International Trade:

Market-Oriented Strategy Would Help Lead U.S. Agriculture Into the Future

T-GGD-94-177: Published: Jun 23, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) long-term trade strategy and export policies, focusing on how a market-oriented approach would help USDA adapt to the increasingly competitive world marketplace. GAO noted that: (1) the U.S. agricultural sector must adopt a strategic marketing approach to remain competitive in the world agricultural trade environment; (2) a strategic marketing approach would require a long-term market development plan that identifies markets and growth potential, helps U.S. agriculture meet consumer needs, ensures the competitiveness of U.S. agricultural products, effectively distributes and promotes U.S. goods, and anticipates market changes so that U.S. agricultural industries stay ahead of their competition; (3) although USDA has a long-term agricultural trade strategy and target country marketing plans, they do not represent an effective long-term market development plan; (4) an effective strategic plan would have a strong analytical base and include high-level USDA involvement, be comprehensive in scope, and significantly change the operations of many USDA internal agencies; and (5) even with a strategic marketing approach, USDA will need programs to combat unfair foreign trade practices and overcome market imperfections in order to maximize U.S. exports.

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