The Department of Commerce’s central mission is to create and expand economic opportunities for American businesses and workers. The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration or ITA is divided into four units:
1. Office of Manufacturing and Services;
2. Foreign Commercial Service;
3. Import Administration;
4. Market Access and Compliance.
Office of Manufacturing and Services or MAS conducts industry analyses that they use to give advice to companies looking for new markets or even trying to find their first export markets. MAS has scores of international trade specialists analyzing worldwide data from every economic sector to help a company in matching their product with the markets with the most demand for that product.
Foreign Commercial Service as its name implies, FCS places its commercial experts in the embassies abroad. Every major embassy throughout the world has a Commercial Service office. Once a company has decided which markets it would like to target, with the help of MAS or on their own, they would next go to FCS for advice on how to enter that market.
Market Access and Compliance (MAC)—works to remove barriers that U.S. companies face within a foreign market. MAC helps U.S. companies to navigate foreign markets, thereby creating jobs here in America by increasing their exports and investments abroad. MAC opens global markets for expanding U.S. businesses and jobs. The MAC Europe team identifies trade and market access barriers through the close relationships with industries and companies on the ground in European markets. It strategically works with the trading partners to encourage them to fully honor their obligations under international trade rules and agreements. MAC also encourages them to more fully open their markets to innovative U.S. goods and investment. All these efforts are coordinated with ITA’s Commercial Service staff and industry sector experts, as well as other U.S. trade agencies to work toward fulfilling President Obama’s vision of a barrier-free global trading system. Not surprisingly, domestic companies within a market also benefit from the market liberalization that MAC helps to foster.
In Washington, MAC’s Europe country desk officers are seasoned experts on the commercial, economic, and political climates in their assigned countries. They focus on resolving trade complaints and market access issues, and act as advocates for U.S. businesses. The desk officers also help to educate U.S. companies about how to tailor their activities to specific market. Even though the United States exports more than any other country on the planet, it can still be daunting for a small or medium-sized American business to export its goods and services abroad.
Exporting to Europe is the safest and most promising bet for the first time exporter, given the maturity of Europe’s markets and its vast consumer base. Europe is the world’s largest common market, which means that a company exporting to a country in Europe has access to all the countries in the European Union. Countries in the European Union also have mature, transparent legal systems. This is a tremendous benefit to small and medium enterprises which do not have the resources to fight costly permitting or licensing battles in markets with lower ease of doing business indexes.
MAC also champions American businesses and workers by tracking specific cases where U.S. firms are being denied the full, fair access to foreign markets that was guaranteed under a multilateral or bilateral trade agreement. Last year, for example, MAC staff helped a major manufacturer of locomotives to resolve an issue involving government procurement in Germany. In Russia, we recently helped to persuade the government in Moscow to not raise barriers to U.S. trucks and machinery exports there.
The Market Access and Compliance team wants to ensure full access to world markets for American companies, so they can compete on a level playing field and to succeed abroad as they do here—with the best and most affordable goods and services.
You can find more information about MAC, including contact information at http://trade.gov/mac/