Export Promotion:

Improving Small Businesses' Access to Federal Programs

T-GGD-93-22: Published: Apr 28, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1993.

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GAO discussed funding for federal export promotion programs, the delivery of export promotion services, the Export Enhancement Act of 1992, the status of federal efforts to help small businesses export, and ways to improve small companies' access to the programs. GAO noted that: (1) export promotion programs are not funded on the basis of any governmentwide strategy or set of priorities; (2) export promotion funding must compete with other types of government program funding; (3) the Export Enhancement Act has incorporated recommendations requiring the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to devise a governmentwide strategic plan to promote exports and propose to the President an annual unified federal budget for export promotion that would be consistent with priorities established in the strategic plan; (4) a large number of small companies have products that are competitive in foreign markets, but those products are not currently exported; (5) the Small Business Administration (SBA) devotes little money to export promotion compared to governmentwide spending on export promotion programs; (6) SBA export counseling and export finance programs have significant program weaknesses; and (7) the delivery of export promotion programs is fragmented, and small and medium-sized businesses are being hurt by their inability to access such programs at one location.

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