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For Immediate Release:March 30, 2006
Contact:Matt Englehart  (202) 482-3809

U.S. Commercial Service Targets Hurricane-affected Companies for
Special Export Promotion, Costs for Key Services Cut in Half

New Orleans - The Commerce Department's U.S. Commercial Service (USFCS) today announced it will dramatically reduce the costs of several of its export programs for U.S. businesses affected by hurricane disasters to encourage exporting and help them in their economic recovery efforts.

"With 95 percent of the world's consumers outside of the United States, we must ensure that businesses affected by recent major hurricane disasters can continue selling internationally," said Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion and Director-General of the U.S. Commercial Service. "The Bush Administration is committed to giving these businesses all the tools needed to help them expand their export sales."

Reduced fees will be provided until all USFCS funds reserved for the program are spent or until Sept. 30, 2006. For U.S. companies that produce goods or services in U.S.- Declared Hurricane Major Disaster Areas, the USFCS International Partner Search, International Company Profile and Gold Key Service fees will be reduced by 50 percent:

  • The Gold Key is a matchmaking service provided by all commercial sections of the USFCS at U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 80 countries. It brings together U.S. exporters and potential foreign business partners.
  • The International Partner Search locates qualified foreign distributors and agents, and provides listings to the requesting U.S. company.
  • The International Company Profile conducts background checks, and provides American firms with information on the good standing of potential foreign business partners.

In addition the cost of Commercial Service trade missions will be reduced by an amount equal to 50 percent of the aggregate cost of a one-day Gold Key Service (GKS) in each of the mission stops. Companies participating in this program may receive no more than one each of the following at the reduced cost: IPS, ICP, and trade missions. Companies may receive no more than three GKSs at the reduced cost.

With its network of offices across the U.S. and in more than 80 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. In 2005, the U.S. Commercial Service helped generate nearly 12,500 export successes worth billions of dollars in U.S. export sales.

Currently the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has designated U.S.- Declared Hurricane Major Disaster Areas in parts of six states, including North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana. Visit to find your nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center and link to the FEMA Web site.

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