President Obama issued an executive order Thursday establishing an interagency task force to coordinate the government's advocacy on behalf of U.S. firms competing for public contracts in foreign countries.
The task force will be led by the Commerce Department's Advocacy Center. The executive order pulls together the resources of 15 agencies to provide exporters better access to lobbying, commercial diplomacy, financing, market intelligence, lead generation and technical assistance.
The two-year-old National Export Initiative is a whole-of-government effort to promote U.S. exports, especially for small and midsized enterprises, raise awareness of available federal export assistance, and make it easier for businesses to find resources in one place.
The executive order to step up commercial advocacy
indirectly supports the NEI, but is focused on helping business land contracts put out for bid by foreign governments. The task force, for example, will make sure that agency heads engage with their foreign counterparts in person or through other communications to make sure American firms get a fair opportunity to make their case. It also will spread the word about foreign procurement opportunities.
Since the inception of the NEI in March 2010, the Advocacy Center has supported 143 contract wins worth $136.4 billion and more than 500,000 jobs, the Commerce Department said. - Eric Kulisch