Friday, September 9, 2016

USDA - Foreign Agriculture Service; International Trade Specialist

Job Closes September 22, 2016
Job Overview
Begin a challenging and rewarding career with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). FAS is a dynamic foreign affairs agency with offices in Washington, D.C. and 70-plus countries around the world. FAS is seeking committed professionals with diverse skills and talents to help improve foreign market access for U.S. products, build new markets, enhance the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace, and provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries.

The Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs (OASA) provides trade policy advocacy for U.S. agricultural. The OASA motto is, “Building Solutions that Open Markets.”  Functionally, this includes monitoring and enforcing trade agreements, developing trade policy and strategies, addressing technical and sanitary phytosanitary barriers to trade, and facilitating communication between foreign governments and U.S. regulatory agencies. International Trade Specialists are essential to OASA’s effectiveness by applying an expert knowledge of a particular commodity, industry group, and/or regulatory policy area impacting agricultural trade.
Overseas demand for U.S. plant products presents opportunities for U.S. exporters that are not without commercial risks when market access is constrained or threatened by unwarranted trade barriers.  SPS measures implemented by foreign governments can often unnecessarily restrict market access for U.S. agricultural products if based on questionable or insufficient scientific principles.  The WTO Agreement on the Application of SPS Measures (SPS Agreement) recognizes the rights of governments to implement such measures provided they are based on science and do not unjustifiably discriminate against countries and agricultural products.  However, at times, trading partners have applied SPS measures that contradict WTO obligations and are unjustifiably trade prohibitive.  In addition, U.S. agricultural exports are especially impacted by standards and policies associated with regulating pesticide use on agricultural products.  The U.S. agricultural industry benefits from having available the latest and most effective crop protection technologies approved for use in the United States.  However, the regulatory authorization of new pesticides in the United States without corresponding approval in export markets can lead to maximum residue limit (MRL) dis-harmonization.  Similarly, U.S. exporters are often faced with shipping product to countries where MRLs for the same commodity and chemical may differ from that of the United States and/or each other.  As a result, the risk of rejection of U.S. agricultural exports may increase when foreign MRL regulatory standards differ from the United States.   Within OASA, the Plant Division provides policy advocacy and technical advice for the U.S. agricultural industry.  The incumbent in this new position will have a lead role in working with U.S. and foreign regulatory agencies as well as industry stakeholders to identify and address strategic constraints and opportunities facing U.S. agricultural exporters.  This includes negotiation, monitoring and enforcement of market-expanding trade agreements.  It is anticipated that the incumbent be required to work  extensively in coordinating and addressing MRL dis-harmonization issues with the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. chemical industry, the U.S. agricultural industry, and foreign chemical regulatory agencies to reduce the potential of MRL violations impacting U.S. agricultural trade.
Job Requirements
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.

FOR THE GS-14 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-13 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
  • Comprehensive knowledge and expertise in U.S. and international pesticide regulatory policy to develop and deliver authoritative and programmatic direction on potentially controversial and highly visible trade issues;
  • Knowledge of pertinent U.S. legislation and regulations, department policies, and international agreements and trade laws; and
  • Knowledge and skill sufficient to provide technical leadership, staff coordination, and consultation for the U.S. agricultural initiatives (especially those related to the regulation of pesticides) assigned, including formulating guidelines, implementing new developments, and providing regulatory interpretation and recommendations to FAS and USDA leadership.

This job originated on For the full announcement and to apply, visit Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.