The Foreign Service Journal, November 2020

80 NOVEMBER 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL As Fiscal Year 2020 comes to a close (shortly after writ- ing this column in Septem- ber), it’s time to see if we have met our stated goals and justified our cost to the taxpayer. This year’s results ought to be particularly interesting given the challenges (and opportunities) surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its substantial impact on the world economy. One program I’d like to highlight that is crucial to the Commerce Depart- ment’s trade promotion efforts is the Advocacy Center. The center helps U.S. companies win for- eign government contracts around the globe. It works with companies to pursue opportunities in countries that directly involve foreign government decision-makers—especially when those companies are competing against foreign firms. Advocacy assistance is provided to U.S. busi- nesses of all types and sizes that apply, and companies are screened to ensure that the majority of their export content is American. The Advocacy Center team, located in Washing- ton, D.C., works closely with our network of domestic Export Assistance Centers and our commercial offices within U.S. diplomatic mis- sions overseas. Foreign Commercial Service officers are also assigned to the Advocacy Center, usu- ally early in their careers, reflecting its importance to the overall mission of the Commercial Service. Of course, in the good old days before the creation of the Global Markets Bureau, the Commercial Service was a stand-alone business unit within the International Trade Administration. It included both the domestic and foreign components of the U.S. and Foreign Com- mercial Service, as well as the Advocacy Center and Select USA (formerly Invest in America). The Commercial Service functioned then as a tightly integrated unit with a com- plete focus on the needs of U.S. businesses. Trade promotion, government-to- government advocacy and investment promotion were the three pillars that U.S. businesses relied on to win in foreign markets. The business community still relies on those pillars, though some have argued that with the creation of Global Markets in 2013, and the addition of a sizeable policy shop welded onto the Commercial Service, competing priorities have entered into the mix. That view presents some interesting points to explore, and perhaps we’ll do that in a future column. Judging by my email inbox, there’s cer- tainly some curiosity about these issues. But, how did we do this year on our advocacy work despite COVID and every- thing else? Are we suffi- ciently justifying the $333 million taxpayer investment for those three pillars? Well, for FY 2020, the Advocacy Center has reported 102 WINs (or what used to be called Export Successes) for U.S. com- panies, with an estimated total project value of $29.4 billion. This translates into support for 130,575 U.S. jobs. Stellar results! n FCS VP VOICE | BY JAY CARREIRO AFSA NEWS Contact: The Advocacy Center: A Win for American Jobs Five new members have been appointed to AFSA’s Committee on Elections to oversee the biannual election cycle for the next AFSA Governing Board. The committee took office on July 15. USAID Foreign Service Officer Erin Nicholson is chairing the committee during its two-year term. The other members are Mort Dworken (retiree), Mar- cia Friedman (State), Dao M. Le (FCS) and Rodney LeGrand (State). The committee is charged with ensuring the integrity of the election and its results. A call for nominations will be issued in early NEWS BRIEF NEW MEMBERS JO I N AFSA COMMI TTEE ON ELECT I ONS January 2021 and the new Governing Board will take office on July 15, 2021. Important dates and deadlines will be detailed in the call. We encourage those who might be interested in serving their colleagues as AFSA board members during the 2021-2023 term to consider stepping forward. All information on the upcoming election will be posted on the AFSA website at AFSA welcomes the new committee members and thanks them for volunteering to serve in these important roles. n