Commerce's Trade Functions

GGD-95-195R: Published: Jun 26, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined several proposals to consolidate federal trade activities and reorganize the Department of Commerce, focusing on: (1) the role Commerce plays in trade; and (2) past efforts to reorganize federal trade activities. GAO noted that: (1) Commerce plays a significant role in export promotion and trade policymaking, negotiating, regulation, and data collection and analysis; (2) past efforts to reorganize federal trade functions included a major restructuring of trade policymaking, export promotion, and trade regulation bureaucracies and an attempt to focus federal export promotion efforts; (3) both efforts addressed specific trade problems in a minimally disruptive way; and (4) Congress has proposed splitting Commerce's trade regulation, export promotion, and trade policy functions among other agencies, however, it is unknown how the reorganization would harm the government's ability to carry out necessary functions and and achieve its mandated policy goals.

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