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Highlights

GAO reviewed the Foreign Agriculture Service's (FAS) management of the Targeted Export Assistance Program, specifically: (1) its documentation of participant eligibility and funding allocation decisions; (2) the effect of its program evaluation process on present and future funding allocations; and (3) the commodities, activities, and geographical markets receiving funds. GAO found that FAS did not: (1) adequately solicit applications; (2) adequately document how it applied or prioritized its funding allocation criteria; (3) use the detailed activity plan in its allocation decisions; (4) document the reasons for the variations in level and form of contribution among program participants; (5) monitor the nonprofit trade associations' administration of brand-identified promotion sufficiently to ensure that all potential participants received timely program information; or (6) provide formal program evaluation guidelines. GAO also found that: (1) some participants may have had advantages over others in receiving funds and in influencing the contents of the program guidelines; and (2) the tripling of the annual program funding level in fiscal years 1989 and 1990 from $110 million to $325 million would probably exacerbate existing management problems and create additional control and accountability difficulties. GAO believes that FAS should: (1) provide sufficient documentation of its funding decision process; (2) clarify and document its contribution level requirements; and (3) monitor the effectiveness of the program by using program evaluations.

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