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    Results:

    Subject Term: Imports

    9 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should develop a monitoring system to help ensure that CBP officials comply with license verification policies and procedures. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should conduct a comprehensive assessment of information not included in the automated alert to determine what information is needed to identify licensable radiological material. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should develop a system that better identifies shipments of radiological material that pose the greatest risk and revise CBP's policies and procedures as necessary to verify licenses for these shipments. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Steve Morris
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of FDA should pursue formal agreements with countries exporting seafood to the United States that commit these countries to test for drugs of concern to FDA and the corresponding maximum residue levels (MRLs) that FDA established for these drugs. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA partially agreed with our recommendation. FDA stated that, while it had not received any requests to establish this type of arrangement, it concurs that the agency could explore pursuing such arrangements. FDA also stated that factors outside its control that could limit robust implementation of this recommendation include the country's ability and readiness to comply with the requirements necessary to have a successful arrangement. FDA added that applicable test methods, analytical capacity and adequate government oversight would be among essential criteria.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of FSIS should ensure that agency staff doing an on-site audit in another country for an equivalence determination visit at least a sample of farms whose catfish are exported to the United States to determine the conditions under which the catfish are being raised, including the drugs being used. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, FSIS had not yet acted on this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor the agency's actions to determine when FSIS has implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of FSIS should require as part of an equivalence determination that countries exporting catfish to the United States include in their residue monitoring plans the drugs of concern to FSIS and the corresponding maximum residue levels. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2017, FSIS had not yet acted on this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor the agency's actions to determine when FSIS has implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of FDA should coordinate and communicate with FSIS in developing drug residue testing methods and corresponding maximum residue levels for imported seafood that may also be applicable to imported catfish. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA agreed with this recommendation. FDA stated that it has a process in place to notify FSIS of new tolerances and changes in tolerances for FSIS-regulated products and that it will extend this process to notify FSIS of concentrations of specific unapproved drugs in catfish over which FDA has public health concerns. In addition, FDA stated that it has contacted FSIS about rejoining the quarterly meetings FDA holds on aquaculture method prioritization and development.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of FSIS should coordinate and communicate with FDA in developing drug residue testing methods and corresponding maximum residue levels for imported catfish that may also be applicable to other imported seafood. (Recommendation 5)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: FSIS partially agreed with this recommendation and added that it fully intends to implement the provisions of a MOU with FDA on coordinating on testing methods and that it also intends to enhance residue testing coordination through other interagency mechanisms as well, such as the Surveillance Advisory Team and the Interagency Residue Control Group. As of December 2017, FSIS had not yet taken action to implement this recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor the agency's actions to determine when FSIS has implemented this recommendation.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen CBP's ability to assess and respond to compliance risks across the FTZ program, the Commissioner of CBP should conduct a risk analysis of the FTZ program using data across FTZs, including an analysis of the likelihood and significance of compliance violations and enforcement actions.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and identified steps it intends to take in response to the recommendation. Specifically, CBP stated that it will conduct a risk analysis across the FTZ program. In its 60-day response letter, CBP stated that the risk analysis can begin one year after the initial deployment of its process for collecting compliance review summaries. CBP provided an estimated completion of date of March 31, 2019 for this recommendation. When we confirm the steps CBP has taken to address this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen CBP's ability to assess and respond to compliance risks across the FTZ program, the Commissioner of CBP should utilize the results of the program-wide risk analysis to respond to identified risks, such as updating risk assessment tools and developing best practices for CBP's FTZ compliance review and risk categorization system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and identified steps it intends to take in response to the recommendation. Specifically, CBP responded that it will finalize a compliance review handbook that incorporates risk assessment tools and best practices for FTZ compliance reviews and risk categorization. In its 60-day response letter, CBP stated that this third recommendation will be completed in sequence, following the completion of the first two recommendations. After completing a risk analysis (recommendation 2), CBP stated that any identified trends, as well as best practices, will be provided to the field and will be incorporated into the compliance review handbook. CBP provided an estimated completion of date of September 30, 2019 for this recommendation. When we confirm the steps CBP has taken to address this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jennifer Grover
    Phone: (202) 512-7141

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance CBP's identification of high-risk cargo shipments and its enforcement of the ISF rule, the Commissioner of CBP should enforce the ISF rule requirement that carriers provide CSMs to CBP when targeters identify CSM noncompliance.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP's Office of Field Operations is developing an enforcement strategy for container status messages (CSM) that it plans to complete by August 31, 2017. Once the strategy is completed, OFO plans to provide CSM enforcement guidance to the Advance Targeting Units. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance CBP's identification of high-risk cargo shipments and its enforcement of the ISF rule, the Commissioner of CBP should evaluate the ISF enforcement strategies used by ATUs to assess whether particular enforcement methods could be applied to ports with relatively low submission rates.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP plans to discuss enforcement strategies during monthly conference calls held by the National Targeting Center-Cargo with all Advance Targeting Units (ATU) in order to identify the factors that are impacting ports with lower Importer Security Filing (ISF) compliance rates. In addition, CBP plans to leverage the strategies employed by ATUs overseeing ports with higher ISF compliance rates in order to increase the ISF submission rates at the ports with lower compliance rates. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should identify and collect additional performance information on the impact of the ISF rule data, such as the identification of shipments containing contraband, to better evaluate the effectiveness of the ISF program.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP is developing a plan (by August 31, 2017) to assess additional performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the Importer Security Filing Program. After the plan has been developed, CBP will extract the performance data for analysis and, if needed, take actions to implement changes to the Program. This recommendation will remain open until CBP's planned actions are completed and meet the intent of GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Kimberly Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen CBP's trade enforcement efforts, the Commissioner of CBP should direct the Office of Trade to include performance targets, when applicable, in addition to performance measures in its Priority Trade Issue strategic and annual plans.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, CBP indicated that CBP's Office of Trade has been performing biweekly reviews of current performance measure results and had scheduled a management planning meeting to closeout FY 2017. CBP indicated that these efforts will help establish the performance target baselines for FY 2018. CBP indicated that it plans to establish the FY 2018 priorities and Priority Trade Issue strategic and annual plans, but as of September 2017 has not provided timeframes for project completion.
    Recommendation: To strengthen CBP's trade enforcement efforts, the Commissioner of CBP should direct the Office of Trade and the Office of Field Operations to develop a long-term hiring plan that articulates how CBP will reach its staffing targets for trade positions set in the Homeland Security Act and the agency's resource optimization model.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2017, CBP indicated that, in order to develop a long-term hiring plan, CBP's Office of Trade (OT), Office of Field Operations (OFO), and Human Resources Management (HRM) established a working group of key stakeholders to define the hiring challenges related to the trade positions. CBP identified the key stakeholders for the working group and was planning its first meeting for the working group. In the interim, CBP indicated that it was actively addressing trade hiring gaps through a variety of mechanisms that includes building recruiting partnerships with universities as well as closely tracking and monitoring the hiring of import specialists from initial announcement through entrance on duty.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To inform DOT's development of its national freight strategy and associated freight efforts, such as states' development of freight plans, newly established freight funding programs, and advancing DOT's efforts to implement national freight policies, in the development of the freight data strategy, the Secretary of Transportation should include a specific plan to identify: (1) appropriate freight data sources, information, and analytic tools for transportation modes involved in the freight network and supply chains; (2) data gaps that could help both the agency and states and local governments in the development of their freight plans, and an approach for addressing obstacles to developing high-quality, reliable supply chain information; (3) current and planned efforts that can provide insights into supply chains and their impacts on freight networks; and (4) how DOT plans to use the supply chain information and analytical tools to inform freight planning and programming.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Kimberly M. Gianopoulos
    Phone: (202) 512-8612

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better manage the AD/CV duty liquidation process, CBP should issue guidance directing the Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralization Team to (a) collect and analyze data on a regular basis to identify and address the causes of liquidations that occur contrary to the process or outside the 6-month time frame mandated by statute, (b) track progress on reducing such liquidations, and (c) report on any effects these liquidations may have on revenue.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. As of December 2017, CBP has partially addressed this recommendation. CBP has issued guidance requiring the collection, analysis, calculation, and reporting of AD/CV data to identify and address the causes of liquidations that occur contrary to the process or outside the 6-month time frame mandated by statute, as GAO recommended in July 2016. However, CBP's 2017 self-inspection program found that the rate of compliance to liquidate AD/CV duty entries in a timely manner declined from 89 percent in 2016 to 50 percent in 2017 after improving from about 76 percent in 2015. CBP attributed a number of factors for the decline in the rate of compliance. These include changes in the workflow associated with AD/CV processing stemming from, among other things, the realignment of key staff from ports of entry (POEs) to the Centers for Excellence and Expertise (CEEs), along with a failure on the part of POEs to properly oversee and liquidate entries. To address the decline in the rate of compliance, in November 2017, CBP issued updated guidance that places primary responsibility for identifying, overseeing, and liquidating AD/CV duty entries on the CEEs. Also, CBP's 2017 self-inspection program analysis noted that staff knowledge of AD/CV policies and procedures was lacking. To address this concern, in November 2017 CBP conducted a national webinar for CEE and POE staff that process AD/CV duty entries. As of December, 2017, CBP was in the process of producing an on-demand video covering a variety of AD/CV topics. CBP's updated guidance requires the use of processing and oversight reports within CBP's Automated Commercial Environment to manage AD/CV liquidation processing in place of the data management portal that CBP created in February 2015. CBP said that these changes will make the processing of AD/CV more efficient and accurate. CBP has issued guidance and has begun to address the causes of untimely AD/CV liquidations, but needs to continue to track, report, and reduce the number of these liquidations in order to reduce revenue loss.
    Recommendation: To improve risk management in the collection of AD/CV duties and to identify new or changing risks, CBP should regularly conduct a comprehensive risk analysis that assesses both the likelihood and the significance of risk factors related to AD/CV duty collection. For example, CBP could construct statistical models that explore the associations between potential risk factors and both the probability of nonpayment and the size of nonpayment when it occurs.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. As of December 2017, CBP has partially addressed this recommendation. CBP is in the process of developing a risk model to enable it to conduct a risk analysis on a regular basis. As of December 2017, CBP was adding and updating the data used in a base model it had created in order to determine the significance of additional risk factors as well as taking steps to ensure that the model provides a more informed analysis. CBP expects to complete this process by the end of March, 2018. CBP officials said that full implementation of the model will not take place until the end of fiscal year 2018 due to the complexity of the project, which among other things, will require them to automate the process of incorporating additional risk factor data into the model. Regularly conducting a comprehensive risk analysis of factors related to AD/CV duty non-collection could enhance CBP's capacity to collect additional revenue. For example, it could result in the identification of new factors generating a requirement for an importer to provide additional security in the form of bonds as part of an enhanced bonding requirement.
    Recommendation: To improve risk management in the collection of AD/CV duties, CBP should, consistent with U.S. law and international obligations, take steps to use its data and risk assessment strategically to mitigate AD/CV duty nonpayment, such as by using predictive risk analysis to identify entries that pose heightened risk and taking appropriate action to mitigate the risk.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: CBP concurred with this recommendation and said it would take steps to implement it. As of December 2017, CBP has partially addressed this recommendation. CBP has discussed several options with the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee to help mitigate the risk of nonpayment, including monitoring the extent to which accumulated AD/CV duties can be paid for using corresponding bonds. However, further steps cannot be taken until CBP completes its risk model. The model will use predictive risk analysis to identify entries that pose a heightened risk of nonpayment and take appropriate action to mitigate the risk. Developing a risk analysis model to use in mitigating AD/CV duty nonpayment could enhance CBP's capacity to collect additional revenue. For example, it could be used to identify entries from importers requiring additional security in the form of bonds as part of an enhanced bonding requirement.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As the Chair of the Committee on the Marine Transportation System, the Secretary of Transportation should ensure the review and update, as needed, of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System. In ensuring the review and update of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System, the Secretary should (1) establish accountability mechanisms--such as developing clear and desired results, specific milestones, and outcome-related performance measures--for the recommended actions of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System, and (2) establish and implement a schedule for regular reporting of progress made in addressing the recommended actions of the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As July 2017, the CMTS coordinating board approved the National Strategy for the Marine Transportation System and submitted to the Secretary of Transportation for approval.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202)512-4101

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the performance measures used to evaluate the TAA for Firms program demonstrate program results and to help ensure that EDA can comprehensively evaluate the effectiveness of the program, the Secretary of Commerce should broaden the program's evaluation approach, for instance, by developing additional quantifiable outcome-oriented performance goals and measures for key program areas and conducting further analysis of the data to isolate the impact of the TAA for Firms program from other influences, such as economic trends.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce concurred with our findings and recommendations. In December 2017, EDA provided additional information on its progress in implementing our recommendation. In 2012, EDA commissioned a study to inform the development of performance metrics and evaluation methods for the TAA for Firms program. Issued in October 2014, the study provided recommendations to EDA on potential performance metrics, tested the metrics by conducting a statistical analysis of TAA for Firms clients against a control group as well as a survey, and suggested data sources for conducting future evaluations of the TAA for Firms program. According to EDA officials, the study will help provide a foundation for more robust longitudinal performance measurement and enhanced policy analysis, thereby enabling EDA to more comprehensively evaluate the program. These officials noted that, in April 2017, the authors of the study finalized an operational toolkit containing recommended metrics and protocols for data collection and impact evaluation methods. In June 2017, EDA began to pilot test these recommended metrics and evaluation methods to improve program evaluation. In December 2017, EDA formed a working group to further refine the new evaluation system and metrics based on the results of the pilot tests. EDA expects to implement new evaluation system and metrics by the beginning of fiscal year 2019, according to EDA officials. We will continue to monitor Commerce's efforts to implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the data available to manage and evaluate the TAA for Firms program, the Secretary of Commerce should develop a data system to consistently collect, maintain, and analyze sufficiently reliable and up-to-date data on program operations and participant firms.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce concurred with our findings and recommendations. In December 2017, EDA provided additional information on its progress in implementing our recommendation. According to EDA officials, as of December 2017, EDA had developed an improvement plan for its agency-wide data system for collecting data on program operations. According to these officials, EDA expects that the plan will guide EDA in transitioning to a new data system for the TAA for Firms program. We will continue to monitor Commerce's efforts to implement our recommendation.