Issues Relating to International Trade Responsibilities
T-GGD-95-218: Published: Jul 25, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 1995.
GAO discussed the potential impact of abolishing the Department of Commerce and some of its functions and transferring its remaining functions to other federal agencies. GAO noted that: (1) Commerce plays an important role in formulating trade policy, promoting exports, regulating trade, and collecting, analyzing, and disseminating trade data; (2) Commerce works with interagency committees to coordinate trade activities; (3) while the coordinating mechanisms for trade policy and data collection and dissemination are functioning well, the mechanism for export promotion is still evolving; (4) eliminating certain Commerce functions would deprive other agencies of critical analytical support and sever the link between Commerce's foreign network and U.S. businesses; (5) transferring Commerce functions could adversely affect the delicate balance between competing foreign trade policies; (6) the Department of Agriculture's export promotion programs hold the greatest potential for cost savings through restructuring; and (7) Congress needs to consider an integrated approach to reorganization, specific, identifiable goals, the right vehicles for accomplishing the goals, and proper implementation and oversight of the reorganization.