13

Some time ago, a journalist tried to mock ex-PM Dacias Ciolos for wearing a certain hat (indirect source):

Journalist Costi Rogozanu wrote on Facebook that the price of a hat similar to the one worn by Dacian Ciolos during the protest on Sunday is EUR 42.95.

The price tag is presented to indicate that the hat is quite expensive (to Romanian standards, of course).

Sweedish Embassy in Bucharest recognized the hat and promoted it in a Facebook post:

It’s a Swedish Fjällräven hat! (...) If you fancy this garment, follow this link: (...)

Many Facebook commentators appreciated this way of promoting country products, but some considered that it is not appropriate for an Embassy to advertise private companies products like this.

Question: Is any diplomatic rule violated if an embassy promotes private companies brands (from respective country)?

  • 1
    I think 43 Euros is expensive by any standard – David says Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '17 at 5:03
  • I think 43 Euros is inexpensive when compared to the clothing taste of a stereotypical "dictator's wife". – gerrit Jan 2 '18 at 14:59
27

One of the functions of the embassy is to promote exports from its home country. In fact many have a specific position for this: Commercial attaché

Consulate or embassy staff-member specializing in business and trade matters. His or her main job is to promote export from the home country and usually also includes procurement of food stuff and raw materials.

In fact, when there are trade deals of special importance, it is usual for embassy members to become involved as facilitators. In extreme cases, visits of high ranking officials or even heads of state can be used to help the negotiations.

While the example that you post is somewhat more public-oriented that all of the above, the only reason that I can think to censure it would not be issues with the host country1 but within the home country; for example the possibility of another Swedish hat producer protesting that its taxes are being used to promote a product from their competition.

1Of course, assuming that there wasn’t anything in the product or the marketing that was against the host country law; e.g. no advertisements of illegal drugs.

  • 6
    Your penultimate paragraph is why you don't see these kinds of posts more often: many countries do have strict rules about government employees endorsing private businesses. – cpast Dec 27 '17 at 19:56
  • 3
    @cpast Of course government officials who have that job are excepted. "(c)Endorsements. An employee shall not use or permit the use of his Government position or title or any authority associated with his public office to endorse any product, service or enterprise except: (1) In furtherance of statutory authority to promote products, services or enterprises; or (2) (compliance and achievement recognition exemptions). – Spehro Pefhany Dec 27 '17 at 22:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .