H.R.3981 - United States Commercial Center Pilot Program Act of 1991102nd Congress (1991-1992)
|Sponsor:||Rep. Levin, Sander M. [D-MI-17] (Introduced 11/26/1991)|
|Committees:||House - Foreign Affairs|
|Latest Action:||House - 12/10/1991 Referred to the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs. (All Actions)|
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Text: H.R.3981 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)
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Introduced in House
HR 3981 IH 102d CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 3981 To authorize the Secretary of Commerce to establish a pilot program to promote United States goods and services through United States Commercial Centers. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES November 26, 1991 Mr. LEVIN of Michigan (for himself, Mr. MCGRATH, Mr. GEPHARDT, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. HOUGHTON, Mrs. COLLINS of Illinois, Mr. WOLPE, Mr. ACKERMAN, Mr. ANTHONY, Mr. BOEHLERT, Mr. BRYANT, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. CARPER, Mr. DORGAN of North Dakota, Mr. FLAKE, Mr. GILMAN, Mr. GRANDY, Mr. GREEN, Mr. GUARINI, Mr. HOCHBRUECKNER, Ms. HORN, Mr. JONTZ, Ms. KAPTUR, Mrs. KENNELLY, Mr. MATSUI, Mr. MCMILLAN of North Carolina, Mr. MINETA, Mr. MOODY, Mr. OWENS of Utah, Mr. PEASE, Mr. REGULA, Mr. RUSSO, Mr. SARPALIUS, Mr. SPRATT, Mr. STARK, Mr. TRAXLER, Mr. VISCLOSKY, Mr. WISE, Mr. WOLF, Mr. WYDEN, and Mr. ZELIFF) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs A BILL To authorize the Secretary of Commerce to establish a pilot program to promote United States goods and services through United States Commercial Centers. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the `United States Commercial Center Pilot Program Act of 1991'. SEC. 2. UNITED STATES COMMERCIAL CENTERS. (a) ESTABLISHMENT- The Secretary of Commerce shall establish, as a pilot program, a United States Commercial Center (hereinafter in this section referred to as a `Center') in one Baltic country, in one of the former Soviet republics in addition to a Baltic country, in one country in Asia, and in one country in Latin America. (b) PURPOSES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE CENTERS- The purposes of the Centers shall be to provide additional resources for the promotion of exports of United States goods and services to the host countries, by-- (1) familiarizing United States businesses with the industries, markets, and customs of the host countries, thus facilitating commercial ties and trade; (2) collecting and publishing economic and market data with respect to the host countries; (3) with respect to the Baltic Republics and the former Soviet Republic, providing assistance in the coordination and delivery of technical assistance by the United States Government to the governments and business enterprises of the host countries; (4) providing, on a user-fee basis, first-stage technical, legal, clerical, language translation, and administrative assistance to United States businesses seeking to do business in the host countries; and (5) in other ways promoting exports of United States goods and services to the host countries. (c) SPECIFIC SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED- To carry out its objectives, each Center shall make available the following (on a user-fee basis): (1) BUSINESS FACILITIES- Business facilities for use by United States businesses, including exhibition space, conference rooms, office space (including telephones and other basic office equipment), and, where warranted by impeding deficiencies in the public system, high quality international telecommunications facilities, (2) BUSINESS SERVICES- Business support services for United States businesses, including language translation services, clerical services, and a commercial library containing a comprehensive collection of reference materials covering United States and host country industries and markets, and (3) COMMERCIAL LAW INFORMATION SERVICES- Commercial law information services for United States businesses and host country agencies and businesses, including-- (A) a clearing house for information regarding the commercial codes of the United States and the host country; (B) assistance and recommendations regarding the modernization of the host country's commercial code and administrative procedures as they affect United States trade; (C) publications to assist United States businesses; and (D) legal referral services. (d) OTHER TRADE PROMOTION ACTIVITIES- Each Center shall also promote United States export trade by-- (1) facilitating contacts between buyers, sellers, bankers, traders, distributors, and necessary government officials from the United States and the host country; (2) coordinating trade missions; and (3) assisting with applications, contracts, and import and export clearances. (e) STAFFING OF CENTERS- (1) IN GENERAL- Each center established under this section shall be staffed by members of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, other employees of the Department of Commerce, employees of other appropriate Executive branch agencies, and Foreign Trade Fellows appointed pursuant to paragraph 3. (2) REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHER AGENCIES- Employees of Executive branch agencies, other than the Department of Commerce, shall be assigned or detailed to a Center on a reimbursement basis. (3) FOREIGN TRADE FELLOWS- The Secretary of Commerce shall appoint United States citizens as Foreign Trade Fellows to assist United States Government employees in staffing the Centers established under this section. The Secretary shall actively recruit individuals to serve as Foreign Trade Fellows from United States businesses, trade associations, labor unions, and the academic community. In order to facilitate the service of individuals (such as those from the academic community and smaller businesses) as Foreign Trade Fellows, the Secretary may make grants or provide stipends to Foreign Trade Fellows and may reimburse them for expenses they incur as the result of their service as Foreign Trade Fellows. (f) BUSINESS CONSORTIA- In Commercial Center host countries in which the Secretary of Commerce deems it appropriate, the Secretary of Commerce shall assist U.S. businesses in forming industry consortia designed to establish a business presence and promote U.S. exports in each of those countries. Such consortia will be formed by non-profit U.S. trade or business organizations and will represent the export interests of a particular domestic industry. The Secretary may give grants as seed money for these consortia, which will establish offices in the cities in which the Commercial Centers are located. The consortia will provide promotional, marketing and trade facilitation services to its members. (g) FREE MARKET BUSINESS EXCHANGE PROGRAM- With respect to the Baltic countries and the other former Soviet Republic, the Secretary shall establish an exchange program in which citizens of the countries in which the Commercial Centers are located shall be chosen for a fellowship with an American business or trade association participating in the Foreign Trade Fellows Program. The citizens chosen shall work with the participating U.S. businesses in the United States, the purpose of which is for the citizens of the Baltic country or former Soviet republic to learn business practices and free-market concepts and to take advantage of technical assistance available at the U.S. business. (h) CENTER FACILITIES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE OPERATIONS IN HOST COUNTRIES- (1) PHYSICAL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE CENTERS- The Secretary of Commerce shall locate each Commercial Center in the primary commercial city of the host country. In the case of the Baltic countries, one Commercial Center will serve all three countries. The Secretary shall acquire office space, exhibition space and other facilities and equipment that are necessary for each Center to perform its functions. To the extent feasible, each Center shall be located in the central commercial district of the host city. (2) CONSOLIDATION OF DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE OPERATIONS IN HOST COUNTRIES- For the purpose of obtaining maximum effectiveness and efficiency and to the extent consistent with the purposes of the Centers, the Secretary of Commerce is authorized and encouraged to place all personnel of the Department of Commerce who are assigned to the city in which a Center is located in the same facilities as those in which the Center conducts its activities. The Secretary is authorized and encouraged to integrate activities of the Department of Commerce in the host country. This paragraph shall not be construed to authorize inefficient duplicative activities or facilities. (i) ASSISTANCE TO BUSINESSES AND GOVERNMENTS OF HOST COUNTRIES- For the purpose of stimulating and improving the commercial opportunities of United States businesses in the host countries, the Secretary of Commerce is authorized and encouraged to utilize, where applicable, the resources of the Centers, including Trade Fellows, to provide technical assistance to the business enterprises and governments of the host countries. The determination to provide such technical assistance, as well as the type, quantity, schedule, and means of assistance, shall be made in cooperation and consultation with the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the Agency for International Development, and such other Executive branch officials as the President may designate. In the case of the Baltic countries and the former Soviet republic, the President shall appoint a Coordinator of Technical Assistance, whose duties shall be to coordinate the rendering of technical assistance from both the business community and governmental programs, including, but not limited to, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Trade and Development Program, the Agency for International Development and the Export-Import Bank. (j) USE OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT COOPERATOR PROGRAM- The Secretary of Commerce shall, to the greatest extent feasible, use the Market Development Cooperator Program established under section 2303 of the Export Enhancement Act of 1988 (15 U.S.C. 4723) to assist in carrying out the purposes of the Centers established under this section. (k) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Commerce $23,000,000 to carry out this section. Funds made available under this subsection may be used for the acquisition of real property. (l) REPORTS TO CONGRESS- The Secretary of Commerce shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate-- (1) not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, a report on the establishment and operations of the Centers provided under this section; and, (2) not later than 1 year after such date of the enactment, a report on the status, activities, and effectiveness of the Centers established under this section. The report under paragraph (2) shall include any recommendations with respect to the pilot program established under this section.