Trade Adjustment:

Alleged Improprieties in Commerce's Trade Adjustment Assistance Program

NSIAD-86-152BR: Published: Jul 9, 1986. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Department of Commerce allegations of improprieties related to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAAP), specifically: (1) the use of the Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to issue a damaging report on TAAP; (2) the International Trade Administration's (ITA) suppression of a contractor's study of TAAP; (3) ITA evasion and contravention of Trade Act requirements; and (4) financial hardships imposed on certain Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAAC).

GAO found that: (1) there was no evidence that ITA employed OIG to contrive a damaging report on TAAP, although there were some weaknesses in the OIG report to be considered in interpreting its findings; (2) ITA had not released the contractor's report on TAAP effectiveness because it contained technical problems requiring resolution; (3) the contractor report and the OIG report differed due to their methodologies and time frames; (4) there was no conflict between ITA outreach restrictions and Trade Act requirements; (5) there was no conflict between the ITA proposal to have firms repay assistance costs and the Trade Act's provisions on cost sharing; and (6) there was no evidence that ITA delayed reimbursement for legitimate TAAC costs to intentionally cause financial hardships.

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