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State Department Programs for U.S. Businesses: BIDS and Direct Line
April 05, 2016 Office of Small Business

What is BIDS?

The Business Information Database System (BIDS) gives U.S. businesses up-to-the-minute information about significant foreign government and multilateral development bank procurements. Through an interactive map interface, businesses can find new export opportunities that have been validated by U.S. government economic and commercial experts overseas. Private and public partners can link to or download BIDS data for sales matchmaking, analysis, or other purposes.

How Does BIDS Work?

U.S. Embassy personnel overseas enter and update procurement opportunities into BIDS, including context, commentary, and contact information. U.S. firms and others can access BIDS information from the website or integrate BIDS data into their own applications. 

Who Should Use BIDS?

Foreign governments and multilateral development banks spend billions of dollars every year on procurements overseas and these markets can be lucrative for U.S. suppliers. Businesses, trade promotion agencies, and economic development organizations can use BIDS to find and take advantage of these opportunities. 
Direct Line
What is Direct Line for American Business?
The Direct Line for American Business program connects U.S. businesses to American Ambassadors and U.S. mission personnel overseas and makes you part of the U.S. mission’s “country team.” Businesses get up-to-date information on markets important to their decision-making, and learn about new sectors and tenders that can help them expand overseas.
On-the-Ground Experts
U.S. Ambassadors and staff overseas are on the front lines of the State Department’s effort to support U.S. businesses and expand U.S. exports. Direct Line lets you tap into their expertise though off the record calls just for U.S. businesses. Senior local officials participate in some of these calls and often even more valuable and actionable information on key topics like:
  • Opportunities in South Africa Energy Sector
  • East China: Conducting Business through E-Commerce
  • Renewable Energy Opportunities in Chile
  • Medical Device Exports to Sri Lanka
  • Libya: Defense and Security Update and Opportunities for U.S. companies
  • Latvia: Opportunities in Inward and Outward Tourism and Marketing
A Two-Way Conversation
Direct Line calls include time for you to get your questions answered. You can also follow up directly with embassy personnel for more detailed information about specific opportunities. 
To Learn More and Register
Connecting to U.S. Embassies via Direct Line is free and simple, requiring only an internet or telephone connection. Check the upcoming schedule of calls, and register to receive alerts when new calls are scheduled. Visit 

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.