Department of Commerce
The Department of Commerce (DOC) is one of the fifteen cabinet level departments. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has twelve regional bureaus. One of its responsibilities is to encourage U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace by promoting trade, business and commercial interests overseas. The subdivisions of the Department of Commerce that deal with international trade matters include:
The International Trade Administration (ITA) is the lead unit for trade in the Department of Commerce. It promotes world trade and strengthens U.S. exports of manufactured goods, non-agricultural commodities and services. The ITA designs and implements U.S. foreign trade and economic policies and monitors market access and compliance with U.S. international trade agreements.
Commercial officers abroad promote U.S. exports and support the interests of American companies in project bidding and trade disputes. U.S. Export Assistance Centers are located in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. They are one-stop shops ready to provide small- or medium-sized business with local export assistance.
ITA’s operation is divided into three units: Global Markets, Industry & Analysis, and Enforcement and Compliance.
The Bureau of Industry and Security is at the cutting edge of many challenging and important issues involving the country’s security upon all fronts: national, economic, cyber and homeland. The Bureau aims to protect and promote the United States in the global economy.
International Trade Specialist
Develop and implement trade policies and programs to achieve increased access to overseas markets. You may work in trade analysis and policy; export promotion; information development and dissemination; industry liaison; business advocacy; or agreement negotiations and compliance monitoring. You’ll recommend the agency’s positions on complex trade issues, policy positions and negotiating strategies.
Qualifications: You should have at least one year of specialized experience in which you have applied your knowledge of international economic and political factors influencing the flow of goods and services between countries. You should understand the workings of foreign market structures and international competitiveness, and be able to solve problems related to sales and marketing of goods and services worldwide.
Education: A Master’s or equivalent graduate degree, or two full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree, or an LL.B. or J.D., if related. To be creditable, your education must be in a relevant field, such as international relations, international business, or international trade.
Average Annual Salary: $85,000
Foreign Commercial Service Officer
Commercial officers serve overseas to provide in-country leadership for U.S. export promotion programs. As a commercial officer, you would advocate and intercede with local governments and trade organizations on behalf of U.S. companies, and develop and utilize an extensive network of host country contacts at the local, regional, and national levels. You would implement regional initiatives of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee; support policy negotiations; resolve trade complaints; and implement comprehensive export promotion programs.
The U.S. Commercial Service represents more than 1,400 trade professionals serving more than 75 countries worldwide, usually in locations with the most promising market potential for U.S. goods and services. Additional opportunities may be available in 45 countries that house partner posts or in the U.S. Commercial Service offices at the following international banks: African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Bank and the World Bank.
Requirements: Must be a U.S. citizen, between the ages of 21 and 59, and willing to relocate approximately every three to four years.
Qualifications: You should have a B.A. or B.S. degree and have two years of specialized experience. If you have an M.A. or M.S. degree or other graduate degree and one year of specialized experience, you will also qualify to become a commercial officer.