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Short Takes: News from the International Trade Administration

Trade Compliance Attachés: Attacking Foreign Trade Barriers on the Ground

Foreign commercial service officers—trade compliance attachés—of the Market Access and Compliance (MAC) unit are at the forefront of efforts by the International Trade Administration (ITA) to create a barrier-free global trading system. Attachés are MAC officers in the field and the leads for implementing the ITA Trade Agreements Compliance program at their posts. Those strategic posts are located worldwide: U.S. mission to the European Union in Brussels (Ashley Miller), U.S. embassy in Beijing (Teresa Howes and Lisa Rigoli), and U.S. embassy in Tokyo (Dean Matlack). The program endeavors to reduce or eliminate foreign government policies that adversely affect trade opportunities for U.S. goods and services.

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U.S.-Mongolia Trade Mission delegates meet with Ch. Khurelbaatar, Minister of Fuel and Energy, to learn about energy opportunities in Mongolia.  Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Michelle O'Neill led the first U.S.-certified trade mission to Mongolia.
MAC trade compliance attachés from U.S. posts in Europe and Asia are the leads for implementing the ITA Trade Agreements Compliance program at their posts. The attachés recently attended a comprehensive training session and discussion forum at ITA headquarters. The compliance program endeavors to reduce or eliminate foreign government policies that adversely affect trade opportunities for U.S. goods and services. (U.S. Department of Commerce photo)


Compliance attachés are experts on trade barrier identification, are trained in the latest state-of-the-art tools and techniques to attack those barriers, and are adept at leveraging the combined trade and commercial expertise all across ITA to achieve the best results for U.S. companies facing trade barriers abroad.

Although they focus on dismantling trade barriers, they also help ensure trade policy consistency between post and Department of Commerce headquarters, support senior-level ITA interaction with foreign government officials, and educate local U.S. companies and regional government personnel on MAC’s approach to knocking down foreign trade barriers.

For more information on the ITA Trade Agreements Compliance program, to report a foreign trade barrier, or to contact an attaché, visit


Unique Partnership Offers Expert Guidance for Going Global

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are competing in the global market are gaining a strategic advantage over their competition by participating in ExporTech. This new training program offers invaluable assistance from some of the nation’s leading experts on global trade.

ExporTech, which launched in January 2008, is jointly sponsored by the International Administration’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the District Export Council, the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, the Maryland Technology Extension Service, and M&T Bank. The program targets executives of SMEs who may have dabbled in exporting but have not fully exploited global opportunities.

With the collaboration of ITA’s regional Export Assistance Centers, ExporTech draws on domestic and international knowledge to offer customized content to the specific learning needs of participants, from help with exporting to new markets to help with specified knowledge in laws and compliance differentiated among industry, country, and markets.

Throughout the three-month-long program, participants gain an understanding on how to make exports a major growth driver, how to identify hurdles to expansion, how to work with the facilitators to develop a customized international growth plan for their companies, and how to build a team of organizations that help their companies move quickly beyond planning to actual export sales.

“ExporTech provided—and continues to provide—expertise in several areas focused exclusively on our business and our success,” said Carl Livesay, a representative from Raloid Corporation and an ExporTech participant. “Our combined efforts have resulted in new account sales within 12 months of class completion.”

For more information about ExporTech, visit

New Certification Mark Available for the U.S.–European Union Safe Harbor Program

The International Trade Administration (ITA) has released a new certification mark for the U.S.–European Union (EU) Safe Harbor Framework. The mark may be used by companies on their Web sites to signify that they have self-certified compliance with the provisions of the Safe Harbor Framework.

The framework facilitates secure, uninterrupted transfers of personal information that support billions of dollars in trade from the EU to the United States. By displaying the certification mark, participating companies can more easily show their commitment to ensuring that EU citizens’ data are secure, which is critical to the trade relationship.

Participating U.S. companies must follow specific instructions developed by ITA to display the mark. Only those organizations that have self-certified and are listed on ITA’s official Safe Harbor Program list are allowed to use the mark in an appropriate manner. Continued use of the mark is contingent on companies maintaining their status in the program.

More than 1,600 U.S. companies participate in the Safe Harbor Framework, which is managed by ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit. As the program has grown, it has achieved global recognition as one of the best ways to meet the requirements of the EU’s Data Protection Directive. Since the mark’s release, ITA has received positive feedback from many of the companies that have chosen to display the certification mark.

For additional information about the U.S.–EU Safe Harbor Framework, visit its Web site at or contact Damon Greer of the Department of Commerce, tel.: (202) 482-5023; e-mail:

Contributors to this section include Krysten Jenci and Carla Langjahr of the Manufacturing and Services unit and John Liuzzi of the Market Access and Compliance unit.