Since 1994, the Agriculture Appropriations Act has prohibited the funding of tobacco export programs and restricted the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) tobacco-related activities. Since 1998, the Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations Act has placed similar restrictions on the Departments of Commerce and State and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), although it has not prohibited them from addressing foreign discriminatory trade practices. Congressional requesters asked GAO to (1) assess the agencies' guidance on the restrictions to their overseas personnel, (2) describe how the agencies' activities changed in response to the restrictions, and (3) identify the mechanisms that the agencies use to monitor compliance.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Agriculture||1. To ensure that the Foreign Agricultural Service has fully addressed its restriction on the promotion of tobacco or tobacco-related products, the Secretary of Agriculture should develop guidance to implement the legislative restrictions on promoting the sale or export of tobacco or tobacco-related products that fully reflects FAS programs and activities.|
|Department of Agriculture||2. The Secretary should also review all ongoing activities that pertain to tobacco or tobacco-related products--specifically, the collection and dissemination of information on tobacco--to determine whether these activities are consistent with the Department of Agriculture's restrictions in its appropriations.|