Agricultural Trade:

Five Countries' Foreign Market Development for High-Value Products

GGD-95-12: Published: Dec 14, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the structure, funding, and promotional activities of the organizations that develop foreign markets for high-value agricultural products (HVP), focusing on the: (1) organizations in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands that help develop foreign markets for HVP; (2) Department of Agriculture's (USDA) foreign market development programs; and (3) ways in which these countries' programs are evaluated to determine their effectiveness in increasing exports.

GAO found that: (1) France, Germany, and the United Kingdom each have an integrated market development organization that provides an array of services and promotes most agricultural products; (2) the Netherlands relies primarily on independent commodity associations to promote its agricultural products; (3) all of the countries spent less on foreign market development than the United States in 1993; (4) because so many factors influence a country's export levels, information on promotion expenditures alone is not sufficient to determine the effectiveness of a country's foreign market development efforts; (5) the countries' foreign market development programs are financed mostly by the private sector, while U.S. foreign market development programs are coordinated by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service; and (6) the market development organizations reviewed and the United States generally engage in the same kinds of promotional activities, including market research, trade shows, consumer promotions, and trade servicing.

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