U.S. Department of Agriculture:

Management Issues Remain Unresolved in the Market Promotion Program

T-GGD-92-25: Published: Mar 25, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 1992.

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GAO commented on the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Market Promotion Program, focusing on: (1) program goals; (2) whether program regulations ensure sound fiscal management; and (3) USDA implementation of prior GAO recommendations. GAO noted that: (1) the Market Promotion Program's broad goals of development and expansion of agricultural exports can justify program support under any market situation; (2) the large number of variables that determine exports makes it difficult to quantify a one-to-one relationship between program promotion activities and increased exports; (3) USDA has established criteria for choosing projects to fund, but the criteria do not include guidelines as to when program support is not needed or funding should be phased out; (4) USDA has begun giving its marketing specialists training in marketing and business practices; (5) since the Foreign Agricultural Service does not regularly audit the non-profit organizations it allocates funds to, there are potential opportunities for program abuses; (6) in fiscal year 1991, federal agencies spent $2.7 billion on export promotion, although agricultural exports accounted for only 10 percent of total U.S. exports; and (7) U.S. government export promotion programs are not funded based on any governmentwide strategy or priorities.

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