U.S. Department of Agriculture:
Better Management Could Increase Effectiveness of FAS Export Operations
T-GGD-93-5, Feb 23, 1993
GAO discussed weaknesses that reduce the effectiveness of the Foreign Agricultural Service's (FAS) export operations and programs. GAO noted that: (1) FAS manages about $10 billion in agricultural export assistance programs that are designed to increase U.S. agricultural exports and develop foreign markets; (2) problems with FAS market promotion programs (MPP) include inadequate market research and management, a yearly planning process instead of a long-term approach, inadequate program evaluations, and MPP regulations that lack program activity funding criteria; (3) agricultural trade offices, which primarily promote market development and provide trade services, lack adequate market development curricula, site selection criteria, and sufficient program evaluations; (5) the Department of Agriculture needs to provide greater controls over trade show programs, increased priorities for high-value agricultural exports, streamline organizational structures, and improve evaluations of Title I commodity assistance and export credit guarantee programs; (6) a long-term agricultural trade strategy and a government-wide export promotion plan are needed to provide coherence to U.S. export promotion policy and efficiently allocate funds for high-yield agricultural export programs.