Certification Information at 301-975-4040, e-mail, or visit

Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade provides export financing information and technical assistance to help small businesses take advantage of export markets. SBA finances the short-term and cyclical working-capital needs of small businesses and administers business loan programs to help qualified small businesses obtain financing. The financing programs and appropriate contacts listed below can help exporters.

Key Products and Services: Business Loan Guarantee Program, SBA Export Finance, Disaster Assistance, Training, Counseling and Assistance, Small Business Development Centers

Contact: For more information call 1-800-U-ASK-SBA (1-800-827-5722), email, or visit the SBA homepage at

Export-Import Bank of the United States

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States. Ex-Im Bank’s mission is to assist in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with private sector lenders but provides export financing products that fill gaps in trade financing. Ex-Im assumes credit and country risks that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept. Ex– Im Bank provides a variety of export finance assistance, including export credit insurance, pre-export financing through working capital guaranteed loans to exporters, and medium- and long-term loans and guarantees to overseas buyers. Ex-Im Bank’s insurance covers the risk of buyer nonpayment for commercial risks (e.g., bankruptcy) and certain political risks (e.g., war or the inconvertibility of currency). This product can replace cash-in-advance, letters of credit, and other documentary sales. By limiting risk, exporters can sell to more international buyers and compete vigorously in international markets. Ex-Im Bank’s working capital financing enables U.S. exporters to obtain loans that facilitate the export of goods or services.

Key Products and Services: Insurance, Working Capital Guarantee Program, Export Credit Insurance, Direct Loans and Guarantees

Contact: For information on all Ex– Im Bank programs, call the export financing hotline at 800-565-EXIM (800-565-3946), or, for Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia, 202-565-3946. Send emails to The home page is

U.S. Trade and Development Agency

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) helps developing and middle-income countries establish enabling environments for trade and investment. USTDA supports project-specific early investment analyses, such as feasibility studies that lead to private sector investment in core infrastructure assets. These studies evaluate the technical, financial, environmental, legal, and other critical aspects of infrastructure development projects that are of interest to potential lenders and investors. Host-country project sponsors select the U.S. companies, normally through open competitions, that perform USTDA-funded feasibility studies. USTDA provides technical assistance in the form of grants to help with the development of sector strategies, industry standards, and legal and regulatory regimes. This assistance helps create a favorable business and trade environment.Transportation safety and security are particularly important sectors for USTDA’s technical assistance work. One of the earliest stages of project planning is the development of terms of reference for an activity that will define the technical, environmental, financial, and other factors that must be addressed before an investment decision can be made. USTDA helps ensure that a project is appropriately conceived by contracting with technical specialists to perform Desk Studies and Definitional Missions.These independent assessments develop the appropriate terms of reference and budget for pertinent project preparation activities. Using U.S. private-sector resources and expertise, these activities provide preliminary assessments of the economic viability of proposed projects and determine whether they meet USTDA’s funding criteria.

Key Products and Services: Feasibility Studies, Technical Assistance Grants, Desk Studies and Definitional Missions, Sector Development Technical Assistance, Training, Orientation Visits, Investment Analysis and Procurement Assistance.

Contact: For more information, call the USTDA Information Resource Center at 703-875-4357, or email, or visit

Millennium Challenge Corporation

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) administers the Millennium Challenge Account an innovative foreign assistance program designed to reduce poverty through economic growth. MCC provides an incentive for countries to implement policy reforms by offering large, multi-year grants to countries that meet the MCA selection criteria. MCC works with countries that have already demonstrated they perform better than their peers in three categories of ruling justly, investing in the health and education, and encouraging economic freedom. MCC uses several Doing Business Indicators in its country selection process.

Contact: Call 202-521-3600 or visit the website at

U.S. Agency for International Development

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) promotes private sector-led economic growth and trade and investment between the United States and developing countries. With projects in over 100 countries, USAID works with developing countries to remove obstacles to by strengthening the protection of property rights, contract enforcement, trade facilitation, financial sector management, commercial dispute resolution, and other pillars of efficient market economies. Through its Development Credit Authority, USAID provides partial credit guarantees to mobilize local private capital and share the risk associated with lending to new or underserved sectors.


Overseas Private Investment Corporation

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) mobilizes U.S. private sector capital to foster economic and social development in emerging and developing countries. OPIC accomplishes its mission by managing risk with political risk insurance, providing financing through direct loans and loan guaranties, and working with private equity through OPIC-supported investment funds. OPIC offers several Investment Insurance programs to insure U.S. investments in emerging markets and developing countries against the risks of (1) currency inconvertibility (the inability to convert profits, debt service, and other investment remittances from local currency into U.S. dollars or the inability to transfer funds); (2) expropriation (loss of an investment due to expropriation, nationalization, or confiscation by the host government); and (3) political violence (loss of assets or income because of war, revolution, insurrection, or politically motivated civil strife, terrorism, or sabotage). OPIC also provides financing through direct loans and loan guarantees for medium- and long-term private investment. Loans range from $100,000 to $250 million for projects sponsored by U.S. companies, and financing can be provided on a project finance or corporate finance basis. In most cases, the U.S. sponsor is expected to contribute at least 25 percent of the project equity, have a track record in the industry, and have the means to contribute to the financial success of the project. For U.S. small businesses with annual revenues under $35 million, OPIC’s Small Business Center can provide financing through a streamlined approval process and an “insurance wrap” that offers political risk insurance coverage at a reduced rate.

Key Products and Services: Small and Medium-Enterprise Financing, Structured Financing, Political Risk Insurance, and Investment Funds.

Contact: To learn more, call the OPIC InfoLine at 202-336-8799, or visit

Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) maintains more than 60 offices overseas, mostly located in U.S. embassies, to represent the interests of U.S. agriculture and carry out market promotion. The FAS also offers assistance to exporters of U.S. farm and forest products in 20 agricultural trade offices overseas. The FAS supports U.S. food exporters with marketing and assists them at foreign trade shows. Agricultural FSOs perform advocacy activities in policy negotiations, monitor and report on market access, and represent individual U.S. exporters in foreign customs disputes.

Key Products and Services: Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Cooperator Program, Emerging Markets Program (EMP), Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program (TASC), Quality Samples Program (QSP), Export Credit Guarantee Programs, Trade Shows and Missions, Trade Leads, Buyer Alert, Foreign Buyer Lists, and U.S. Supplier Lists.

Contact: Call FAS Outreach and Exporter Assistance at 202-720-7420. Call the AgExport Services Division at 202-720-7420. The FAS home page is

The National Security Council

The National Security Council (NSC) is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the Council’s function has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies. The NSC is chaired by the President.Its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate.



SelectUSA was created at the federal level to showcase the United States as the world’s premier business location and to provide easy access to federal-level programs and services related to business investment. SelectUSA is designed to complement the activities of our states— the primary drivers of economic development in the United States.

Contact: For more information, call 202-482-6800 or visit the Select USA website at

Customs and Border Protection

Customs and Border Protection is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws.


American National Standards Institute

The American National Standards Institute is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide. ANSI accredits standards that are developed by representatives of standards developing organizations, government agencies, consumer groups, companies, and others. These standards ensure that the characteristics and performance of products are consistent, that people use the same definitions and terms, and that products are tested the same way. ANSI also accredits organizations that carry out product or personnel certification in accordance with requirements defined in international standards.

Contact: For more information call 202-293-8020 or visit the ANSI homepage at

Census Bureau

Operating under Title 13 and Title 26 of the US code, the US Census Bureau is an agency whose mission is the serve as the leading source of quality date about the nation’s people and the economy. Date collections include: Population and Housing Census, Economic Census, Census of Governments, American Community Survey, American Community Survey, and Economic Indicator.

Contact: For more information call 301-763-INFO (4636) or visit the Census Bureau website at

The National Economic Council

The National Economic Council (NEC) was established in 1993 to advise the President on U.S. and global economic policy. It resides within the Office of Policy Development and is part of the Executive Office of the President. By Executive Order, the NEC has four principal functions: to coordinate policy-making for domestic and international economic issues, to coordinate economic policy advice for the President, to ensure that policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President’s economic goals, and to monitor implementation of the President’s economic policy agenda. The NEC is comprised of numerous department and agency heads within the administration, whose policy jurisdictions impact the nation’s economy. The NEC Director works in conjunction with these officials to coordinate and implement the President’s economic policy objectives. The Director is supported by a staff of policy specialists in various fields including: agriculture, commerce, energy, financial markets, fiscal policy, healthcare, labor, and Social Security.


Decision Trees for Export Controls and Export Finance

Commerce Control List (CCL) Order of Review Decision Tool

The Export Control Classification Interactive Tool will assist users in understanding the steps to follow in reviewing the Commerce Control List (CCL).

Specially Designed Decision Tool

The “Specially Designed” Decision Tool will assist users in determining if an item will be “specially designed” under the Export Administration Regulations.

Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) Decision Tool

The Strategic Trade Authorization (STA) tool will help users of the License Exception STA determine if they are eligible to use and will be in compliance with License Exception STA.

15 CFR Part 732 Supplement 1 and 2

Are you subject to U.S. export controls? Violators may face civil and/or criminal penalties. Use these two decision trees from 15 CFR Part 732 to assess whether export controls are applicable to you.

Deemed Exports

deemed export is the release of technology or source code having both military and civilian applications to a foreign national within the United States. Thus, even though the release in question takes place within the confines of the United States, the transaction is “deemed” to be an export and therefore subject to certain United States Government export control regulations. The logic is that knowledge transferred to an individual within the United States can readily be transported abroad should the recipient wish to do so.  

Stanford University has a comprehensive Export Controls Decision Tree that can assist researchers and manufacturers know if they are at risk of deemed export controls. This resource should serve only as an aid, and keep in mind it is specifically intended for Stanford faculty, students and staff; check with your local BIS Office should you have any doubt. To contact the BIS Western Regional Office in Irvine, visit  

Export Finance

Public export finance programs are available for U.S. small businesses as well as U.S. products or services.