Foreign Commercial Service

Daniel Crocker, FCS Vice President

AFSA advocates for a strong U.S. diplomatic corps that advances our national interests around the world. Congress made clear, in the 1980 Foreign Service Act, that "a career foreign service, characterized by excellence and professionalism, is essential in the national interest to assist the President and the Secretary of State in conducting the foreign affairs of the United States." The administration’s National Security Strategy underscores the importance of advancing U.S. economic security with a field-forward force. That is where we come in.

The constituency that I represent - the Foreign Commercial Service - is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. Its 250 Foreign Service Officers lead a worldwide network of 750 trade and investment professionals located in 90% of U.S. export markets. Our men and women are focused on supporting and creating American jobs by leveling the international playing field for U.S. businesses and workers. We work with a network of 275 Trade Specialists in over 100 cities throughout the U.S. to help 30,000 U.S. companies each year. 83% of these companies have fewer than 500 employees. By knocking down foreign trade barriers and fighting corruption, we create new market opportunities for our American companies. They count on us to help them win business in new markets overseas and secure foreign government contracts. And we convince foreign companies to invest in the U.S. and hire American workers.

Last year we helped U.S. companies sell $63 billion in U.S. exports and supported over 328,000 American jobs. Our activity generated $199 in U.S. exports and inward investment returns to the U.S. economy for every $1 appropriated by Congress. We measure ourselves rigorously by our results and are proud of the fact that the work we do creates a level playing field for U.S. businesses worldwide and contributes to the continued growth of good jobs in America.

My work within AFSA is focused on three areas, in order of importance:

  1. Help Congress and the administration understand the importance of the work that we do on behalf of U.S. economic security—and to fund it accordingly.
  2. Advise and challenge Commerce to spend its appropriations for this mission as effectively as possible, in accordance with Congress’s intent. Commerce does so best when it continues to fund and prioritize its highest performing client-focused professionals, particularly in the U.S. and foreign field offices.
  3. Coordinate more effectively with the State Department’s Economic Bureau so that both Foreign Commercial Service and Economic Officers can work more productively together to advance U.S. economic security in support of the administration’s National Security Strategy.

In October 2018 the administration underscored its commitment to countering unfair trade and investment practices by signing into law the creation of the new U.S. International Development Corporation. AFSA believes that the U.S. Foreign Service is in an unparalleled position to represent this new federal agency’s interests globally, using both Commerce and State trade and investment expertise and boots on the ground. We’re ready to execute the administration’s policy and deliver results for U.S. companies and to counter such challenges as Chinese mercantilism.

My partner in this work is Lola Gulomova, AFSA’s Foreign Commercial Service representative and a fellow Foreign Service Officer. We welcome your feedback at Daniel.Crocker@trade.gov and Lola.Gulomova@trade.gov.

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