Working for America's Exporters™

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Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee


The mission of the Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee is to identify, support, and promote the trade policies of the U.S. that will result in an increase in U.S. exports, enhancement of the competitive position of U.S. exporters, and improvement in the U.S. balance of trade. In addition, this committee's mission includes identification, supports and advocacy of key trade legislative issues which impact American exporters (particularly small to medium-sized exporters), the U.S. export competitive position, the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the U.S. Commercial Service, and the legislative activities of the local DECs. These trade legislative issues include matters such as free trade agreements and federal government exporter assistance programs, including, for example, US&FCS Gold Key programs and U.S. Export-Import Bank export financing programs. Trade Policy and Legilative Affairs Committee also identifies foreign trade barriers that hinder U.S. exporters and exports, as well as the U.S. legislative and regulatory policies that are disincentives to exporting.

While performing its tasks Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs committee works together with the Regional Legislative Coordinators who are appointed to coordinate the legislative affairs at eight regional District Export Council networks in the U.S.

Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs committee includes the following sub-committees and working groups:

• Domestic and Americas Sub-committee

• Asia Sub-committee

• Europe Sub-committee

• Middle East and Africa Sub-committee

• Global Investment in America Sub-committee

A: The mission of the Legislative Affairs Committee is to identify, support and advocate for key trade legislative issues which impact American exporters (particularly small to medium-sized exporters), the U.S. export competitive position, the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the U.S. Commercial Service, and the legislative activities of local DECs.

Q: What are some of the ways in which the Legislative Affairs Committee carries out this mission in relation to local DECs?

A: The Legislative Affairs Committee has two programs which are specifically designed to assist local DECs and DEC members in their legislative outreach. The first program is the DEC Regional Legislative Network. This Network consists of 8 Regional Legislative Coordinators, who are DEC members from each of the 8 Commercial Service regional networks. These  Regional Legislative Coordinators assist in mobilizing local DECs to take action on key trade legislative issues, particularly in the intial stages of the consideration of such issue. The second program is the National DEC Email Alert System. This System sends out email alerts to DEC members nationwide whenever a key trade legislative measure is about to be voted on by Congress and provides a simple way for DEC members to contact their congressional represenatatives to express their views on such measures.

Q: How do these Regional Legislative Coordinators assist in mobilizing local DECs to engage in legislative outreach?

A: They assist in facilitating communication between local DECs and congressional members of the U.S. House and Senate, as well as with their congressional staffs, local district directors and constituents. This includes facilitating programs such as USEAC Export Achievement Awards, World Trade Day/Week, US&FCS Gold Key programs and organizing local events and webinars on legislative issues.

Q: What is the significance to exports and trade regarding the FTA legislation passed in 2012?

A: October 21, 2012, is an important day to remember in the history of exporting and trade. It was on that day that the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements were entered into. These trade agreements will significantly boost American exports, support tens of thousands of American jobs and enhance the competitiveness of American exporters in these markets.

Q: Did any of the DECs play a role in getting these trade agreements through Congress?

A: We are proud of the role that the National DEC, the 59 local DECs, and our over 1600 DEC members nationwide played in helping to get this very important legislation enacted.

Q: What are the legislative issues that lie ahead in 2014?

A: Among the issues the National DEC will be addressing in 2014 is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP), the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP), and the U.S. Export-Import Bank Reauthorization.


1. Congressional enactment of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). For more information regarding the importance of TPA, see the National DEC TPA ResolutionTPA Briefing Paper and TPA Q&A. For more information regarding the background of TPA, see the Congressional Research Service TPA White Paper and TPA Voting History.

2. Promotion and dissemination of Information regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) negotiations. For more information, see TPP Briefing Paper and TPP Q&A.

3. Promotion and dissemination of Information regarding the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. For more information, see TTIP Briefing Paper and TTIP Q&A.

4. Congressional enactment of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB). For more information, see MTB Q&A.

Targeting 101 - Your Key Congressionals

  Target # 1 - Freshman Congressional Members
Freshman congressional members of the House and Senate often know very little about the benefits of trade promotion in general and in particular about the work of the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service (USF&CS).
 Target # 2 - Appropriations Committees
The members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science (C-J-S) are particularly important because they are the bodies that review and approve ITA and CS funding.
 Target # 3 - Budget Committees
 Target # 4 - Trade Legislative Assistants (TLA)
Unless you have other connections, the first person you will talk with when contacting your members’ Washington office will be the Trade LA. - very important because he/she keeps all the data on trade and helps draft policy papers and positions prior to voting. District Directors in your state work closely with Trade LAs and will forward information you provide to the legislative assistant.
 Target # 5 - House and Senate Leadership
They set policy and establish direction. They will be the most difficult to reach!
Note that for each of the above groups, member contact information is provided alphabetically by state. This makes it easy to identify targets in your state. Initial contact for meetings should be made by a DEC member who lives/works in the congressman’s district. Constituents can get appointments when others cannot.
 114th Congressional Calendars
Pay close attention to Congressional calendars when engaging in congressional outreach as the ideal time to visit your congressionals is when the House and Senate, respectively, are in recess.
Use this report form to record the results of your congressional visits.

  Find your Senators

  Find your Representative


Joe Schoonmaker

Northeast Regional Legislative Coordinator



David Bowen

Great Lakes Regional Legislative Coordinator


Darcie Durham

Southwest Regional Legislative Coordinator



Lenny Feldman

Southern Regional Legislative Coordinator



Susanne Stirling

Pacific North Regional Legislative Coordinator


Mark Ballam

Pacific South Regional Legislative Coordinator


John Saylor

Mid-Atlantic Regional Legislative Coordinator


Richard Paullin

Midwest Regional Legislative Coordinator

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