Export Controls:

Assessment of Commerce Department's Foreign Policy Report to Congress

NSIAD-87-176: Published: Jul 23, 1987. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1987.

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Pursuant to the Export Administration Amendments Act of 1985, GAO reviewed the Department of Commerce's reports to Congress on export controls to assess Commerce's compliance with statutory requirements.

GAO found that: (1) Commerce reported to Congress on the purpose of export controls, their compatibility with foreign policy, other nations' reactions, economic impacts, enforceability, and other information; (2) the reports met the act's requirements; (3) the reports addressed the issue of symbolic, largely unenforceable export controls intended to meet other foreign policy objectives; and (4) the reports did not adequately discuss the controls' enforceability.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commerce January 1989 report includes a candid discussion of the widespread foreign availability of almost all foreign policy controlled items, including identification of sources and implications for the controls.

    Recommendation: With respect to section 6(b)(1)(E) of the 1979 act, as amended, the Secretary of Commerce should include in future reports to Congress readily available information on the U.S.-origin share of the existing worldwide inventory of controlled items and related enforcement efforts and problems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Commerce January 1989 report includes a full and candid discussion of the difficulties associated with each of the foreign policy-controlled items, consistent with the spirit of the GAO recommendation.

    Recommendation: With respect to section 6(b)(1)(E) of the 1979 act, as amended, the Secretary of Commerce should include in future reports to Congress a description of all known or suspected diversions identified during the prior year, including analyses of how they occurred, remedial actions taken, expectations as to the prospects for preventing future diversions, and an assessment of the government's capability to be knowledgeable of such diversions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

 

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