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Federal Agencies

CLDP was created in 1992 and since then has been solely funded through Interagency Agreements (IAA) with the U.S. Department of State or with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), depending on the country. Over the years, CLDP has worked with numerous U.S. agencies, including several within the Department of Commerce, such as USPTO, ITA, NIST, and several  outside of the Department of Commerce, such as DHS/CBP, USDA, GAO, GSA, FCC, and FTC. In collaboration with these agencies, CLDP has brought about significant changes in foreign legislation, regulations, and judicial practices, benefitting both the U.S. business community overseas and host countries. As a result, U.S. embassies and other federal agencies increasingly view CLDP’s programs as effective levers of trade, economic, and energy diplomacy.

If you represent a federal agency and would like more information on how CLDP can work with you to help fulfill your agency's mission and objectives, please contact us here.

CLDP Programs Bring About Significant Change in Legislation, Regulations, and Judicial Practices

The factors that contribute to successful CLDP programs in foreign countries include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature of the relationship forged by CLDP with foreign counterparts,
  • The quality of CLDP’s experts, and
  • The multidimensional nature of CLDP’s approach.

The Nature of the Relationship Forged by CLDP with Host Country Governments

A key factor of CLDP’s effectiveness includes building positive relationships with foreign officials who become champions for change. CLDP’s staff greatly contribute to building trust with foreign officials, as many of CLDP’s   lawyers and specialists have significant experience living and working overseas, including serving in the U.S. Peace Corps. They speak several languages and understand the core values and constraints of the countries in which CLDP works. This makes it possible to develop customized programs that modernize foreign laws and regulations in response to country-specific needs, and in a manner consistent with each country’s values and constraints. This approach, combined with the quality of CLDP’s experts, results in relationships based on trust with foreign counterparts, a necessary condition for change.

The Quality of CLDP’s Experts

CLDP programs involve U.S. experts who share their practical experience with foreign counterparts through exercises, simulated negotiations, and the discussion of case studies. CLDP’s in-house experts specialize in fields such as intellectual property, technology transfer, telecommunications, arbitration, energy, and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards. In addition, CLDP can call upon networks of uniquely qualified experts from federal agencies, the judiciary, and the private sector, including lawyers interested in pro-bono development work.

In particular, the role of volunteer U.S. federal judges has been important in CLDP programs focused on helping foreign countries modernize legislation and implement updated laws. For example, several U.S. bankruptcy judges were essential in contributing their expertise to the review of insolvency laws in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait. Foreign judges have been more willing to implement new laws when guided by CLDP’s volunteer judges, who can relate to similar challenges and opportunities.

The Multidimensional Nature of CLDP’s Approach

In any country, changes in legislation or regulations usually require a significant amount of interagency cooperation. While most U.S. government agencies have a specialized focus, CLDP’s expertise in commercial law encompasses a broad range of topics. This makes it possible, in any country where it works, for CLDP to effectively foster cooperation among the country’s many agencies, in order to bring about change. In fact, several U.S. embassies have commented on CLDP’s convening power, by which they mean CLDP’s capacity to gather around the same table agencies of a foreign country that do not often interact with each other. 

CLDP Programs Serve as Levers of U.S. Diplomacy

Owing to their effectiveness, CLDP programs have been viewed as useful levers of diplomacy for U.S. embassies as well as for USTR and other federal agencies.

As these programs respond to both U.S. and foreign countries’ needs, they open the door for U.S. embassies to constructively engage their host countries even when the political dialogue is fraying.

For USTR and other agencies engaged in trade negotiations with a foreign country, CLDP technical assistance can have a positive impact on the outcome. For instance, during the negotiations that led to the 2004 U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Morocco stated that important economic reforms were overdue in the country and that abiding by the FTA’s timetable would provide the necessary incentive for Moroccan agencies to coordinate their activities and make the necessary reforms. Therefore, with a few exceptions, Morocco was willing to make changes requested by the U.S. if the U.S. would provide technical assistance to help the country to do so. As a result, CLDP was entrusted with the responsibility of a broad technical assistance program with a triple focus 1) More comprehensive enforcement of intellectual property rights, 2) Broadening the range of acceptable standards in some industries, and 3) Creating an extra-judicial mechanism to resolve government procurement disputes between Morocco and U.S. firms.

Working in close collaboration with the U.S. embassy in Morocco, CLDP engaged constructively high-ranking Moroccan officials and delivered the requested technical assistance. 

Additionally, in exchange for a willingness to provide U.S. firms with greater market access, some countries have asked for assistance in building the capacity of their commercial attachés in order to increase exports and attract foreign investment. In response, CLDP has conducted capacity building programs for commercial attachés from several countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.