Export Promotion:

Federal Agencies' Activities and Resources in Fiscal Year 1999

NSIAD-00-118: Published: Apr 10, 2000. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on U.S. government programs intended to help businesses promote their products and services in overseas markets, focusing on: (1) the federal agencies involved in promoting exports of U.S. goods and services and the export promotion activities they perform; (2) these agencies' total resources devoted to export promotion in fiscal year (FY) 1999; and (3) the agencies' overseas resources devoted to export promotion during this period.

GAO noted that: (1) 10 federal agencies are involved in export promotion activities: (a) the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, State, and Transportation; (b) the Export-Import Bank of the United States; (c) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; (d) the Small Business Administration; (e) the Agency for International Development; and (f) the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; (2) all of these agencies help educate U.S. businesses about the export process by participating in trade shows and other events; seven provide financial assistance to exporters or investors in overseas projects; seven provide trade contacts; and six gather and disseminate market and trade lead information; (3) these agencies received approximately $1.9 billion for export promotion activities in FY 1999; (4) the Export-Import Bank and the Department of Agriculture, agencies that provide direct financial support to U.S. exporters, received $1.47 billion, or almost 78 percent, of this amount; (5) another $299 million (16 percent) was received by the Department of Commerce, which employed the equivalent of almost 2,000 full-time people in these activities during this period; (6) the remaining 6 percent was devoted to eight other agencies; (7) seven agencies devoted approximately $174 million in estimated expenses to export promotion activities at U.S. overseas posts in FY 1999; (8) of this amount, about $110 million came from the Commerce Department, which devoted the equivalent of over 700 full-time people to these activities during this period; (9) the Departments of Agriculture and State devoted $48 million and $14 million respectively; and (10) these expenditures covered salaries and expenses of overseas staff and administrative costs associated with overseas facilities.

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