Are U.S. Firms Handicapped in Winning Foreign Jobs?

by Gary Goldstein, Asst. News Ed.; Civil Engineering--ASCE, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1983, Vol. 53, Issue 10, Pg. 41-45

Document Type: Feature article


U.S. engineers and construction officials complain that inadequate U.S. government spending for feasibility studies viz-a-viz the Europeans and Asians, noncompetitive financing, and an overvalued dollar are handicapping them in winning foreign jobs. Government officials and bankers complain that U.S. firms lack certain skills--most U.S. engineers cannot speak a second language, and do not have rural development expertise. Other problems facing U.S. firms include a mediocre foreign commercial intelligence network, European and Asian government subsidization of exporters, English and French business, cultural, and educational ties to former colonies, and foreign diplomatic pressure during the bidding process on local government officials. Redirecting Agency for International Development (AID) financing away from the rural sector to larger, capital projects, elimination of double-tax and anti-boycott measures, improving the U.S. government intelligence gathering abroad, and a greater involvement of the Export-Import Bank in feasibility and design funding are areas U.S. engineers cite that can improve their situation.

Subject Headings: Government | Feasibility studies | Financing | Rural areas | Local government | Construction management | Business administration | Bids

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