Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Sarbanes, and Members of this Committee, it is an honor and a privilege to come before you as President Clinton's nominee for the position of Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service. Thank you for scheduling this hearing during a very busy time of the session. I appreciate your indulgence and look forward, if I am confirmed, to working with the members and staff of this Committee on matters related to export promotion.
I would like to thank Senator Sarbanes for his kind introduction. Senator Sarbanes is a hero in Maryland: a stalwart defender of Maryland's communities, its workers, its consumers and its trade interests. He is a model of public service at its best. Long an admirer of the Senator's wisdom, integrity and quiet strength, I am grateful for his personal support.
I also want to thank President Clinton, Secretary of Commerce William Dailey, Deputy Secretary Robert Mallett, and Under Secretary David Aaron, for their support of my nomination. It is an opportunity that I never thought possible, and I will work hard, if confirmed, to meet their expectations.
Mr. Chairman, the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, in the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce, is the agency primarily responsible for increasing the export activity of U.S. businesses. With a coordinated network that includes about 100 domestic field offices and 130 offices around the world, the US&FCS works directly with small and medium-sized businesses to help them enter into and/or increase their market share in the international export market. It does this by providing businesses with counseling, technical assistance, overseas market research and services such as international contacts, match-ups with potential local agents or distributors, and access to computerized trade leads and other exportrelated information. For a number of years I have focused on domestic economic development helping America's distressed communities build or maintain their competitive economic standing in the national economy. From that perspective, I understand clearly the job-creating benefits and economic growth that export trade can bring to our towns, cities and states. The domestic offices of the US&FCS work closely with state and local partners, including local economic development agencies, world trade centers, and district export councils, to help thousands of businesses launch into the export arena every year. They coordinate with your local offices to ensure adequacy of services and coverage. They coordinate with other Commerce offices to ensure seamless delivery of services.
The offices overseas help businesses navigate the local commercial environment in countries around the world. My experience as a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving in Africa and South Asia, gave me a deep and personal understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing American companies that wish to do business or establish exporting bases abroad. The Foreign Commercial Officers serving abroad provide knowledgeable local support for our businesses. They are our eyes and ears for export opportunities, which they pass on to a centralized data base accessible by businesses. The US&FCS also coordinates export promotion events for American businesses, such as trade missions -- whether governor-led, congressional-led, FCS-led or Secretary-led -- trade fairs, and catalog shows, to expose them to high-potential market opportunities. In sum, the US&FCS supports the U.S. economy by providing practical, strategic and effective assistance to businesses to increase their export potential. If confirmed, I would like to bring my experience, skills and commitment to bear in helping the US&FCS provide the best array of services and products possible to promote exporting among our nation's small and medium sized businesses.
In this day and age, it is imperative that our nation's communities develop the infrastructure and capacity necessary to help businesses exploit international market opportunities. And opportunities are plenty. America has certain advantages in the international market. We have a seemingly unlimited variety of top quality goods and services to sell overseas, our businesses are feisty market survivors, and our government is dedicated to helping eliminate barriers and increase access to markets around the world. If confirmed, I would work closely with sister agencies in the Department of Commerce or other parts of the government to increase the capacity of America's communities to promote international exports by their local businesses.
In addition to understanding the basics of trade and economic development, and understanding the overseas environment and the U.S. institutions abroad that support U.S. business efforts, the US&FCS' job of increasing America's international market share also requires good management and adequate resources. If confirmed, I would bring to this wellrespected agency substantial skills in agency management, management reform and effectiveness, program management and evaluation, budget development and execution, technical assistance, and legal support. I would work toward achieving (1) effective delivery, through the most skilled staff and up-to-date technology, of the services needed by our nation's small and medium-sized businesses to enter into or expand operations in the export market, (2) optimal deployment of the US&FCS domestic and international field offices and staff, and (3) a well-managed and coordinated operation with adequate resources to do the job.
The work of helping America's small and medium-sized businesses increase their rate of exports requires effective coordination. If confirmed, I intend to maintain a close and synergistic level of coordination with those who would be my peers in ITA: Patrick Mulloy, who was recently confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Market Access & Compliance, and my colleague here today, Michael Copps, who is nominated to be Assistant Secretary for Trade Development. In addition, I would develop and maintain a cooperative and responsive relationship with the members of this Committee and their staff, as well as other members of Congress and staff interested in export promotion.
This opportunity to serve the American public as Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service would not have happened without the support and love of my family and friends who are with me today. I am only a reflection of their hard work, family and ethical values, community spirit, and love of country. It has been a long journey for our family -- from Puerto Rico to Aberdeen, Maryland, and for me onward to Washington. My mother, Providencia Marquez Zeigler is truly the wind beneath my wings. Her encouragement and support inspire me to strive for excellence, and she serves as my model of what grace, good-heartedness, determination and leadership should be. My father -- an Army officer -- did not live to see the fruit of his labor in me, but he instilled in me a strong work ethic. My stepfather, Bob Zeigler, has provided strong support and comfort. My sister, Myriam Marquez, of Annapolis -- a sharp-thinking lawyer is a source of wise counsel and my best friend. My brother, Victor Marquez Jr., is a man of wonderful intellectual curiosity and loving father of my smart and beautiful niece, Tabitha.
I am grateful to the Harry Truman Scholarship Foundation for investing in me as their Maryland Scholar in 1978. You, the Congress, established the Truman Scholarship to promote public service careers among college students of high academic and community service achievement. The Foundation's vote of confidence changed my life, forging my commitment to public service forever. It is represented here today by its current and future Resident Scholars, Meredith Moss and Moira Smith.
With the support of family, friends and patriots such as these here today, I believe I am ready and able, if confirmed, to take on the responsibility for which I have been nominated.
Thank you again for allowing me to appear before you today. I would be happy to answer
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