Solidifying a Long-Standing Partnership

April 3, 2012

Daniel O’Brien is ITA’s Liaison to the 59 District Export Councils and to the National DEC; he also serves as the Deputy National Field Director for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.

Doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014 to meet the goals of the National Export Initiative (NEI) was never going to be easy, or achieved by government alone.  The International Trade Administration (ITA) knows that the federal government must work more, and more intensely, with partners to make the NEI’s goals a reality.

This past Friday, ITA took an important step forward in doing just that.  Deputy Under Secretary Michelle O’Neill signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Daniel Ogden, Chair of the National District Export Council, Inc. (NDEC) that commits both the Commercial Service and the NDEC to continue their partnership for at least the next five years.

The NDEC represents and serves the 59 individual DECs, whose members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. The membership stretches across the United States and its territories and is nearly 1,400 strong, including a plastics manufacturer in Southern California; a manager of a major steel firm in Alabama; a Small Business Development Center representative from Guam; and a trade consultant from Maine. The National DEC represents these members with ITA and other federal agencies here in Washington, D.C., and to the trade community generally across the country.

The DECs play a major role in the planning and coordination of export activities in their communities. The DECs work together with the network of Commercial Service Export Assistance Centers by providing export education seminars; counseling local companies interested in exporting; and generally supporting the expansion of export opportunities for U.S. companies.

Under the MOA, Commercial Service and the NDEC will work together to support the local DECs, and to assist with communication efforts, meetings, conferences and forums, and collaboration in educational programs and events. The MOA has already led to a commitment to produce regular webinars on trade education and policy for DEC members each month, and to a DEC forum in Washington, D.C. in October.

Doubling exports by the end of 2014 is an ambitious goal. As the lead trade promotion agency in government, ITA knows that it can only help meet that goal through close and increased collaboration with partners. Among the longest-standing of those are the 59 DECs, and the NDEC that represents them.  On March 30 ITA and the NDEC formally recognized the value of these relationships, and together committed again to making the NEI’s goals a reality.

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