What is a DEC?

District Export Councils (DECs) are organizations of leaders from the local business community, appointed by successive Secretaries of Commerce, whose knowledge of international business provides a source of professional advice for local firms.

DECs have served the United States by assisting companies in their local communities export, thus promoting our country’s economic growth and creating new and higher-paying jobs for their communities. Closely affiliated with the Commerce Department’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers, the 58 DECs combine the energies of nearly 1,500 exporters and export service providers who support the U.S. Government’s export promotion efforts throughout the country.

DECs volunteer their time to sponsor and participate in numerous trade promotion activities. They also supply specialized expertise to small and medium-sized businesses that are interested in exporting. Each DEC’s Executive Committee works with the membership to create an annual strategic plan that involves all members in mission fulfillment.


How Were DECs Formed?

District Export Councils (DECs) which are affiliated with the U.S. Department of Commerce date from 1973 when the President directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish DECs throughout the United States to stimulate greater participation in a national export effort. DECs are an organization of local community leaders appointed by the Secretary of Commerce whose knowledge of international business provides a source of professional advice to companies seeking to expand international sales. DECs play a major role in the planning and coordination of export expansion activities of the U.S. Department of Commerce and serve as a communication link between the business community and the Department.

Recommendations for appointment are based on the individual’s position in the local business community, knowledge of day-to-day international operations, interest in export development, and willingness and ability to devote time to the council — at his or her own expense.

Some Puerto Rico DEC achievements:

• Collaboration in the activation of the Foreign Trade Zone of the Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla Puerto Rico.

• Alliance with the Inter-American University, Metro Campus, in which workshops have been given to the community on export fundamentals and advised students and professors on international trade.

• Active participation in professional entities to promote exports such as the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce, Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, the Puerto Rico Minority Suppliers Development Council, PR Small Business Development Center, PRIMEX, Colmena 66 and the Venture Accelerator Program from Grupo Guayacan.

• International trade workshops for entrepreneurs participating in the commercial missions of the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company.

• Key role in the waiver of the US Department of Transportation, that allows the international transfer of cargo in the Island’s three airports.

• Recognition of the PR DEC by the Echar Pa’ Lante Multisectorial Alliance, for promoting international trade in Puerto Rico.

• Integration at the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce as an Affiliate Member.