a U.S. Commercial Service in China | IE3 Global
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U.S. Commercial Service in China | Shanghai, China

Shanghai skylineThe U.S. Commercial Service is part of a global network of trade specialists offering a variety of resources and services to assist U.S. companies internationally. Commercial Service offices operate out of U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe. The U.S. Commercial Service China is charged with helping U.S. firms interested in entering the Chinese market to export their goods and services to China.

Interns will gain hands-on experience exploring international trade, development, policy, and commercial relationships, particularly between China and the U.S. Internships are based out of Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, or Shenyang. This is a highly competitive internship with the U.S. Government and is only open to U.S. citizens.

Internship Start Dates:

  • Spring, summer, or fall terms – internship is not available during winter quarter

Duration of Internship:

  • 12 weeks

The U.S. Commercial Service in China offers valuable assistance to American businesses exporting goods and services to China. The office is part of a global network of trade specialists dedicated to assisting U.S. commercial interests worldwide. The Commercial Service in China operates offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Shenyang.

The Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) Shanghai is the commercial section of the United States Consulate in Shanghai. It serves the East China consular district, which encompasses the city of Shanghai, as well as Jiangsu, Anhui, and Zhejiang provinces. East China is one of the most dynamic regions in the country and Shanghai serves as China’s financial and commercial center.

East China is an important region for the Commercial Service’s mission of promoting American exports. Shanghai, Zhejiang, and Jiangsu all rank among China’s top five locations for consumption of imports. Shanghai is also home to the Shanghai Free Trade Zone since 2015. FCS Shanghai’s Commercial Office assists American exporters with extensive expertise in many sectors, but especially electronics, aviation, pharmaceuticals, and automobiles.

Interns may apply to any of the commercial sections in China, located within the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the U.S. Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenyang. Each office serves a specific consular district within China.

The intern will work within the commercial section at an embassy or consulate in China. Tasks and responsibilities will vary depending on each posts’ needs, the intern’s qualifications, and current projects.

Potential activities may include:

  • Following China's developments in specific market sectors and briefing Commercial Officers on those developments
  • Undertaking research for, and writing, issue- or industry-related reports (ability to conduct Chinese-language research is preferred)
  • Providing assistance to Commercial Officers and Commercial Specialists conducting Department of Commerce services and participating in meetings, conferences, and/or other trade-related activities
  • Assisting the Commercial Service on policy-related initiatives, including policy analysis, business advocacy, technical assistance to the Chinese companies, and assistance to U.S. companies on China's trade system
  • Assisting the Commercial Service and intellectual property officers on intellectual property related issues, including work on patent, trademark, copyright and enforcement related issues, training Chinese government officials and advising companies, throughout China
  • Drafting and/or editing non-sensitive English language correspondence
  • Conducting business analysis
  • Assisting with trade conferences and trade shows
  • Assisting with U.S. government, state or industry official delegations

Academic Background

Applicants with backgrounds in economics, business administration, law and related fields are encouraged to apply. Asian or Chinese studies are a plus.


The ideal candidate will have experience in the areas of business, trade, public relations, policy, or research. Strong communication skills are required and interns must be comfortable interacting cross-culturally and in a variety of environments.

Language Requirements

Interns must be fluent in English and should have strong verbal and written communication skills. Priority is given to applicants with advanced knowledge and experience using Mandarin Chinese.

Other Requirements

The internship is only open to current U.S. citizens. Applicants must submit to a background and credit check by the U.S. government. Successful applicants will also need to provide additional documentation to the U.S. Commercial Service China to be considered. A current list of documents required can be found on the U.S. Commercial Service China’s website.

The Commercial Service has strict application and notification deadlines, which may not correspond with IE3 Global’s typical timeline. Interns should prepare materials in advance of the deadlines and ensure that the notification date fits expectations.

  • Spring term: Applications due October 31 (response by November 30)
  • Summer term: Applications due February 28 (response by March 30)
  • Fall term: Applications due May 31 (response by June 30)

Estimated One-Time Expenses

IE3 Global Program Fee: $3,450

International Travel: $1,800

Visa Fees: $160

Recommended Immunizations: $400

Estimated Monthly Expenses

Housing: $900

Food: $400

Local Transportation: $200

Recreation: $200

Personal Expenses: $200

Additional Expense Information

Monthly expenses will vary depending on the intern’s location. The amounts listed above are representative of the average costs in Shanghai.

Interns are responsible for finding and arranging their own accommodations. Budget hotels are a convenient short-term option.


“My internship with the US Commercial Service provided me unique insight on the complexity of US China relations. By working for the government, I saw how US companies had to posture themselves to prepare for, and succeed in, the Chinese market. My time in China helped me grow and cultivate my previous knowledge of the Chinese government and political system. While working in the consulate, major historical events occurred, such as the amendment to the Chinese constitution on Presidential term limits, and two US government shutdowns. In my free time, I volunteered with three local advocacy groups, one focused on anti-domestic violence, another on bilingual discussion of topics affecting the queer community, and a bilingual discussion and fundraising group on trans topics and the trans pride celebration in Shanghai. I had some difficulties raising my voice and feeling like I belong here. Even though I doubted myself many times over, I still did my job, worked hard, and tried to find a way to give back to the community that support me. I value the experiences this internship provided me and the opportunity to grow as a stronger person.”

- Frankie, Portland State University


Fall | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Spring term: November 15
Summer term: January 25
Fall term: April 15th

Basic Requirements

- U.S. citizenship
- Advanced Mandarin language skills
- Commercial/trade experience