The primary role of the Commercial Officer and the U.S. Commercial Service (CS) of the Department of Commerce is to assist U.S. companies in entering foreign markets. The CS offers a variety of market information and sales related services aimed at assessing a company's export potential, identifying markets, and selecting potential buyers and representatives abroad.
The Commercial Service is a worldwide network of export specialists located in 47 domestic offices and at U.S. Embassies in 77 countries. Under a strong Congressional and Executive Branch mandate to assist small and medium size firms to export and expand into foreign markets, the CS promotes U.S. commercial interests abroad.
International trade specialists located in the CS district offices throughout the United States are often the first stop for companies looking at foreign markets. Domestic offices can supply information and data about specific foreign markets, explain and provide a variety of specialized CS services, and assist in the export process. Some of the services available are briefly described below:
Agent Distributor Service
The Agent Distributor Service (ADS) identifies potential agents, distributors, and representatives in a foreign country. The U.S. company provides promotional and technical materials concerning its product to an export specialist in a CS district office in the United States. Within 90 days, the client receives a list of up to six prospective contacts. The CS offices abroad will assist in making appointments and introductions upon request. The fee for this service is $125 per request.
CS district offices in the United States have market information on all foreign markets. The Country Marketing Plan, prepared annually by each CS office abroad, provides an overview of the commercial environment, market opportunities for U.S. products, and other useful information. Furthermore, these offices have current information on commercial trends abroad and new trade opportunities. Fees for this service vary.
Single Company Promotions
CS offices at U.S. Embassies can plan and host promotions for specific U.S. companies entering a new market. The charge for this service is cost reimbursement.
Trade Missions, Trade Shows, and Matchmakers
CS offices worldwide and other units of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA) in Washington organize, promote, and manage trade missions, U.S. exhibitions at international trade fairs, and Matchmaker programs. The Matchmaker program is a service that combines the advantages of a trade mission and private export counseling. The charge for this service is cost reimbursement.
Comparison Shopping Service
The Comparison Shopping Service provides concise answers to a list of 12 questions directed at evaluating the suitability of a product to a foreign market. This service also identifies the competitors, price, promotion and distribution systems, as well as trade barriers. The charge for this service ranges from $500 to $1,500, depending on the market requested.
Additional services and counseling are available from Commercial Officers and the CS. For more information regarding specialized services contact your local CS district office (listed in the local telephone book under Department of Commerce), the U.S. Embassy, or write to the Director General of the Commercial Service at the following address:
U.S. Commercial Service
International Trade Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. 20230