CLDP is one of the 14 offices that make up the Office of the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce. CLDP's mission is to improve the commercial legal environment in transitional countries, thereby enabling U.S. companies to engage in international trade in those countries more productively.
CLDP provides consultative services and assistance programs that help create legal reform in these transitional countries that encourage and promote international trade. In many instances, CLDP works with governments to help them comply with their obligations under various international trade agreements. These agreements are designed to facilitate more open trade relations among countries and to reduce or eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade. This results in greater opportunities for U.S. companies already doing business abroad as well as for those seeking to expand their business on a global level. Below are just a few examples of some of the ways in which CLDP's efforts have helped to create positive results for U.S. companies.
A CLDP Technical Assistance Program in the Area of Trade Remedies Produces Tangible Results in Morocco
In August 2010, the formerly state-owned and exclusive national manufacturer of PVC, the Société Nationale d’Electrolyse et de Petrochimie (SNEP), formally withdrew a request for a safeguards investigation under the terms of WTO Safeguards Agreement. As a result, the Ministry of External Commerce of the Kingdom of Morocco decided to close the inquiry into safeguards concerning the importation of PVC from the US “without the application of measures.” This result was attributed to a Trade Remedy workshop organized 6 months before by CLDP in Rabat in collaboration with DOC's Import Administration.
The US Embassy wrote: “The Ministry of External Commerce frequently praises the CLDP-provided trade remedy workshops under the FTA technical assistance chapter (and continues to ask for additional training in this area). We can’t help but believe that the program helped to bring about this favorable outcome.”
Judicial Training Yields Stronger Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement
In July 2004, the head of Procter & Gamble's (P&G) Algerian operations commended CLDP's judicial capacity building program for playing a crucial role in changing the legal environment for IPR enforcement in Algeria. The P&G official noted that the judge who issued two landmark decisions in favor of P&G that year applied important enforcement expertise gained through CLDP's judicial training program. The decision had a positive impact on P&G's sales and the company gained greater confidence in the Algerian legal system. This dual benefit renewed the company's interest to increase investments in Algeria.
Face to Face Discussions on Attractive Foreign Company Laws
In July 2005, the corporate counsels of Seattle-based companies Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Boeing spoke firsthand with Bahraini officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on the key legal principles they need to see in a foreign country's company laws in order to expand into that country. In this unique setting, these companies had a rare opportunity to share with key regulators what factors would attract their business. The creation of this session of open and constructive dialogue is a unique characteristic of CLDP's customized consultative work.
Setting the Bar for Standards Testing
In June 2002, a delegation from the Egyptian Organization for Standardization & Quality Control toured Whole Foods testing facilities and the chemical labs of Alcoa Eastalco Works. The Egyptian officials, who were in the process of revising their own standards systems, observed firsthand the inner-workings of these facilities as they operated under the guidance of the U.S. standards system. Therefore, by coordinating this type of interaction, CLDP provided the U.S. companies with a platform to showcase their leadership in testing standards on an international level.
As these examples demonstrate, CLDP’s customized work helps to foster more favorable commercial environments for U.S. companies. CLDP, through its technical assistance and consultative expertise, strives to help its clients become attuned to the need to create more transparency through legal reform. Such transparency engenders confidence in a legal system that is marked by integrity, consistency and dependability. CLDP also works to assist its governmental partners to be more to open to receiving constructive input from members of the private sector, which creates an ongoing dialogue that is necessary for meaningful change and growth. As a result, CLDP serves the interests of U.S. businesses by proactively helping to shape legal environments across the world that will stimulate and encourage strong international trade.