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U.S. Department of State
U.S. Government Advocacy Guidelines
Office of the Coordinator for Business Affairs
US GOVERNMENT ADVOCACY GUIDELINES
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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