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16
JANUARY 2013
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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Amore rational integration of talent and
resources would enhance our common
mission of creating jobs through exports
and inbound investment.
A series of cables instructed ambas-
sadors to gather up statistics on any
activities related to business and report
them—even when they have nothing to
do with State. And while several high-
profle events have showcased State’s
newfound zeal for commercial work,
confusion, suspicion and needless fric-
tion have been notable results of the
“statecraft” initiative to date.
Tose who have been laboring in
the commercial vineyards for decades
welcome the extra hands, but fnd
themselves elbowed aside when it comes
time for the photo op. Is this statecraft or
stagecraft? Has State decided to grab the
business constituency and hope that FCS
will wither away?
Whatever State’s motives, no Com-
merce ofcial above the level of the
acting director general has seriously
engaged it on the Commercial Service’s
mandate from Congress. Te muted
response from Commerce has shocked
FCS ofcers into thinking the unthink-
able with renewed urgency.
A New Agency?
Te ideal future for the FCS would lie
in the creation of a Cabinet-level agency
devoted to promoting and protecting U.S.
commercial and economic interests. FCS
would drive the trade promotion func-
tions of a visible, coherent agency with a
clearly defned mission to create Ameri-
can jobs through exports of American
goods, services and remittances, and by
attracting foreign direct investment.
President Obama’s proposal to con-
solidate the functions of a dozen or more
agencies would be a great step forward,
provided it could draw bipartisan coop-
eration.
Can We Make a Deal?
Crafting a “win-win” deal on reor-
ganizing the commercial function will
require a clear understanding of each
party’s motives and interests. So let’s look
at what FCS, State and the business com-
munity would each stand to gain. What
would it take for the ofcers and staf of
the Commercial Service to merge will-
ingly and productively with State?
First and foremost, the Commercial
Service has been starved of funds for
nearly a decade. Staf numbers have
declined while new responsibilities for
inbound investment and ever higher
export success goals have been added.
Some posts have been closed, not
because they were underperforming,
but because FCS could not aford them.
Tough our people often surprise and
delight clients, we are unable to meet all
the demands of both business and gov-
ernment stakeholders with the consistent
high quality that has been our hallmark.
Meanwhile, through a decade when
Commerce has allowed the Commercial
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