The player can select one of the available European civilization to ally with in the Consulate (or Isolationism for the Japanese). This costs 100 export. The player can only have one ally at a time and may break the alliance at any time with the End Relations (End Isolation for Japanese Isolationism) button.
The Consulate offers many one-off shipments that cost a certain amount of Export. These range from economical and military upgrades to free units to building wagons. These shipments usually take 30 seconds to research, although there are exceptions.
In the Imperial Age, the Brigade shipment becomes available, which ships a large number of the selected civilization's best units and takes 90 seconds to complete. However, they, like other shipments, can only be sent once.
Consulate troops are a set of units that are trained at the consulate for export. They can be trained an unlimited number of times. Consulate troops are basically ordinary units with unique names that provide a much needed bolster to some Asian armies.
European troops available in the consulate are usually the civilization's best units, for example, the British send Musketeers and Hussars, its royal guard units. Every time the player ages up, the consulate troops receive a higher bonus to their damage or their hit points. However, the Japanese Isolation feature enables the Japanese to recruit elite Japanese troops not available any other way. These units are recruited like normal Barracks/Stable units - they are directly trained in a single block.
Note: When used with the Japanese cards Heavenly Kami, Seven Lucky Gods and 20 Shrines tasked to XP generation the player will receive 11 XP each second. This is slightly better experience than killing a villager every second.
"A consulate, also known as an embassy, or a diplomatic mission, is a group of people from one state or organization present in a foreign state to represent their state’s interests. A consulate is generally located in a busy tourist city, and takes care of minor diplomatic tasks such as issuing visas and diplomatic papers. The word “consulate” literally means “office of the consul,” who is a diplomat appointed to foster trade and take care of expatriates."