(1)The United States and Foreign Commercial Service (hereafter in this section referred to as the “Commercial Service”) plays an important role in helping United States businesses identify export opportunities and develop reliable sources of information on commercial prospects in foreign countries.
(2)During the 1980s, the presence of the Commercial Service in sub-Saharan Africa consisted of 14 professionals providing services in eight countries. By early 1997, that presence had been reduced by half to seven professionals in only four countries.
(3)Since 1997, the Department of Commerce has slowly begun to increase the presence of the Commercial Service in sub-Saharan Africa, adding five full-time officers to established posts.
(4)Although the Commercial Service Officers in these countries have regional responsibilities, this kind of coverage does not adequately service the needs of United States businesses attempting to do business in sub-Saharan Africa.
(5)The Congress has, on several occasions, encouraged the Commercial Service to focus its resources and efforts in countries or regions in Europe or Asia to promote greater United States export activity in those markets, and similar encouragement should be provided for countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well.
(6)Because market information is not widely available in many sub-Saharan African countries, the presence of additional Commercial Service Officers and resources can play a significant role in assisting United States businesses in markets in those countries.
Subject to the availability of appropriations, by not later than December 31, 2001, the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, shall take steps to ensure that—
(1)at least 20 full-time Commercial Service employees are stationed in sub-Saharan Africa; and
(2)full-time Commercial Service employees are stationed in not less than 10 different sub-Saharan African countries.
(c) Initiative for sub-Saharan Africa
In order to encourage the export of United States goods and services to sub-Saharan African countries, the International Trade Administration shall make a special effort to—
(1)identify United States goods and services which are the best prospects for export by United States companies to sub-Saharan Africa;
(2)identify, where appropriate, tariff and nontariff barriers that are preventing or hindering sales of United States goods and services to, or the operation of United States companies in, sub-Saharan Africa;
(3)hold discussions with appropriate authorities in sub-Saharan Africa on the matters described in paragraphs (1) and (2) with a view to securing increased market access for United States exporters of goods and services;
(4)identify current resource allocations and personnel levels in sub-Saharan Africa for the Commercial Service and consider plans for the deployment of additional resources or personnel to that region; and
(5)make available to the public, through printed and electronic means of communication, the information derived pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (4) for each of the 4 years after May 18, 2000.
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