Export Promotion:

A Comparison of Programs in Five Industrialized Nations

GGD-92-97: Published: Jun 22, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the export promotion programs of the United States and four competing European nations, focusing on: (1) the structure of export promotion programs; (2) spending for these programs; (3) financial assistance offered to exporters in the four European countries; and (4) a comparison of foreign and U.S. programs.

GAO found that: (1) the degree of government involvement in, and integration of, export promotion programs varied significantly in the five countries it evaluated, making it difficult to generalize; and (2) the U.S. approach to export promotion is distinct in that its efforts are not centrally managed or implemented under a plan based on a set of national priorities, and private-sector groups have both a limited role in export promotion and limited involvement with federal government efforts. GAO also found that several factors may give the four European countries' exporters an advantage over U.S. exporters, including: (1) less fragmented export programs; (2) more aid by semiprivate and private organizations; (3) more government spending on, and more government staff designated to, the promotion of exports; (4) more financial incentives and targeted services; (5) more emphasis and financial assistance concerning trade fairs; (6) targeting of export promotion resources to the geographic areas and industry sectors with the best export prospects; and (7) easier access to export financing.

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