Compact of Free Association:

An Assessment of Current U.S. Proposals to Extend Assistance

GAO-02-857T: Published: Jul 17, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2002.

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Susan S. Westin
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The United States entered into the Compact of Free Association with the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) In 1986. The Compact has provided U.S. assistance to the FSM and the RMI in the form of direct funding as well as federal services and programs. The Compact allows for migration from both countries to the United States and established U.S. defense rights and obligations in the region. Provisions of the Compact that deal with economic assistance were scheduled to expire in 2001; however, they will remain in effect for up to 2 additional years while the affected provisions are renegotiated. Current U.S. proposals to the FSM and the RMI to renew expiring assistance would require Congress to approve $3.4 billion in new authorizations. The proposals would provide decreasing levels of annual grant assistance over a 20-year term. Simultaneously, the proposals would require building up a trust fund for each country with earnings that would replace grants once those grants expire. The U.S. proposals include strengthened accountability measures, though details of some key measures remain unknown. The proposals have addressed many, but not all, recommendations that GAO made in past reports regarding assistance accountability.

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