How Were DECs Formed?

In 1960, the President asked the Secretary of Commerce to enlist the efforts of the U.S. business community in enlarging export opportunities for American firms. Responding to this challenge, the National Export Expansion Council was formed.

In response to National Export Expansion Council recommendations and to stimulate greater business participation in the national export expansion effort, the President signed an Executive Order in 1973 that directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish District Export Councils throughout the United States.

Under the authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce, 41 DECs were established by the Secretary of Commerce in 1974. Approximately 1,000 business and trade experts were appointed to serve on the newly formed DECs. Since then, the number of DECs and DEC membership has been expanded to better meet the needs of the growing number of U.S. exporters.

Under the Secretary's guidelines, the District Export Councils were specifically created to promote exports in their local communities. DECs are not advisory committees and are not subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). As a volunteer group, DECs do not receive government appropriations or compensation. They also do not have access to classified information and therefore, do not have security clearances.

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