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As a PPQ Officer (Trade Specialist) you will serve as a technical consultant and liaison for PPQ, on issues regarding trade in agricultural commodities and export certification, and are responsible for providing multi-state expertise for trade negotiations and ensuring the continuity and quality control of the export certification program.

The duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Works directly with visiting foreign officials to address work plan compliance and new market access issues.
  • Helps provide recommendations on phytosanitary issues, reviewing program activities to ensure alignment with strategic priorities, appropriate resource utilization, and identify deficiencies.
  • Provides local and multi-state expertise during international trade negotiating, and interprets negotiated work plans and implements work plans at both a local and multi-state level.
  • Serves as a PPQ technical specialist, interpreting foreign quarantine regulations, negotiating to resolve international phytosanitary procedural disagreements, and managing export work plans.
  • Coordinates with PPQ Field Operations and ST and states regarding pest lists, and assists in the development of pest lists of domestic commodities identified for possible export.
  • Proficient with export database tools (i.e. - PCIT, Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD), etc.), and notifies PIM, ES of conflicts or confusing language in the database.
  • Serves as a point of contact and technical resource for phytosanitary programs in an assigned area, and proficient in agriculture production and commodity management practices in specialized areas.
  • Investigates issuances of FPCs for detained shipments for verifying documents, adherence to certification policy and procedures, and conformance with foreign countries' plant import requirements.
  • Conducts field audits involving review of facilities to ensure compliance with Federal regulations, policies, and procedures and with PPQ's obligations to bilateral agreements, protocols, and MOUs.

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National


Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement, including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

BASIC REQUIREMENT: Degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, entomology, plant pathology, botany, taxonomy, zoology or other biological science or related disciplines appropriate to the position.

OR Combination of education and experience: post high school education with courses equivalent to a major, which is defined as 24 semester/36 quarter hours, in the biological sciences, agriculture, natural resources management, chemistry or related disciplines appropriate to the position, PLUS appropriate experience or additional course work.

FOR THE GS-12 LEVEL: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-11 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Experience interpreting foreign quarantine regulations to facilitate international trade, negotiating to resolve international phytosanitary procedural disagreements, and management of export work plans.
  • Experience conducting investigations and audits involving review of facilities to ensure compliance with federal regulation, policies, and procedures, and issued compliance agreements.
  • Experience providing training and exchanging biological information necessary to effectively carry out program objectives, and facilitating meetings between federal personnel, industry, county officials, and foreign officials.
  • Experience planning the technical approach and determining the order of priority of individual phases of an assignment, acting upon complicated trade issues and adapting and modifying control and quarantine methods or techniques.

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 and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience..

Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:

  • This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified.
  • You are qualifying for the position based on education.
  • You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
  • This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.


This is a Direct-Hire Authority position, all applicants who meet the minimum qualifications, to include any specialized experience and/or selective placement factor(s), if applicable, will be referred to the selecting official. Before a certificate is issued to the selecting official, your application is reviewed to ensure that you meet all the qualification requirements. A rating will not be used; veteran's preference does not apply due to the existence of the Direct Hire authority for this position.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and/or experience, you may be found ineligible. 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.

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