GAO report: Trade committee failed to compile resource allocation data

foil.seal.gaoThe Government Accountability Office found in a recent study of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee—established in 1993 under former president Bill Clinton—that the committee failed to compile information on resources dedicated to exports and trade promotion.

The TPCC is required to examine resource allocation and develop a government-wide set of priorities, review current programs in relation to priorities and propose a trade promotion budget to the president that supports the plan.

In 2010, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative designed to double U.S. exports over the course of five years. The GAO report found that while the TPCC’s reports since the creation of the NEI detail government priorities and goal progress, it did not discuss how resources are allocated in relation to priorities.

“As a result, decision makers lack a clear understanding of the total resources dedicated across the country and around the world by TPCC member agencies to priority areas, such as increasing exports by small- and medium-sized businesses,” the report said.  “GAO has previously reported that effective national strategies should address costs and has found shortcomings in the committee’s response to the budget-related portions of its mandate.”

The GAO recommended that the TPCC develop and issue guidance to member agencies on the kind of information they should provide related to resources spent on export promotion, and that the TPCC report how resources are allocated by agency and aligned with the plan’s priorities.

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