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Highlights

GAO discussed the operation of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), focusing on its: (1) management of export promotion and assistance programs; (2) use of resources in reporting on agricultural developments overseas; and (3) strategic planning. GAO noted that: (1) FAS needs greater management controls to eliminate continuing weaknesses; (2) FAS should reduce the amount of reporting on foreign commodities and devote more time to developing markets for U.S. commodities and engaging in trade policy activities; (3) the long-term agricultural strategy (LATS) does not set meaningful priorities for agricultural export programs and resources; (4) additional work will be necessary to make LATS a useful management tool; and (5) it is concerned with the lack of the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) involvement in the governmentwide export promotion strategy, particularly since USDA receives the bulk of the federal export promotion budget.

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