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ADVOCACY FAQs

With whom do you share information from my questionnaire?

By submitting the advocacy questionnaire, your company agrees to allow the Advocacy Center to share this document and the information contained therein, on an as needed basis, with other United States Government agencies to carry out appropriate due diligence and more effectively advocate for your interests.  The information in the questionnaire, and any supplementary materials provided by your company, is considered business confidential and will not be shared with any other person or organization outside the U.S. Government unless the Advocacy Center is given permission to do so by your company.  (Supplementary materials includes, among other items, written correspondence and verbal communication.)  All business confidential information will be protected from disclosure to the extent permitted by law.

I am bidding in partnership with another company. Do I need them to sign the Advocacy Questionnaire?

It depends. If your partner, whether foreign or U.S. based, is the “Bidder of Record” for the project, then yes, we need them to sign alongside your signature on both the first and last pages of the Advocacy Questionnaire. If you are the bidder of record but are working with a non-U.S. partner, we may ask your non-U.S. partner to sign the first and last pages Advocacy Questionnaire as well.

My situation is a bit different than those described in the Advocacy Guidelines. Does that mean I can’t apply for advocacy?

The Advocacy Guidelines cannot describe every possible situation. To keep things short and manageable, we tried to describe the great majority of cases we deal with. But there are others, and your situation may be one that is not specifically described by the new Guidelines. Don’t let that stop you, though. Just because your situation isn’t specifically described doesn’t mean we can’t accept your case. Please refer to our on-line Staff Directory to find the Advocacy Center Regional Manager for your country of interest. Contact them first before you begin to fill out the Advocacy Questionnaire.

Can I get “blanket advocacy” for several projects in the same or different countries?

No. We evaluate each tender or competition individually. We need a signed Advocacy Questionnaire for each one. The timelines, potential contract values, and decision makers in each case will be different. Just because we accept a case in one country doesn’t mean we will accept a similar case in another country or even in the same country. The guidelines outline some of the reasons this might occur.

I am interested in a project for which there is no established timeline. Is it too early to apply for advocacy?

Maybe, but not necessarily. We recognize that there are situations in which the pretender process may be just as important as the post-bidding evaluations. If there is a real chance of your company being excluded from bidding if the terms of reference are influenced by other governments, or if we can see that other governments are already attempting to gain favor for their own companies, then we may be able to accept a case before the tender is issued. In such situations, it is probably best to discuss the case with the relevant Regional Manager before submitting an Advocacy Questionnaire. Please refer to our on-line Staff Directory to find the Advocacy Center Regional Manager for your country of interest.

Once my case has been accepted, what are my responsibilities?

Keep us informed about developments in your case. Our Regional Managers do their best to keep up to date on their cases but it is up to you to follow up with them if you learn news relevant to the situation. Also, if your contact information changes or the bidding process is transferred to another company representative, please let us know so that we know whom to contact if there is an opportunity to advocate for your interests. Many such opportunities are short notice meetings or trips by leaders in other agencies, and our managers may have only hours to submit briefing material; so it is important for them to be able to get in touch with you or the responsible company representative to make sure the information we provide is timely, accurate, and, most importantly, that you want the U.S. Government representative to intercede on your behalf at that time. For example, you may have just been notified that you are the front runner in a tender and don’t want us to disturb the situation by pushing more when you are already so close to winning. That’s why we will ask you before we submit your case for meetings or other advocacy opportunities that arise.

Do I need to submit an Advocacy Questionnaire to have an Embassy representative vouch for my company’s reputation and abilities?

Yes. It’s quite a normal everyday occurrence for our Embassy staffs to assist U.S. interests in meeting appropriate officials, potential partners, agents, or possible clients. That’s called “commercial facilitation” and does not need to involve the Advocacy Center. Where the Advocacy Center must be engaged is when you want the Embassy or any U.S. government representative to advocate on behalf of your company for a specific tender.

November 16, 2015


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