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U.S. Department of State
Spring/Summer 1995: Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts
Office of Information Services


                 Guide for Business Representatives

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents via FAX with Visa and 
U.S. Government Printing Office Washington, D.C. 20402
Tel. (202) 783-3238
FAX (202) 512-2168

Single copy price $3.75.
Annual subscription (two editions) $5.

or FAX (202) 736-4269

FAX messages must be followed up with cables or memos.
Department of State Publication 7877
Revised  Spring/Summer 1995

Publishing Services Division

          Doing Business Overseas--Your First Point of Contact

If you are planning a trip overseas or need information about doing 
business overseas, your first point of contact should be the nearest 
U.S. Department of Commerce District Office.

There are 44 District Offices and 24 Branch Offices in cities throughout 
the United States and Puerto Rico staffed by trade specialists from the 
United States and Foreign Commercial Service (US&FCS).  These District 
Offices provide information on foreign markets, agent/distributor 
location services, trade leads, and counseling on business 

All District Offices have access to the National Trade Data Bank, a 
"one-stop" computerized source for current export promotion and country-
specific trade data collected by 17 U.S. Government agencies. U.S. 
Export Assistance Centers, which combine the export promotion and trade 
finance services of the Department of Commerce, the ExportImport Bank, 
the Small Business Administration, and the Agency for International 
Development, now are open in Miami, Chicago, Long Beach, and Baltimore.

It is strongly recommended that business representatives inform the 
District Office of their plans to travel overseas.  The District Office 
will notify Commercial Sections in overseas posts of the upcoming visit 
to ensure that they are adequately prepared to help.

The Key Officers Guide lists key officers at Foreign Service posts with 
whom American business representatives would most likely have contact. 
All embassies, missions, consulates general, and consulates are listed.

At the head of each U.S. diplomatic mission are the Chief of Mission 
(with the title of Ambassador, Minister, or Charge d'Affaires) and the 
Deputy Chief of Mission. These officers are responsible for all 
components of the U.S. Mission within a country, including consular 

A Chief of Mission Secretary is responsible for the scheduling of 
appointments for that official.  In addition to other duties, this 
secretary may also assist business persons by directing inquiries to the 
appropriate Mission office.

Commercial Officers advise U.S. business on local trade and tariff laws, 
government procurement procedures, and business practices; identify 
potential importers, agents, distributors, and joint venture partners; 
provide information on local government tenders; and assist with 
resolution of trade and investment disputes.  At smaller posts, 
commercial interests are represented by Economic/Commercial Officers 
from the Department of State. 

Commercial Officers for Tourism promote the U.S. travel and tourism 

Economic Officers advise U.S. business on the local investment climate 
and economic trends; negotiate trade and investment agreements to open 
markets and level the playing field; and analyze and report on 
macroeconomic trends and trade policies and their potential impact on 
U.S. interests. 

Resource Officers counsel U.S. business on issues related to natural 
resources, including minerals, oil and gas and energy; and analyze and 
report on local natural resource trends and trade policies and their 
potential impact on U.S. interests.

Agricultural Officers promote the export of U.S. agricultural products 
and report on agricultural production and market developments in their 

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Officers are responsible for 
animal and plant health issues as they impact U.S. trade and in 
protecting U.S. agriculture from foreign pests and diseases.  They 
expedite U.S. exports in the area of technical sanitary and 
phytosanitary (S&P) regulations.

Environment, Science and Technology (EST) Officers analyze and report on 
EST developments and their potential impact on U.S. policies and 

Financial Attaches analyze and report on major financial developments.

Consular Officers extend to U.S. citizens and their property abroad the 
protection of the U.S. Government. They maintain lists of local 
attorneys, act as liaison with police and other officials, and have the 
authority to notarize documents. The Department recommends that business 
representatives residing overseas register with the consular officer; in 
troubled areas, even travelers are advised to register.

Immigration and Naturalization Service Officers are responsible for 
enforcing the laws regulating the admission of foreign-born persons 
(i.e., aliens) to the United States and for administering various 
immigration benefits,including the naturalization of resident aliens. 
Regional Security Officers are responsible for providing physical, 
procedural, and personnel security services to U.S. diplomatic 
facilities and personnel; they also provide local in-country security 
briefings and threat assessments to business executives.

AID Mission Directors are responsible for AID programs, including dollar 
and local currency loans, grants, and technical assistance.

Political Officers advise U.S. business executives onthe local political 
climate and analyze and report on political developments and their 
potential impact on U.S. interests.

Labor Officers follow the activities of labor organizations to supply 
such information as wages, nonwage costs, social security regulations, 
labor attitudes toward American investments, etc. Advise U.S. business 
on local labor laws and practices   and analyze and report on activities 
of local labor organizations, labor laws and practices, and their 
potential impact on U.S. interests. 

Administrative Officers are responsible for normal business operations 
of the post, including purchasing for the post and its commissary.

Security Assistance Officers are responsible for Defense Cooperation in 
Armaments and foreign military sales to include functioning as primary 
in-country point of contact for U.S. Defense Industry.

Information Systems Managers are responsible for the post's unclassified 
information systems, database management, programming, and operational 
needs.  They provide liaison with appropriate commercial contacts in the 
information field to enhance the post's systems integrity. 

Communications Programs Officers are responsible  for the 
telecommunications, telephone, radio, diplomatic pouches, and records 
management programs within the diplomatic mission.  They maintain close 
contact with the host government's information/communications 
authorities on operational matters.

Public Affairs Officers are the press and cultural affairs specialists 
and maintain close contact with the local press.

Legal Attaches serve as representatives to the U.S. Department of 
Justice on criminal matters.

U.S. Department of State and Commerce Country Desk Officers Both the 
Departments of State and Commerce have country desk officers based in 
Washington, D.C. who have comprehensive, up-to-date information on 
particular countries and can advise U.S. companies of the political and 
economic climate.

International Economic Policy (IEP) country desk officers in the 
Department of Commerce collect information on individual country 
regulations, tariffs, business practices, economic and political 
developments, trade data, and market size and growth, keeping a current 
pulse on the potential markets for U.S. products, services, and 

IEP has several regional business information centers that focus on new 
opportunities for trade and investment in various parts of the world: 
the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Japan, Latin America and the 
Caribbean, and the European Community.

For a specific country desk officer or regional business center, call 
(202) 482-3022.

Country desk officers at the Department of State maintain regular 
contact with overseas diplomatic missions and can provide country-
specific economic and political analysis for U.S. companies.

For a specific State Department country desk officer, call (202) 647-

The Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, can also provide 
current data on the security situation to interested persons planning 
trips abroad.  American business representatives desiring this 
information should contact the Overseas Security Advisory Council at 
(202) 663-0533. Department of State Coordinator for Business Affairs

The Coordinator for Business Affairs coordinates the Department's 
advocacy for U.S. companies overseas competing in international bids; 
problem-solving assistance to U.S. companies; dialogue with the U.S. 
private sector to ensure that business concerns are appropriately 
factored into foreign policy; and programs and practices to improve the 
Department's support for business. You should consider the Coordinator 
for Business Affairs your principal point of contact for business 
concerns within the Department of State.  Tel. (202) 647-1942; FAX (202) 

Trade Information Center

For general information about U.S. Government export promotion programs, 
you should contact the Trade Information Center.  It provides 
information on Federal programs and activities that support U.S. 
exports, information on overseas markets and industry trends, and a 
computerized calendar of U.S. Government-sponsored domestic and overseas 
trade events.  The center's nationwide toll-free number is: 1-800-USA-
TRADE (1-800-872-8723).

A special line is available for those who are deaf or hearing-impaired: 
TDD 1-800-833-8723.

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