Return to:Index of "Economic and Business Issues" || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

U.S. Department of State
U.S. Government Advocacy Guidelines
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                          US GOVERNMENT ADVOCACY GUIDELINES 
 
 
Purpose 
 
To expand U.S. exports and export-related employment as a means to 
promote U.S. economic health and well-being. 
 
To assist USG personnel in determining whether and to what extent USG 
support is appropriate in connection with a transaction involving U.S. 
interests. 
 
 
Background 
 
1.  United States Government officials, particularly in our embassies 
abroad, are increasingly approaching foreign governments on behalf of 
U.S. commercial interests.  In this connection, however, they are often 
faced with requests to intervene in support of parties to proposed 
transactions in which there is some question as to the degree and nature 
of U.S. participation.  U.S. Government export promotion policy has 
historically looked to U.S. incorporation and domestic content in 
determining whether USG support is appropriate in a particular instance.  
The increasingly complex nature of international commercial transactions 
now necessitates revisiting the issue of which factors should be 
considered in determining whether or not to provide USG advocacy support 
in any given circumstance.  The guidelines that follow are provided to 
Ambassadors and Embassy Commercial personnel for the purpose of 
assisting in these determinations on a case-by-case basis. 
 
2.  The issues that arise with respect to any individual transaction may 
include, for example:  determining whether to support any bid in which 
the goods or services to be delivered do not contain the traditionally 
required U.S. content level of more than 50 percent;  determining 
whether to support a bid by a foreign-owned, U.S.-incorporated firm that 
may or may not contain more than 50 percent U.S. content; 
differentiating between or among bids by more than one U.S. firm, bids 
by foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms, and bids by various consortia 
where differences in the degree of U.S. participation and viability of 
the bid may or may not be significant.  The guidelines below place a 
premium on U.S. content, including employment, in the determination of 
whether and to what extent a given bid is considered to be in the U.S. 
national interest. While any bid meeting the 50 percent U.S. content 
threshhold is presumed to be in the national interest, bids with lesser 
U.S. content may, under certain circumstances, also be determined to be 
deserving of comparable, nondiscriminatory treatment by the USG.  
Conversely, USG support for a bid may not be in the national interest -- 
even if the bid contains greater than 50 percent U.S. content-- if the 
bidding firm's home market is closed to U.S. firms. 
 
3.  Obviously, no guidelines can address dispositively all possible fact 
situations likely to be faced by posts abroad.  Therefore, in 
particularly complex cases, consultations with interested Washington 
agencies may be required before a determination can be reached. 
 
 
Guidelines 
 
1.  The overall basis for determining the nature and extent of USG 
support for a viable bid or proposal in connection with an international 
transaction shall be the U.S. national interest.  A U.S. national 
interest determination will first weigh and assess the foreseeable, 
material benefits to the U.S. economy that may potentially be derived 
from a transaction, and then assess the merit of a request for USG 
support of any bid or proposal made in connection with the transaction. 
 
2.  A bid or proposal in which the U.S. content of the goods or service 
to be provided exceeds 50 percent of their total value, including 
materials, equipment and labor, shall be presumed to be in the U.S. 
national interest. 
 
3.  In cases where the U.S. content does not exceed 50 percent, the 
following factors, often associated with U.S. ownership, may be 
considered in determining whether USG support of a bid  or proposal is 
in the U.S. national interest: 
 
	--	U.S. materials and equipment content. 
	--	U.S. labor content. 
	--	contribution to the U.S. technology base conduct of research 
and development in the U.S. 
	--	repatriation of profits to the U.S. economy. 
	--	potential for follow-on business that would benefit the U.S. 
economy. 
 
The USG may determine that a bid or proposal that meets one or more of 
the above factors in a clear and substantial way is in the U.S. national 
interest. 
 
4.  All bids or proposals that are determined to be in the U.S. national 
interest under paragraphs 2 or 3 above shall be supported by the USG in 
an equal, non-discriminatory manner, except that, in the case of foreign 
or foreign-controlled bidders, the USG may take into account, with 
respect to the relevant product or service, the absence of competitive 
opportunities for U.S. firms in the bidder's home market that are 
substantially equivalent to those available in the U.S. market for like 
products or services, as reflected in National Trade Estimate Reports on 
Foreign Trade Barriers prepared by the Office of the United States Trade 
Representative. 
 
5.  It shall be the responsibility of the firm or entity seeking USG 
support to advise the post in a timely manner of its interest.  Firms 
should be prepared to substantiate to the satisfaction of the post the 
applicability of the above criteria, with documentation, when necessary 
and appropriate.  Firms may be informed that their failure to provide 
such information in a timely manner may preclude USG support. 
 
6.  In complex  or sensitive transactions, including those specifically 
referred to in paragraph 4, the post should consult with interested 
Washington agencies for advice on a case-by-case basis.
To the top of this page