USTDA's programs are designed to help countries establish a favorable trading environment and a modern infrastructure that promotes sustainable economic development. According to USTDA, the agency’s development assistance has always involved building partnerships between U.S. companies and overseas project sponsors to bring proven private-sector solutions to developmental challenges. As part of its programs, USTDA funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, orientation visits, and business workshops in the areas of trade capacity building and sector development, and project definition and investment analysis.
USTDA works closely with other federal agencies to advance host country development objectives, but unlike U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), USTDA gives preference to projects that promote the export of U.S. goods and services. Most USTDA projects are located in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. The agency's activities span a wide variety of sectors, although projects in the transportation and energy and power sectors account for 43% of the funding in 2008. In 2008, USTDA obligated over a total of $46 million in support of projects in 66 host counties around the world, including 67 technical assistance activities, 41 feasibility studies, and 24 orientation visits.