What is the Role For U.S. Government In Export Promotion?

Kayra Reven

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Successful export promotion of environmental technologies has four critical components:

  1. Policy dialogue and development with foreign governments;
  2. Technical assistance to foreign governments for regulatory development and environmental management;
  3. Direct market promotion and advocacy; and
  4. Financial vehicles for project development and export finance.

Policy Dialogue and Development

The export promotion objectives of policy dialogue and development are two-fold: identify and
eliminate existing foreign trade barriers, and prevent new barriers from being created.1 This occurs
through regular bilateral dialogues, regional discussions, and negotiations with foreign governments and

Technical Assistance for Regulatory Development and Environmental Management

The regulatory nature of the industry means that the U.S. government can be particularly effective in
facilitating the creation and expansion of environmental export markets by providing technical
assistance that creates opportunities to encourage the development of compatible foreign regulatory
approaches. Technical assistance to foreign regulatory bodies increases the understanding of the
efficacy of U.S. approaches, particularly the emphasis on solutions underpinned by science. Technical
assistance can also yield favorable market results when it facilitates the creation of strong legal
authorities and effective mechanisms for enforcement, as well as knowledge and expertise for the
maintenance and management of environmental systems.

Capacity building efforts of agencies such as the U.S. EPA are primarily driven by environmental benefits,
including reducing transboundary pollution.

The interagency ETWG provides technical resources to the public such as the U.S. Environmental
Solutions Toolkit. This is an online searchable database that
combines the U.S. EPA’s scientific and regulatory expertise with a catalog of U.S. technology providers
for specific environmental applications. There are a variety of memoranda of understanding between
the U.S. EPA and foreign regulators to provide them with technical know-how. There are also standalone technical assistance programs such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s (USTDA) Global Procurement Initiative (GPI).

Because the failure of environmental control systems can harm human health, the higher risks
associated with new technologies can prevent their introduction. Similarly, a lack of technological knowhow is a formidable barrier to the development and implementation of environmental systems. The USTDA works to address these challenges by funding demonstration projects in select emerging markets
and educating foreign officials and buyers through reverse trade missions (RTMs).

Direct Promotion and Policy Advocacy

Direct promotion and policy advocacy facilitate company and industry export sales by identifying and
advocating for the removal of trade barriers, as well as by describing market opportunities and
facilitating business relationships. The ITA and other TPCC agencies provide businesses with market
information, trade counseling, and opportunities to develop international business relationships.

Provision of Financial Vehicles for Project Development and Export Finance

The lack of finance limits U.S. environmental technologies exports. The Overseas Private Investment
Corporation (OPIC) helps fill the gap by funding foreign development and construction of infrastructure
projects. Direct export finance is provided to U.S. companies through the Export-Import Bank of the
United States, which provides a suite of export finance and insurance products to facilitate export

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