I am excited to visit Brussels again and to learn about the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Commercial Service. While I know a little bit about these organizations already, it will be a great experience to hear more about their roles in Brussels and throughout Europe by people who work for the organizations. I am hoping that we will be able to tour some of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, in addition to hearing a presentation about it.
I wish that I had learned more about the U.S. Embassy and Commercial Service from the presentation. However, it was still cool learning a little bit about each one, and that led me to do some research on my own about each organization. During the presentation, I learned that the U.S. Embassy has locations throughout the world and that they act as a type of mediator between the U.S. and the country that they are in. They are also available to help U.S. citizens who are visiting, or living in, that country, in case they have any legal problems that they need help with. I also learned that the people who work for the U.S. Embassy or Commercial Service must be willing to move anywhere in the world for their job, which will require them to adapt to many different cultures. This could include cultures that are very different from our own, such as those in China or the Middle East. My favorite part of the presentation was hearing about where these ambassadors have lived and a learning a little bit about their experiences working for the U.S. Embassy or Commercial Service.
The main purpose of the U.S. Commercial Service is to "support American businesses with inherently governmental and trade promotion activities" ("International Trade Administration"). They have over 100 offices in the U.S. and offices in over 75 countries that are located in U.S. Embassies in those countries. They help U.S. businesses with trade and researching markets in other countries. This has helped greatly increase the number of U.S. exports to other countries and also the number of U.S. jobs. Their work has also "leveled the playing field for U.S. companies exporting abroad" ("International Trade Administration"). "Today, an embassy is the nerve center for a country's diplomatic affairs within the borders of another nation, serving as the headquarters of the chief of mission, staff and other agencies" ("What is a U.S. Embassy?). The U.S. Commercial Service is attached to the embassy, because the embassy has relations with the host country and serves other agencies that had operations in that country. The Gold Key Program is a matching service where "the U.S. Commercial Service can help you find potential overseas agents, distributors, sales representatives and business partners" ("The Gold Key Matching Service"). This has many advantages, such as market research, help finding trading partners, and help setting up business meetings with potential distributors or other business partners. A disadvantage of this is that companies may become too reliant on the U.S. Commercial Service for help, instead of training their own employees to do market research or set up business contacts. Companies should try to become more independent instead of relying on the government for assistance.