U.S. Businesses

Over the years, CLDP, working at the behest of U.S. embassies in close cooperation with the U.S. interagency, has brought significant changes overseas that benefit U.S. firms in two main ways:

  • By lowering barriers to trade that limit U.S exports.
  • By creating a more level playing field for U.S. firms overseas.

 Lowering Barriers to Trade

CLDP programs target barriers to trade that U.S. firms often face overseas, such as corruption, the non-acceptance of U.S. standards, and inefficient foreign customs services.

A/ Fighting Corruption

CLDP programs have been effective in reducing corruption in several countries, including Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq:

  • Ukraine: CLDP contributed to the development of Ukraine’s ProZorro public e-procurement system that has been credited with reducing corruption by being more transparent and publicly accessible. The system was developed in partnership with Transparency International Ukraine, government representatives, private actors, and anticorruption activists.
  • Afghanistan: CLDP assisted in the establishment of the Business Integrity Network in Afghanistan (BINA), a private-sector organization committed to fighting corruption. CLDP strengthened the organization by sponsoring BINA delegations to attend conferences and consultations with other anticorruption institutions outside of Afghanistan.
  • Iraq: CLDP helped the U.S. embassy launch UNCTAD’s eRegulations program. (UNCTAD is the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). This program posts online all the steps required to complete an administrative process, such as obtaining a business license. This has already resulted in a significant streamlining of some administrative procedures. This, in turn, reduced corruption since the fewer steps there are in administrative procedures, the fewer opportunities there are for officials to request bribes to approve moving from one step to the next.

B/ Ensuring Acceptance of U.S. Standards in Foreign Countries

Whereas U.S. industry is mostly self-regulated, European countries have enacted safety standards for numerous industries. Developing countries often adopt these standards, which can create challenges for U.S. exporters. Over the years, CLDP has addressed this issue by organizing study tours in the U.S. for officials from foreign standards-setting offices. During these study tours, foreign officials learn about the thoroughness of U.S. standards set by industry, which in turn can result in the foreign country’s acceptance of U.S. standards. A successful example includes a CLDP study tour for Moroccan officials on U.S. automotive safety standards at the time of the negotiation of the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement.

C/ Improving the Efficiency of Foreign Customs Services

With Customs and Border Patrol’s (CBP) assistance, CLDP has worked closely with several countries to help them ensure transparency in customs services as well as advance notice of new customs regulations. This was the case in Central America’s Northern Triangle Countries (El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala) where CLDP works to increase regional customs integration through interagency cooperation and publication of trade-related information.

Also in cooperation with CBP, CLDP has helped countries in  several continents develop advanced customs ruling systems in compliance with the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (e.g., in Sri Lanka, Ukraine, and Oman),With CBP’s assistance, CLDP has also worked with several countries to help them develop Customs risk management systems and, in particular adopt the mechanism of Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) (e.g., in Kosovo and Ukraine). As defined by CBP: “Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs create customs-to-business partnerships aimed at securing the supply chain and facilitating legitimate low-risk trade. AEO are examined at the border significantly less than regular cross-border traders.

 

Creating a More Level Playing Field

CLDP’s technical assistance has created a more level playing field overseas for U.S. firms, in five main domains:

  • Effective enforcement of intellectual property rights,
  • Greater transparency in government procurement,
  • More efficient dispute resolution mechanisms,
  • Overseas legislation conducive to investment by U.S. firms, and  
  • Regulations that make franchising possible.

A/ Effective Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

In cooperation with USPTO, CLDP has trained the judiciaries and regulatory agencies of several countries in enforcing intellectual property rights (IPR). As a result, in several countries, local courts or regulatory agencies have found for U.S. firms in their disputes with local infringers. This was the case in Pakistan and Algeria.

In a 2004 cable, the U.S. embassy in Algeria reported that the head of the Algeria operations of a major U.S. consumer products corporation credited CLDP's judicial capacity building program with “playing a crucial role in changing the legal environment for IPR enforcement in Algeria.” The company official noted that the corporation had sued, in Algeria, two different infringers and in both instances, the court found for the U.S. corporation. The corporation official noted that the judge who issued the two landmark decisions in favor of the U.S. corporation applied enforcement expertise gained through CLDP's judicial training program. The rulings resulted in the corporation increasing its investments in Algeria.

B/ Greater Transparency in Government Procurement

CLDP, working closely with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), has helped several countries create transparent eProcurement systems, based on best value and effective bid protest mechanisms. For instance, the eProcurement system developed with CLDP’s assistance by the Dominican Republic is now viewed as a model in Latin America where other countries have asked for CLDP’s assistance to create similar eProcurement systems.

C/ More Efficient Dispute Resolution Mechanisms

CLDP, working with the U.S. judiciary, has helped several countries create specialized commercial courts and has trained their judges (e.g., in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain). CLDP has also trained these judiciaries to enforce alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as the judicial enforcement of arbitral awards under the New York Convention.

D/ Overseas Legislation Conducive to Investment by U.S. Firms

Energy Law

CLDP has helped several countries modernize their energy laws and contracts to make them conducive to investment by U.S. firms. CLDP did so both in the power sector and the oil and gas sector.

Power Sector

CLDP played a key role in the Power Africa program.

Power Africa was launched by USAID in 2013 to bring together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. A key pillar of Power Africa’s approach entailed building the requisite capacity to help generate a sustainable power sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and to attract private capital to develop necessary power infrastructure.

As part of Power Africa's broad coalition of implementing partners, CLDP has worked alongside African governments and private sector stakeholders to improve the environment for private investment in power projects in the African market. CLDP conducted capacity building workshops for officials of several African countries. In addition, in order to foster a broad understanding of the conditions that must be met for private investors to take the risk of investing in power plants in Africa, CLDP in partnership with the Africa Development Bank’s African Legal Support Facility, organized the work of groups of experts, which resulted in the publication by CLDP of three landmark books. The first was focused on best practices for negotiating Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). Over 15,000 copies were distributed in print and numerous Power Africa partner governments have been using the handbook as a reference guide for PPA negotiations. In response to requests to prepare a handbook on the best practices of power project financing, CLDP again partnered with the Africa Legal Support Facility to conduct consultations which resulted in the publication of two more handbooks: “Understanding Power Project Financing” and “Understanding Power Project Procurement.”

Oil and Gas

CLDP helped countries in several continents learn how to negotiate durable contracts with international oil companies. This was the case in particular, in Iraq and in Myanmar. In Iraq, in order to overcome significant opposition to foreign investment in the oil and gas sector , CLDP developed economic models showing, for several key oil fields, the present value of cash flows that, under realistic assumptions, would be received respectively by Iraq and by foreign investors over 25 years. These models showed that Iraq was getting the lion’s share of revenues, which ended the controversy about foreign investment.

Public-Private Partnerships

CLDP has helped several countries develop Public-Private Partnership (PPP) laws consistent with international best practices and it has trained these countries’ PPP units in selecting and structuring bankable projects attractive to foreign investors. Among these countries are Qatar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, and Mali.

E/ Regulations That Make Franchising Possible

CLDP has helped several countries develop regulations that made franchising possible. Working with each country’s private sector, CLDP helped develop standard franchising contracts consistent with best practices. As a result, franchisees of U.S. firms now operate in such countries as Algeria, Iraq, and Tunisia.

Upcoming Programs

July 1, 2020 - September 30, 2020

In July, August, and September 2020, CLDP, in collaboration with USTR and the University of Missouri, will provide virtual business fundamental courses to 20 Salvadoran textile representatives. CLDP has partnered with a textile and apparel expert who will conduct group sessions, as well as tailored sessions depending on the needs and businesses of the selected representatives. Lessons will cover business plan development and implementation, mentorship opportunities, local business resources, and personnel management. Furthermore, the sessions will give the Salvadoran textiles representatives the opportunity to begin developing comprehensive plans to effectively disseminate the knowledge they acquire during this program broadly across the industry with other textile professionals in El Salvador. Participants, who represent the Salvadoran private sector, key government agencies, and academia, will continue to engage their U.S. counterparts in this project for the remainder of the CLDP programming throughout 2021. This project is a part of CLDP’s and USTR’s capacity-building program to improve regional prosperity by fostering human and institutional capacity to improve the competitiveness of the Salvadoran textile industry.

July 29, 2020 - September 30, 2020

CLDP initiated a series of virtual meetings connecting Afghan representatives with Ambassador Shahzad Aroybee, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic. The meetings served to discuss how CLDP can work with the Afghan Embassy in the Czech Republic to support Afghanistan’s trade and agribusiness sectors, and to facilitate implementation of memoranda of understanding (MOU) focusing on trade facilitation between the two countries, which are currently being drafted. This series of meetings also connected the Afghan and Czech private sector and business communities, ultimately outlining an actionable road map including a business forum and eventual trade show. Through these conversations, private sector representatives from both countries, along with the Ambassador, discussed the existing barriers to trade between Afghanistan and the Czech Republic, and raised proposed recommendations to incorporate into the plan as the business forum approaches.

CLDP in Action

July 30, 2020

As part of an ongoing collaboration with the Department of Commerce’s Office of Russia, Europe, and Eurasia (ORUE)CLDP participated in a video meeting with Javlon Vakhabov, the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the United States on June 25, 2020, to discuss Uzbekistan’s Strategy for the Development of Agriculture in 2020-2030.