U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Small Business
April 26, 2006 Hearing: Cutting Our Trade Deficit: Can the U.S. Muster
Its Diverse Trade Promotion Operations to Make an Impact?

It was the author’s pleasure to work with the Committee’s Chairman, Rep. Donald Manzullo on this Hearing as well as with Reps. Mica, Kelly and their staffs, for the follow-on Inspections.

Building on the adverse findings from the April 2006 Hearing, some seven Inspectors General were engaged to undertake specific federal department reviews of the identified shortcomings.

National Export Strategy
In September 2007, a Consolidated Inspectors General Report was issued covering the Congressionally Mandated National Export Strategy and the operations of the U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee.

In summary, the report concluded that the National Export Strategy which had been submitted to Congress did not clearly articulate a strategy, establish consistent goals for promoting exports, align agency-specific strategic objectives with government-wide export promotion strategic goals, or measure progress toward meeting those goals. To correct these shortcomings, greater effort was needed by the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee to outreach to and engage all federal departments to better prepare and implement a comprehensive strategy.

Trade Facilitation
In March 2007, a Commerce Department Inspector General’s Report was issued covering the trade facilitation operations of the Department including its officers assigned overseas, within the states, and at the multi-lateral development banks.

In summary, the report highlighted the urgent need to manage the identified trade leads so that U.S. businesses could better take advantage of the business opportunities. It identified various disconnects within the federal government that impeded the efficient and effective implementation of a sound export strategy.

In February 2007, a Agriculture Department Inspector General’s Report was issued covering the use of the large trade promotion funding that has been made available on a yearly basis.

In summary, the report documented the fact, that while the Department knew which private organizations received the funding provided for trade promotion, it was unable to document how the funds were used or if any real results were achieved.

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