DECs play a major role in the planning and coordination of export activities for their communities. As a lead organization serving the international business community, DECs have the capacity to facilitate development of an effective export assistance network and can assist in coordinating the activities of trade assistance partners to leverage available resources. DECs also serve as a communications link between the business community and the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, and support the export expansion activities of the U.S. Commerce Department in a variety of ways within their communities.
For 30 years, DECs have served the United States by assisting companies in their local communities export, thus promoting our country’s economic growth and creating new and higher-paying jobs for their communities. Closely affiliated with the U.S. Commerce Department’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers, the 59 DECs combine the energies of nearly 1,500 exporters and export service providers who support the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts throughout the country.
DEC Members volunteer their time to sponsor and participate in numerous trade promotion activities. They also supply specialized expertise to small and medium-sized businesses that are interested in exporting. Each DEC’s Executive Committee works with the membership to create an annual strategic plan that involves all members in mission fulfillment.
District Export Councils encourage and support exports of goods and services that strengthen individual companies, stimulate U.S. economic growth and create jobs. Export expansion activities are accomplished by working with the U.S. Export Assistance Centers to provide opportunities to promote greater export activity at the local level while developing a trade assistance network.
The mission of the District Export Councils is supported through activities such as:
Counseling and mentoring of local businesses in exporting;
Identifying export financing sources for businesses;
Creating greater export awareness in the business community locally;
Identifying issues affecting export trade and implementation of suggestions for improvement;
Advocating trade policy and legislation supporting exporters and the U.S. export sector;
Supporting programs and services of the U.S. Export Assistance Centers;
Building local export assistance partnerships with other trade-related organizations;
Providing export training and education through Export University® programs
How were DEC's formed?
In 1960, the President asked the Secretary of Commerce to enlist the efforts of the U.S. business community in enlarging export opportunities for American firms. Responding to this challenge, the National Export Expansion Council was formed.
In response to National Export Expansion Council recommendations and to stimulate greater business participation in the national export expansion effort, the President signed an Executive Order in 1973 that directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish District Export Councils throughout the United States.
Under the authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 41 DECs were established by the Secretary of Commerce in 1974. Approximately 1,000 business and trade experts were appointed to serve on the newly formed DECs. Since then, the number of DECs and DEC membership has been expanded to better meet the needs of the growing number of U.S. exporters.
Under the Secretary’s guidelines, the District Export Councils were specifically created to promote exports in their local communities. DECs are not advisory committees and are not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). As a volunteer group, DECs do not receive government appropriations or compensation. They also do not have access to classified information and therefore, do not have security clearances.
Who are DEC Members?
Each DEC has approximately 30 members, at least half of whom are exporters. Members also include export trading or management company representatives; bankers; international lawyers and accountants; freight forwarders; and others whose profession supports the U.S. government’s export promotion mission.
Recommendations for appointment are based on the individual’s position in the local business community, knowledge of day-to-day international operations, interest in export development, and willingness and ability to devote time to the council — at his or her own expense.
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