Cablegate: 2010 Bfif Proposal: Building Amcham Capacity and Promoting


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E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: 2010 BFIF Proposal: Building AMCHAM Capacity and Promoting
Corporate Social Responsibility

REF: 09STATE126674

1. Embassy La Paz is pleased to respond to EEB/CBA's
Solicitation for 2010 Business Facilitation Incentive Fund program
proposals with a request for funding for two projects: 1) capacity
building for the American Chamber of Commerce Bolivia (AMCHAM
Bolivia) and 2) support for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
and "Doing Business with America" programming at ExpoCruz 2010.
These projects are designed to support the State Department's goals
of encouraging private sector growth and investment and opening
markets and creating opportunities for U.S. goods and services.


Project 1: Capacity Building for the American Chamber of Commerce
in Bolivia


2. With the AMCHAM Bolivia Board of Director's concurrence,
Post would like to use BFIF funds to build capacity at the chamber
to track and advocate for trade policy benefitting United States
and Bolivian trade and expand business facilitation services for
Bolivian businesses. Current Government of Bolivia economic policy
rejects capitalism in favor of state control and management, with
President Morales regularly stating that "capitalism is the
greatest enemy of humanity." This, combined with the general
downturn in the American economy and the cancelation of Bolivian's
trade preferences under the Andean Trade Preference and Drug
Eradication Act (ATPDEA), has led to a diminished American business
community presence and a decline in overall bilateral trade.

3. In this context, AMCHAM Bolivia is struggling to maintain
its relevance, yet with over 16,500 companies and individuals as
members, including many of the largest corporations operating in
the country, it retains a significant and active membership who
would like to see trade between the United States and Bolivia
resurge. It is also a logical venue for promoting the benefits of
free trade and highlighting the contributions a market economy can
offer a society. Recent AMCHAM activity has been focused around
meetings and seminars on these topics, which in response to a
survey conducted the last year, the membership said it found
interesting, but not terribly relevant. Discussion of this finding
and the operating context, has led to strong board support for
adding a trade policy project and for strengthening business
facilitation services offered by the chamber.

4. Both the Embassy Commercial Office and AMCHAM Bolivia
receive periodic requests from Bolivian businesses looking to
export to the United States, and to a lesser extent Bolivian
businesses looking for American suppliers or other types of
American partnerships. These Bolivian businesses find it difficult
and inconvenient to come to the U.S. Embassy and in some cases are
looking for specialized services, such as background checks or
product or brand promotion that the Embassy does not offer. Seeing
this situation as an opportunity , the AMCHAM Bolivia Board would
like to explore the possibility of a partnership that builds AMCHAM
Bolivia's capacity to provide the following types of services to
Bolivian businesses: tracking of both Unites States and Bolivian
trade issues, development of and advocacy for trade policy
recommendations (in coordination with other industry associations
as appropriate), technical assistance to (new) exporters to the
U.S. market, coordination of Bolivian industry participation in
U.S. trade shows, and responding to general inquiries about doing
business with the United States from Bolivian businesses. The
AMCHAM Bolivia has indicated its willingness to devote office space
and the services of administrative staff to this effort. However,
there is currently no one on the Chamber's staff with the
background to handle the research and customer service aspects of
this effort.

5. Post requests BFIF support for: the first six months
salary of a new hire ($6,000), new hire training at AACCLA
($6,000), and the purchase and installation of web-based
import-export resources and matching making tools ($3,000). It is
anticipated that after six months, the chamber will pick up the
salary of the trade analyst.

6. Total Budget Request: $15,000


Project 2: Corporate Social Responsibility and "Doing Business
with America" Programming at ExpoCruz 2010


7. For the past several years, AMCHAM Bolivia has organized
the USA Pavilion at Bolivia's largest trade show, ExpoCruz, held
every September in Santa Cruz. This show has been a U.S.
Department of Commerce certified trade fair for many years and is
applying again in 2010. Post would like to use BFIF funds to
promote Corporate Social Responsibility issues, and underwrite a
"How to Do Business with the U.S." seminar at the fair. Post
believes that this widely attended and highly visible venue
provides an excellent opportunity to promote a shared Bolivian and
U.S. interest in the social contributions of private enterprise and
highlight U.S. interest in maintaining an active trade portfolio
with Bolivia.

8. Post will use BFIF funds to register for booth space
within the American Pavilion at the show and will offer several
local NGOs working on CSR issues including el Consejo Empresarial
para el Desarrollo Sostenible (CEDES), Instituto Boliviano de
Comercio Exterior (IBCE), and Centro para Promocion de Technologias
Sostenibles (CPTS), a USAID grantee, the opportunity to staff the
booth and promote their work. Post will work with AMCHAM Bolivia
and relevant US organizations to identify U.S. private sector CSR
exemplars and invite them to participate in ExpoCruz within the
American Pavilion. Post has included a request for a CSR expert as
part of our 2010 Speakers Program requests. Ideally, this person
would be available to make a presentation at the fair.

9. At the same show, Post would like to complement our AMCHAM
Bolivia capacity building initiative described above by supporting
an AMCHAM-sponsored "Doing Business with the United States"
seminar. Possible speakers for the "Doing Business with the U.S.
program are a Commercial Service representative from another
Embassy in the region; the new trade analyst and business
facilitation specialist hired into the AMCHAM; a specialist from
the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC; and representatives
from AMCHAM member businesses that have successfully entered into
partnerships with U.S. companies or who are currently exporting to
the United States. The proposed agenda includes discussion of
finding a U.S. partner, what U.S. companies need and want from
local partners, how to import products from Bolivia to the U.S.,
and business facilitation services offered by the AMCHAM to member
companies. If this project is approved, Post will use fees
generated through our fee-for-service business facilitation program
to repeat the seminar at a venue in the city of La Paz while the
speakers are in the country.

10. Post requests BFIF funding for: trade show registration fees
($2,000) and for travel and per diem for speakers ($5,000).

11. Total Budget Request: $7,000.

12. Please do not hesitate to contact Lori Michaelson, Economic
Officer, for additional information about either of these proposals
( or 202-370-6257

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