Trade Mission Policy

Presidents & Prime Ministers, March-April 1997 | Go to article overview

Trade Mission Policy


Commerce Secretary William Daley recently unveiled a comprehensive Departmental policy governing all aspects of trade missions from private-sector recruitment to post-mission reports. The policy, the result of thirty-day review of the procedures rules and criteria for trade missions, will be implemented immediately and cover all Commerce Department trade missions.

"In developing the first, comprehensive written policy governing Department of Commerce trade missions, we have established a detailed series of guidelines for all types and all levels of trade missions organized by the Commerce Department. From this time forward, we will have in place a fully transparent process where relevant documents will be available on the public record," Secretary Daley stated.

The policy entitled Statement of Policy Governing Department of Commerce Overseas Trade Missions sets forth objective guidelines to ensure that all decisions regarding trade missions are based upon appropriate criteria related to the underlying public policy. The policy stipulates that relevant documentation related to trade missions will be available to the public. A comprehensive discussion of the trade mission authorization process, the recruitment and selection of private-sector participants for missions, the mission costs and post-mission reports also are covered by criteria outlined in the new policy.

"This top-to-bottom review was initiated to cover procedures, rules and criteria that govern these missions. The new policy expressly puts partisan political considerations off limits in the trade mission process. The final plan reflects a trade mission process governed by objective criteria, and conducted according to the high standards the American people expect and deserve," said Secretary Daley.

The new policy includes an express prohibition against consideration of referrals from political parties or references to political contributions or political activities. The policy specifies that any such correspondence will be returned to the sender and "will make clear that political affiliation, activities or contributions are simply not relevant to the selection process."

Secretary Daley ordered a thirty-day Departmental review of the trade mission process on February 3 in accordance with a pledge made to the Senate Commerce Committee during his hearing. During this process, all Departmental missions were deferred. The Department also sought input from Congress and representatives of the business community in developing the new policy.

In releasing the report, Secretary Daley noted the important role trade missions play in the Department's efforts to work with American business to promote exports. "Economic prosperity depends upon our ability to compete effectively in the global marketplace. Exports support 11.5 million jobs and fueled one-third of our total economic growth since 1993, creating 1. …

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