USCIB Vice President for Trade and Financial Services, and retired U.S. Ambassador, Shaun Donnelly offered an ambassador’s perspective on effective embassy commercial work on behalf of U.S. companies overseas to a group of new Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) officers at the U.S. Department of Commerce last week.
During the August 1 session at the Commerce Department’s Commercial Diplomacy Institute, Donnelly joined with former FCS Director General and retired Ambassador Chuck Ford to share perspectives, experiences, best practices and even a few war stories, on what makes U.S. embassies effective in promoting U.S. commercial interests overseas.
One key message Donnelly and Ford both emphasized is the importance of close cooperation around the embassy, especially between FSC and State economic sections plus active involvement from the Ambassador and the rest of the Embassy team.
The new FCS officers are headed to assignments as commercial attaches in U.S. embassies and consulates in China, Mexico, Nigeria, and (perhaps, given recent developments) Russia, as well as in U.S. Export Assistance Centers or “USEACs” around the U.S.
“It’s encouraging that the Commerce Department, despite budget uncertainties, is pressing ahead to recruit and train the much-needed next generation of FSC staff,” noted Donnelly.
Donnelly and Ford are used to collaborating; they worked together often in their long U.S. government careers and recently co-authored two “Support for American Jobs” reports on commercial diplomacy for the American Academy of Diplomacy.