Commercial Diplomacy: How We Advance U.S. Business Overseas

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A truck pulls into the warehouse of an international engineering systems company in Texas.

Commercial Diplomacy: How We Advance U.S. Business Overseas

The Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) pursues economic diplomacy for America -- making our nation and our people more prosperous and secure.  Every day, EB works to create jobs at home and expand economic opportunities overseas.

We want to let you know about some of the ways EB helps to support American businesses through commercial diplomacy. If you are an American business owner, I hope you take a moment to learn more about these tools!

  • Office of Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA): CBA is the Department of State’s gateway for American businesses overseas.  The office provides assistance in opening markets, leveling the playing field, protecting intellectual property rights, resolving trade and investment disputes, providing commercial information and identifying market opportunities for American firms, advocating on their behalf, engaging them via teleconference with U.S. Ambassadors overseas, and encouraging corporate social responsibility. 
  • Direct Line for American Business:  The Direct Line program provides a unique opportunity for American businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, to engage directly via webcast with U.S. Ambassadors overseas. The program is open to U.S. companies – whether they are already in the country where the Ambassador serves or if they are interested in expanding their businesses there. Webcasts will vary in topic according to the specific needs for business in a given country. Upcoming Direct Line events include the following:

  • The Business Information Database System (BIDS): BIDS gives U.S. businesses up to the minute information about significant foreign government and multilateral development bank procurements. Through an interactive map interface, businesses can find new export opportunities, validated by U.S. government economic and commercial experts overseas. Public and private partners can link to or download BIDS data for matchmaking, analysis, or other purposes. 
  • Business Visa Center (BVC): The Business Visa Center (BVC) is part of the Department of State’s ongoing effort to better facilitate the issuance of visas for legitimate business travelers worldwide. The Business Visa Center is available to assist businesses in the United States and their partners, customers and colleagues around the world.
  • Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC): OSAC promotes effective cooperation by working to assist the U.S. private sector to better anticipate security issues, including identifying and tracking threats, particularly those targeting private sector personnel, facilities, investments, interests, and intellectual property.

We at the State Department look forward to continuing to provide resources that support American businesses through commercial diplomacy.  In the year ahead, we are going to continue to share with you how the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is working for the American people. So, continue to check back on DipNote for stories about our work, like us on Facebook, and follow @EconEngage on Twitter.

About the Author: Margaret Hawley-Young is the Acting Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs  in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.