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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

The U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (Cleveland District Office) has regional responsibility to foster and promote domestic and international business. The Cleveland District office (along with Cincinnati, one of 2 in Ohio), located at 600 Superior Ave., assists and supports area firms in developing exporting capabilities by providing business leads and export control advice.

The Dept. of Commerce was first represented in Cleveland by Foreign Secretary Fred Roberts in 1915. In the early 1930s, the department representative was housed in the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce; however, in 1932, a separate office was established as one of 34 in the U.S. Although emphasis has always been on international trade, services have varied widely in response to national needs. After WORLD WAR II, the district office counseled returning veterans on opportunities in business ownership. During the KOREAN WAR (1950-1953), the office administered the federal program to allocate critical metals to industry. A minority business opportunity program begun by the Cleveland office in Mar. 1969 was one of several prototype programs established in the nation. When the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service was established in 1981, the Cleveland office was linked directly with 126 foreign service posts overseas, improving the services available to the local business community.

The Commerce Department continued to expand its scope of services to local and regional businesses in the 1990s. In July 1995 the Commerce Dept., in conjunction with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., opened the 6th of 10 U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEAC) in Cleveland. Designed to assist small and medium sized exporters with technical financial data and international business strategies, the Cleveland USEAC is the "hub" for "spoke" offices in Buffalo and Rochester, NY, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Toledo, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. It also serves southern Ohio and West Virginia. The Cleveland USEAC, linked electronically to the regional locations, networks information from the affiliated USEAC agencies. Designed to locate Commerce offices closer to customers, the network provides information on new trade patterns and export service industries, and seeks to integrate the business assistance resources of federal, state, local, and private partner organizations. The Cleveland USEAC is staffed by the Commerce Department's Commercial Service Bureau and the SBA. In 1995, John McCartney served as director of the Cleveland District Office.