Every year almost 1500 appointed volunteers help other small and medium sized exporters and export service providers in their local communities build logistic strategies, FTZ warehouse partnerships, supply chain management solutions, and evaluate many other 4PL operator services. The overall goal remains the same; grow the local community’s knowledge and adopt more efficient and effective supply chain management solutions. This group of volunteers assists the District Export Council in over 61 territories across the country.
ITC Diligence International Inc. has implemented custom supply chain and logistic solutions for importers and exporters globally for over 30 years, making membership into the District Export Councils (DEC) a natural next step in the goal to create a simpler transloading and logistics environment for everyone.
Expanding Territory and Impacting Local Exporters
In addition to meetings, budgets, tax compliance, and other requirements, there are specific activities that any member of the District Export Council (DEC) must build plans for and execute on, every year.
Being a member of the DEC carries significance and can even be perceived as representing the Federal Government, which means care must be used when facing the public eye.
The expected activities of each DEC member is broken into specific categories:
Every member must host 2 meetings each year. Typically, there is a requirement to have one of these meetings in person, however any health restrictions can be accommodated with a virtual conference.
There are guidelines around meeting dates and locations, and they must be submitted for approval at least 15 days before the event is expected to take place.
The local trade community has needs. While still honoring the vision of the U.S. Commercial Service, a detailed strategic annual plan should be created to provide an outline of the goals and activities to be accomplished in the coming year.
The plan should contribute to the local export infrastructure and assistance needs, while also focusing DEC energy and resources. The following is a loose guideline:
- Make a clear and concise mission statement.
- Create a list of objectives and activities with brief descriptions.
- Outline committee members including name, chair(s), responsibilities, and role.
- Detail a budget with projections and annual accounting statements.
- Make it efficient and keep it simple.
The focus of every DEC is to broaden and deepen the exporter base in the local community. They do this hand in hand with their local U.S. Commercial Service (CS) office. There are a variety of activities -some integral to viable DEC export development programs- that a DEC engages in.
The main categories covered in these activities are outlined in the following sections.
Interacting directly with local small and medium sized business, these activities can include:
- Collect testimonials of exporter successes for CS office
- Mentor companies on joint visits with CS office staff
- Provide one-on-one counseling of new exporters
- Speak at, sponsor, or otherwise participate in trade events such as seminars, roundtables, discussion forums, briefings, videoconferences, World Trade Week activities, reverse trade missions, matchmaking or one-on-one appointments
- Provide hospitality receptions for special events and guests such as visiting dignitaries, foreign buyers and Commercial Officers
- Sponsor trade-show booths and/or exhibits for local businesses seeking to export
- Sponsor or support programs for trade shows, trade missions, etc.
- Promote and recruit for CS programs, services, and events
- Suggest companies for recognition, such as the Export Achievement Award, or state or local exporter awards
- Create and maintain local trade event calendars
- Create trade organization and export assistance directories
- Sponsor business surveys and outreach meetings
- Issue papers and publications on exporting issues
- Create and conduct how-to-export presentations
On behalf of the CS, a DEC member will reach out to the community and perform the following activities:
- Meet with local officials to provide information on trade
- Co-sponsor events and/or awards with elected officials
- Make presentations to business organizations such as Rotary Clubs, etc.
- Write articles, op-eds, and letters to the editor
- Reach out to underserved communities
- Develop and distribute outreach mailings
- Host briefings, breakfasts, etc. for or involving elected officials
- Invite elected officials or their staff to DEC meetings
- Monitor state and local trade policy/activity
- Host town hall meetings, open house events, etc.
- Engage in outreach to reporters, participate in interviews and serve as a contact for export issues
- Speak on local radio and television talk shows
Students and educational organizations can gain an understanding of the nature of exporting and how the global economy works, with the help of educational outreach from DEC’s.
- Educating students on issues regarding exporting and trade
- Offering scholarships
- Offering student internships
- Including students in local trade events
- Guest speaking in classes
- Promoting international trade curriculum development
- Creating international trade curriculum or certificate programs
Facilitating Work of CS Office
Common ways a DEC can facilitate the work of their local CS office include:
- Raising awareness of the CS Office in the local community
- Informing CS Office staff of industry, geographic, or local business developments
- Providing feedback to the CS Office on CS programs and/or services
- Providing support to the CS Office for programs and events that further export opportunities and growth
- Counseling companies, particularly companies that are new to exporting
Lobbying carries strict guidelines and legal requirements. DEC’s can lobby as they are self supported and not funded by any government entity.
Remember to follow all local and federal laws when engaging in lobbying activities.
Being a member of the DEC is not intended to limit or restrict anyone from participating in the political process of our country. With that in mind, it is important that members of the DEC are responsible and thoughtful in how they represent themselves and what political affiliations, parties, causes, and movements they may decide to become a part of.
The CS may recognize a DEC each year with a DEC of the Year Award. Recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of any outstanding DEC that furthers the mission of the CS is a proud tradition of the DEC.
Three categories are evaluated when determining a DEC of the Year Award recipient:
- Company Outreach: Outstanding contributions by a DEC that broaden and deepen U.S. business/stakeholder understanding of CS services and role in the local business community. Contributions can include collecting testimonials of exporter successes for the local CS Office, mentoring companies on joint visits with the CS Office, supporting CS trade events, and generally facilitating the work of the CS Office or CS as a whole. Special emphasis will be put on considering those DECs that assist the local CS Office with counseling and mentoring of New-to-Export (NTE) companies.
- Innovation: Outstanding innovation by a DEC in attracting new clients to CS services. Contributions include the development of new programs and/or initiatives to reach out to the local business community.
- Strategic Management: Outstanding performance by a DEC to develop a sound strategic plan as explained in the DEC Manual, that aligns resources to short-term and longer-term goals, and a demonstration of strategic targets met during the course of the year.
ITC Diligence International Inc. is thrilled to be serving the local community and strengthening the global supply chain infrastructure for importers and exporters everywhere. Reach out today to learn more about a custom supply chain plan or FTZ warehouse strategy for your business.