US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products.
This non-supervisory position serves as an International Trade Specialist for the Office of Country and Regional Affairs (OCRA), in FAS. The incumbent will be expected to lead a team and/or projects that coordinate input from stakeholders to prepare appropriate policy analysis and country/regional strategies for achieving agency objectives. The incumbent will organize country team meetings, and formulate longer-term strategies to address outstanding trade policy issues. The incumbent will work effectively with FAS program areas, USDA agencies, and other U.S. Government (USG) agencies to ensure analyses and strategies meet Agency, Departmental, and USG objectives. The incumbent will monitor trade policy issues and implementation of strategy(ies) to identify when and how revisions are needed to adapt to changing market situations.
First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.
The duties may include, but are not limited to:
Expertise in the countries incumbent and/or team cover, including an understanding of economic, political, social and demographic trends to develop sound strategic objectives for U.S. agricultural exports.
Independently identify and synthesize pertinent information into well-written summaries, based on continuous research, analysis and evaluation of information from a range of sources.
Coordinate and provide policy support for evaluating and developing country strategy proposals, that may include removing barriers to facilitate agricultural trade; trade enforcement of bilateral agreements; and developing support for the adoption of science-based regulatory systems and standards.
Conduct assessments and develop interpretation of international trade issues, conditions, or events in support of decision-making, policy formulation, or program development by FAS and USDA.
Lead the development and implementation of country strategies; analyze key trade and competitiveness issues; and contribute to significant agency policies, decisions, and determinations with well-written and/or verbal persuasive materials.
Serve as a FAS contact to respond to a wide range of questions from other USG agencies, foreign embassies, and businesses seeking information relative to agricultural trade in the international market.
Expertise in planning, preparing, compiling, and supporting USDA Cabinet and sub-Cabinet level meetings and travel, including well-written and organized briefing materials that may require extensive preparation.
Occasional travel - Both domestic and international travel may be required.
Who May Apply
This job is open to...
Current permanent Federal employees with competitive status, Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP and VEOA eligibles; Farm Service Agency permanent county employees; reinstatement eligibles; Individuals with Disabilities; certain military spouses; 30% or more disabled veterans; former Peace Corps or VISTA volunteers; and those eligible for other Special Hiring Authorities.
Job family (Series)
Conditions of Employment
US Citizenship is required
Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
A 1-year probationary period is required.
Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation.
Successful completion of a one-year probationary or trial period (if new hire to the Federal service).
Selectee must be able to obtain and maintain a Secret security clearance.
This position may be eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the duty location of the position. Employee participation in telework is at the discretion of the supervisor.
Applicants eligible under the Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act (LMWFA) must submit documentation of more than 24 months of service with their application. Required documentation includes first and last SF-50 for each appointment AND documentation of successful performance for each appointment. Applicants are encouraged to combine all required documents into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 3MB. Grouping documents into files will simplify the application process. Failure to submit required documentation will result in loss of consideration.
First time hires to the Federal government normally start at the lowest rate of the salary range for the grade selected.
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including time-in-grade restrictions, specialized experience as defined below, etc.
TIME IN GRADE:
Federal employees must meet time-in-grade requirements by the closing date of this announcement.
FOR THE GS-13 LEVEL:
Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-12 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:
Proven skill in developing country expertise and thinking strategically about economic, political and other factors impacting U.S. agricultural exports in the international market;
Proven skill in summarizing factors affecting U.S. agricultural exports in concise, well-written reports and position papers with recommendations for actions or solutions by Cabinet and sub-Cabinet officials;
Knowledge of and skill to interpret international agreements that might affect U.S. agricultural trade; and
Proven skill in leading a team of diverse individuals with competing interests to find practical solutions to longstanding challenges and communicate the solutions to executive level officials.
(Note: There is no education substitution for this grade level.)
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible see To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP[PJ-A1] candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles. The additional selection(s) may be made from other division(s) not listed in the vacancy announcement.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Employees: Permanent County employees without prior Federal tenure who are selected for a Civil Service position under Public Law 105-277 will be given a career-conditional appointment and must serve a 1-year probationary period.
Direct Deposit - Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at:
E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS E-VERIFY system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the experience, education, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Assessment Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies listed below:
Knowledge of U.S. international trade rules and policies
Written and Oral Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Applicants who meet the minimum qualification requirements and are determined to be among the best qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration. Noncompetitive candidates and applicants under some special hiring authorities need to meet minimum qualifications to be referred.
If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.
If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.
To view the application form, visit:
Background checks and security clearance
The following documents are required for your application to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in mail service, your system failure or downtime, etc. Encrypted and digitally signed documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
that includes the following information: 1) personal information; 2) education; 3) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 4) supervisors phone number for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 5) other qualifications.
Other required documents as applicable:
MUST submit a copy of an SF-50, non-award Notification of Personnel Action, which documents competitive civil service status and preferably shows your current grade/position. In order to demonstrate competitive civil service status, the position occupied block on the SF-50 should show a 1 and your tenure block should show a 1 or 2. If your current grade is not your highest permanent grade, submit a copy of an additional SF-50 showing your highest grade.
In addition, current and former Federal employees must submit their most recently completed annual performance appraisal (dated within 18 months) which identifies the official rating of record, signed by the supervisor, or a statement advising why the performance appraisal is unavailable (e.g., length of time in current position, etc.). Performance plans will not be accepted.
Veteran Hiring Authorities:
(VEOA, VRA, and 30% Disabled Veterans): DD-214 (Member 4 Copy). DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions that is signed no later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. The certification must be on the letterhead of the appropriate military branch and include the dates of military service. Veteran's preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran's preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
If claiming 10-point veteran's preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans' preference see
Schedule A, Persons with Disabilities:
Schedule A letter from a physician, local, state or federal rehabilitation office citing eligibility under 5 CFR 213.3102 (u).
Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, Notice of Proposed Removal, or appropriate OPM/Agency certification; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position from which you will be separated.
Other Special Hiring Authority
: If claiming eligibility under a special hiring authority not listed above, see the requirements for that authority and submit the required supporting documentation.
Land Management Workforce Flexibility Act:
If eligible under the LMWFA, please see the documents required under Special Conditions.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from .
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. .
The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at:
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How to Apply
Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin.
The following instructions outline our application process.
You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact us if you are requesting this.
Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not have one) at www.usajobs.gov. It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.
Create a resume with USAJOBS or upload a resume into your USAJOBS account. Customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. Your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).
Click Apply Online and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required.
You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Log into your USAJOBS account and click on Application Status. Click on the position title, and then select Update Application to continue.
NOTE: Verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency's staffing system. Once in the Agency's staffing system you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Uploaded documents must be less than 3MB and in one of the following document formats: GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, RTF, PDF, or Word (DOC or DOCX).
Agency contact information
USDA APHIS MRPBS
250 Marquette Avenue, Suite 410
If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when: An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
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Legal and regulatory guidance
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.
In addition to its Washington, D.C. staff, FAS has a global network of 96 offices covering 169 countries. These offices are staffed by agricultural attachés and locally hired staff who are the eyes, ears, and voice for U.S. agriculture around the world. FAS staff identify problems, provide practical solutions, and work to advance opportunities for U.S. agriculture and support U.S. foreign policy around the globe.