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The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project planning activities, pilot projects, and reverse trade missions while creating sustainable infrastructure and economic growth in partner countries.

USTDA promotes economic growth in emerging economies by facilitating the participation of U.S. businesses in the planning and execution of priority development projects in host countries. The Agency’s objectives are to help build the infrastructure for trade, match U.S. technological expertise with overseas development needs, and help create lasting business partnerships between the United States and emerging economies.

Priority Sectors

USTDA’s priority sectors include energy, transportation and telecommunications.

Priority Regions

USTDA is organized into five regions of the world including East Asia; Latin America and the Caribbean; Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Eurasia; South and Southeast Asia; and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Introduction to USTDA Programs

USTDA’s programs support $85 in exports of U.S.-manufactured goods and services for every $1 programmed for priority development projects in emerging markets. The Agency’s programs have generated over $56 billion in U.S. exports, supporting an estimated 300,000 U.S. jobs, since USTDA was established in 1992.

USTDA carries out its mission by providing grants directly to overseas project sponsors who, in turn, select U.S. companies to perform the USTDA-funded activities.

USTDA evaluates projects primarily based on:

  • Their priority to the project sponsor and the countries where they are located and their likelihood of receiving implementation financing; and
  • Whether they offer mutual economic benefit for the host country and the United States, including opportunities for U.S. firms to export goods and services into those projects.

USTDA also considers a project’s potential adverse environmental and labor implications and makes recommendations to avoid and/or mitigate either prior to a funding commitment by the Agency.

USTDA's Program Activities

USTDA accomplishes its mission by funding: 1) project identification and investment analysis, and 2) trade capacity building and sector development activities. Project identification and investment analysis generally involves technical assistance and feasibility studies that support large investments in infrastructure that contribute to overseas development. Trade capacity building and sector development assistance supports the establishment of industry standards, rules and regulations, market liberalization and other policy reform.

International Business Partnership Program

Under the Agency’s International Business Partnership Program, USTDA has increased its support for programs designed to bring procurement officials to the United States to witness U.S. technology and ingenuity firsthand and develop the relationships with U.S. companies necessary to spur increased exports to emerging economies. By increasing investments in reverse trade missions, technology demonstrations, training and specialized sector-specific workshops and conferences, USTDA is helping U.S. industry create high-paying export related jobs.

USTDA's Relationship with Small Businesses

Small businesses are the foundation of the U.S. economy and hence play a critical role in the global marketplace. USTDA, through its unique foreign assistance program, is proud to support U.S. small businesses by helping them expand into emerging economies. In carrying out its mission, USTDA relies upon the technical expertise of small consulting and engineering firms to perform due diligence activities that help define projects, provide sector specific guidance, and evaluate technical and economic impacts for every project USTDA considers for funding. In addition to Definitional Mission (DM) and Desk Study (DS) contract opportunities, small businesses successfully compete for larger USTDA-funded projects such as feasibility studies, training and technical assistance activities. In fact, small businesses are awarded over 40% of these larger international contracts that range from $100,000 to $1 million. One of the key benefits of working with USTDA from the viewpoint of a small business is gaining access to international markets that are difficult and often cumbersome to navigate. As a result, many small businesses have been able to grow via the international contacts they have made while working with USTDA.

Working with U.S. Industry to Open Markets for U.S. Exports

Working with industry trade associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers and the United States Energy Association and private industry that is looking to expand sales opportunities overseas, USTDA has developed a successful program that marries both the development needs of our partner countries with the best U.S. expertise and ingenuity in the manufacturing and services sectors. These partnerships assist in guiding USTDA investments toward projects that are most likely to be implemented using U.S. goods and services.

Additional Information

USTDA is a foreign assistance agency pursuant to section 661 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (22 USC 2421).