About the Institute for Trade and Commercial Diplomacy

Building on the experience and materials initially developed for the graduate program, ITCD now designs and delivers training courses for a global audience. In April 2005, ITCD launched a module-based Online Certificate Program on the Professional Practice of Commercial Diplomacy. The structure of the program provides a roadmap for individuals seeking to learn about Commercial Diplomacy or to strengthen their Commercial Diplomacy skills and knowledge acquired through practice. Visit www.itcdonline.com for information on registration, frequently asked questions, and a full program description.

ITCD also supports the development of professional training in Commercial Diplomacy by other institutions, particularly in developing countries, by partnering with such institutions and  by making available educational training materials in Commercial Diplomacy through its web site, www.commercialdiplomacy.org. The materials produced by ITCD include model curricula and teaching guides, manuals, case studies, simulations, Power Point presentations, model advocacy and negotiating documents, and resource guides. Learn more about ITCD's training materials and programs by visiting ITCD's web site, www.commercialdiplomacy.org.

Commercial Diplomacy involves the application of the traditional tools of diplomacy to the removal of barriers to international trade and investment, and to the resolution of policy conflicts arising from the globalization of the world economy. Commercial Diplomats use public advocacy and negotiating tools to advance stakeholder interests with respect to public policy issues related to international commerce. Both the government and the business community need trained trade negotiators and trade policy experts who understand the economic, legal, political, institutional, and public policy dimension of international commerce, and who have the communication and political skills required to persuade foreign governments to changes public policies that affect trade. The fact is, in today's global system of trade, the success or failure of new business ventures as well as the achievement of a wide range of public policy objectives requires the negotiation of better trade agreements, and that requires greater professionalism on all sides.

Training in Commercial Diplomacy is a relatively recent development. Traditionally, trade policy professionals have learned how to make or influence trade policy or how to negotiate trade agreements on the job. ITCD’s staff and associated trade policy experts are pioneers in this area.  In 1995 they developed the first comprehensive Master of Arts in Commercial Diplomacy (MACD) program (now the Master of Arts in International Trade Policy [MAITP]) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). Their aim was to achieve  the same level of professionalism as has been achieved in professional training for business management or public administration, and to establish a network of training programs in Commercial Diplomacy around the world. Today, ITCD works directly with governments, universities, corporations, international donor agencies, and NGOs to identify training needs and design customized training programs.

The educational philosophy of ITCD is that training in Commercial Diplomacy, as is the case generally with professional training programs, should be based on the application of the tools of the trade to real world situations. This calls for the analysis of real world trade issues in terms of their commercial, economic, political, legal, institutional, and public policy dimensions, and the integration of the analytical results into real world strategies and negotiating solutions. It calls for the preparation of operational documents used in the trade, including options papers, white papers, briefing memoranda, press releases, speeches, and public testimony. Finally, it calls for simulations of real world activities involving Commercial Diplomacy, including negotiations, press conferences, and public hearings. The objective is to enable students to master all of the operational tasks of a Commercial Diplomat and to apply the tools of the craft on behalf of any government agency, industry association, corporation, union, or other non-governmental organization upon completion of the program.