Export Promotion:

Federal Efforts to Increase Exports of Renewable Energy Technologies

GGD-93-29: Published: Dec 30, 1992. Publicly Released: Dec 30, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the federal Committee on Renewable Energy, Commerce, and Trade's (CORECT) efforts to promote the export of U.S. renewable energy technologies, focusing on CORECT: (1) export promotion activities; (2) guidelines for financing such exports; (3) recommendations for specific markets in the Caribbean Basin and Pacific Rim and its identification of future export markets; and (4) follow-through activities on trade opportunities in selected countries.

GAO found that CORECT: (1) has carried out such key export promotion activities as identifying major export barriers and commissioning numerous studies on energy policy and technologies, market conditions, and export assistance; (2) has recommended and is beginning to implement guidelines for financing exports and is attempting to get federal, international, and private organizations to contribute funds for training, trade promotion events, technical studies, and other activities; (3) is developing new financing mechanisms for the Pacific Rim and other selected markets; (4) lacks the export information necessary to assess its progress or track exports associated with its activities; (5) streamlined its assistance application form for renewable energy companies; and (6) identified four Caribbean Basin countries and two Pacific Rim countries as potential markets for exports and plans to focus on Eastern Europe and Mexico as future markets. GAO also found that: (1) factors affecting CORECT effectiveness include its lack of influence over member agencies' activities and the fact that foreign companies that receive government subsidies are competing with the U.S. industry; and (2) since the creation of CORECT, the President has formed the interagency Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), which is mandated to do for all industries what CORECT is attempting to do for the renewable energy technology industry.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The U.S.-ECRE strategic plan has now been completed. It has been reviewed and adopted by CORECT member agencies.

    Recommendation: To help promote the export of U.S. renewable energy technologies, the Secretary of Energy should work with other CORECT member agencies and the U.S. renewable energy technology industry to establish a deadline for completing the government-industry plan to increase exports of renewable energy technologies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A Trade Promotion Task Group has been formed to streamline the collection and dissemination of federal trade statistics. This Task Group is working closely with the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee and the National Trade Data Bank to make NTDB more user-friendly for exporters. CORECT has made input into this process by noting the lack of standard industrial classification codes necessary to track exports of renewable energy products and services. The Task Group has indicated that it will attempt to address this matter.

    Recommendation: To help promote the export of U.S. renewable energy technologies, the Secretary of Energy should work with other CORECT member agencies and the U.S. renewable energy technology industry to maintain consistent export or market share data that could be used to help update a plan and monitor its implementation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Committee on Renewable Energy, Commerce, and Trade (CORECT) has established a process to identify exports after a deal is completed, but the U.S. renewable energy industry continues to be reluctant to provide export information because it is concerned that any such information could reveal sensitive market data to foreign competitors. In addition, CORECT has been inactive because it did not receive any funding in fiscal year 1997.

    Recommendation: To help promote U.S. exports of renewable energy technologies, the Secretary of Energy should, together with other CORECT member agencies and the U.S. renewable energy technology industry, develop a way, through the CORECT mechanism, to assign responsibility for tracking member agency activities, including trade opportunities identified by these agencies in recommended markets, and to document, to the extent possible, any exports associated with such activities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: CORECT is working closely with TPCC. According to DOE, CORECT is well-focused on its task and can serve as an example for other federal-industry efforts to increase exports of specific technologies.

    Recommendation: To help promote U.S. exports of renewable energy technologies, the Secretary of Energy should, together with other CORECT member agencies and the U.S. renewable energy technology industry, work with TPCC to define the way in which the CORECT mandate and activities can be integrated into the overall U.S. export plan that TPCC is developing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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