The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

62 NOVEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP. Contact: | (202) 482-9088 FCS VP VOICE | BY DANIEL CROCKER AFSA NEWS Working In Concert—The FCS at Home and Overseas The United States Commer- cial Service has an impres- sive track record of contribut- ing to U.S. economic security. We are focused on delivering real results—leveling the playing field overseas, facili- tating export-led job growth and promoting foreign invest- ment job growth back in the United States. Our metrics are rigorously applied. Last year we assisted more than 28,000 American companies, 90 percent of which are small or medium- sized businesses. Among those companies, 72 percent told the International Trade Administration that they are highly likely to recommend us. Our assistance worldwide resulted in more than $59 bil- lion in U.S. exports and sup- ported more than 300,000 American jobs. For every $1 that Congress appropri- ated to the U.S. Commercial Service, we generated $192 in U.S. exports and inward investment returns to the American economy. Among U.S. foreign affairs agencies, we are uniquely organized to deliver these results. Overseas we are present in 78 countries, covering 90 percent of U.S. export markets. But our assistance to American companies starts at home, where we have more than 250 U.S. trade specialists based in 106 cities throughout the country. All Foreign Commercial Service officers spend at least one year working with the trade specialists in our U.S. field offices. These men and women work with local chambers of commerce, district export councils, state and local governments, and trade show organizers to offer an impressive array of export mechanics seminars and sector- or region-focused trade shows like the Discover Global Markets series. They host U.S. ambassadors to speak to hundreds of U.S. export-ready companies at these shows. Trade specialists, acting in an account management capacity for those 28,000 U.S. companies, develop a company-specific interna- tional expansion blueprint that helps them prioritize markets and get assistance from our international teams to tackle barriers that prevent fair trade. They do so in concert with our Commercial Office teams in U.S. embas- sies and consulates around the world, who can identify market opportunities and challenges. We judge ourselves on outcomes; if the American company succeeds in selling more overseas—whether that is because we helped knock down a barrier, or because we connected them with key partners or end users—we record it as a win in our Salesforce Customer Rela- tions Management platform, along with the work we did to deliver it. It is this combination —not just the international compo- nent, not just the domestic fieldwork, but both working in concert, collaborating on behalf of a clear mission with shared metrics—that makes the U.S. Commercial Service an outstanding contributor to U.S. economic security. Q ACCEPT I NG NOMI NAT I ONS FOR S I NCLA I RE LANGUAGE AWARD AFSA is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Award. The deadline is Jan. 15, 2018. Thanks to a generous bequest from the late Foreign Service Officer Matilda W. Sinclaire, AFSA spotlights members of the Foreign Service who have excelled in their study of a Category III or IV language and its associated culture. Mastery of foreign languages and knowledge of the culture of the host country are critical diplomatic skills. Candidates may be nominated by their language training supervisors at the Foreign Service Institute, by instructors in field schools or by post language officers. Awardees receive a $1,000 prize and certificate of recognition. For infor- mation about the 2017 winners, check out the May edition of The Foreign Service Journal , and see the winners in action in the September FSJ . For further information, please contact AFSA Awards Coordinator Perri Green at or (202) 719-9700. Read more about the Sinclaire Awards at Q ANNOUNCEMENT AFSA/JOSH