United States General Accounting Office GAO National Security and International Affairs Division June 1997 International Relations and Trade Issue Area Plan Fiscal Years 1997-99 GAO/IAP-97-6 Foreword As the investigative arm of the Congress and the nation’s auditor, the General Accounting Office is charged with following the federal dollar wherever it goes. Reflecting stringent standards of objectivity and independence, GAO’s audits, evaluations, and investigations promote a more efficient and cost-effective government; expose waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in federal programs; help the Congress target budget reductions; assess financial information management; and alert the Congress to developing trends that may have significant fiscal or budgetary consequences. In fulfilling its responsibilities, GAO performs original research and uses hundreds of databases or creates its own when information is unavailable elsewhere. To ensure that GAO’s resources are directed toward the most important issues facing the Congress, each of GAO’s 32 issue areas develops a strategic plan that describes the significance of the issues it addresses, the objectives, and the focus of its work. Each issue area relies heavily on input from congressional committees, agency officials, and subject matter experts in developing its strategic plan. The International Relations and Trade issue area covers programs of the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Information Agency, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; international programs of the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture; the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S International Trade Commission; and various related government organizations. The issue area is also responsible for examining U.S. participation in multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Our work in this issue area seeks to assess the cost and effectiveness of foreign affairs and international trade activities in promoting and protecting U.S. international interests. Our work focuses on • foreign affairs structures and management of functions and resources; • U.S. bilateral programs to assist and influence other countries; • U.S. participation in multilateral institutions; • international agreements, arrangements, and programs to promote U.S. security interests; • programs to promote and finance U.S. overseas business interests; and • trade agreements and efforts to improve U.S. access to foreign markets. Page 1 GAO/IAP-97-6 Foreword Our key planned work on these important issues is described in the following pages. Our planning process allows for updating and the flexibility to respond to emerging, significant events. If you have any questions or suggestions about this plan, please call me at (202) 512-4128. Benjamin F. Nelson Director, International Relations and Trade Issues Page 2 GAO/IAP-97-6 Contents 1 Foreword 4 Table I: Key Issues 6 Table II: Planned Major Work 7 Table III: GAO Contacts Page 3 GAO/IAP-97-6 Table I: Key Issues Issues Significance Foreign Affairs Management: Opportunities for restructuring, reengineering functions, eliminating nonessential Are the functions and resources of U.S. functions, and improving resource management need to be identified in order to ensure agencies structured and managed to reflect that resources are available to protect vital interests. new foreign policy priorities and fiscal realities? Bilateral Assistance and Influence: Questions continue to be raised about how U.S. programs are managed, whether Are programs achieving objectives and long-standing programs are achieving the intended results and helping advance current effectively advancing U.S. interests U.S. objectives, and if alternative programs could be more effective. overseas and are they managed efficiently? Participation in Multilateral Institutions: Efficient management and more effective strategies for advancing U.S. interests through How can U.S. participation in multilateral multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank are key congressional institutions more effectively advance U.S. concerns. Objective analyses are needed to guide decisionmakers who often have interests at reasonable cost? differing views on U.S. participation in these institutions. Promoting U.S. Security: The United States is relying more on multi-billion dollar international security How are international agreements, arrangements and programs to (1) counter the spread of dangerous arrangements, and programs addressing weapons/technologies and terrorism and (2) promote stability. Analyses are needed to security threats and are they affordable and answer questions on the efficacy, costs, and management of these arrangements and efficiently managed? programs. Trade Promotion and Finance: Fifteen U.S. agencies spend over $2.5 billion and provide over $25 billion in loans, Are U.S. government international trade and guarantees, and insurance to support U.S. international trade. Decisionmakers need to finance programs and agencies efficiently ensure that these U.S. resources are achieving the intended results and are managed managed and effective in promoting U.S. efficiently. economic interests? Trade Access and Policy: International trade agreements affect hundreds of billions of dollars in trade and millions How are U.S. trade policies advancing of U.S. jobs. Critics have expressed concerns that the United States has not been economic interests and are trade sufficiently aggressive in negotiating agreements and that some agreements may not agreements increasing U.S. access to achieve intended benefits, may adversely affect certain economic sectors, and could foreign markets? compromise U.S. sovereignty. Objective analyses are needed to answer questions on how U.S. and other countries’ trade polices are affecting U.S. interests. Page 4 GAO/IAP-97-6 Table I: Key Issues Objectives Focus of Work • Determine the compatibility of foreign • Plans to restructure the foreign affairs agencies. affairs agencies’ functions with new • Agencies’ reform and reengineering efforts. priorities, budgets, and capabilities. • Agencies’ plans/budgets for essential functions. • Identify ways to cut costs and improve • Major cost drivers. management of the foreign affairs apparatus and individual agencies. • Analyze justifications for funding requests. • Identify the cost, impact, progress, • Large, highly visible, or controversial country assistance programs and initiatives. obstacles, and/or policy options for specific • International drug control programs. initiatives and programs. • Reauthorization of Foreign Assistance Act. • Identify management improvements and potential legislative and regulatory changes aimed at cost-effectiveness. • Assess the costs and benefits of U.S. • U.N. costs and reforms. participation in multilateral institutions. • Opportunities for more effective U.S. participation. • Assess the effectiveness of selected • Refugee and humanitarian assistance. institutions and programs. • Determine costs, progress, and obstacles • Programs to contain the spread of weapons of mass destruction. to U.S. strategies and programs to counter • Peacekeeping missions. emerging security threats. • Bilateral and multilateral security agreements/treaties. • Identify management improvements and • U.S. export control regime. cost-saving measures. • Major international arms transfers. • Identify programs that are not serving intended purposes. • Identify ways to improve the effectiveness • Organization of agencies (overseas and headquarters) that support U.S. international and cut the costs of U.S. trade and finance economic interests. programs. • Agriculture’s export programs. • Identify ways to improve governmentwide • Reauthorizations of Overseas Private Investment Cooperation (OPIC) and the Export- strategic planning, budgeting, and Import Bank (EXIM). interagency coordination. • Evaluate whether participation in specific • NAFTA, Uruguay Round, and other multilateral agreements. trade agreements advances U.S. interests. • Bilateral trade agreements with major trading partners. • Identify barriers to U.S. access to foreign • U.S. efforts to reduce nontariff trade barriers. markets. • Integration of non-market economies into World Trade Organization (WTO). • Analyze how U.S. policies and programs impact on U.S. economic interests. Page 5 GAO/IAP-97-6 Table II: Planned Major Work Issue Planned Major Jobs Starts Foreign Affairs Management • Assessment of security requirements and costs at diplomatic posts. • Analysis of efforts to develop a modern/efficient foreign affairs information systema (ongoing). • Effectiveness of cost-sharing arrangements at overseas posts. • Agencies’ progress in implementing overseas staffing models. • Opportunities to reengineer major overseas support functions (ongoing). Bilateral Assistance and Influence • Effectiveness of enterprise funds in assisting countries’ transition to market economies. • Options to seek economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. • Effectiveness of U.S. and international programs to combat HIV/AIDS (ongoing). • Impact of U.S. foreign aid programs. Participation in Multilateral Institutions • Effectiveness of the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Servicesa (ongoing). • Progress of reform at the United Nations. • U.N. pay and compensation. Promoting U.S. Security • Effectiveness of international nuclear controls and safeguards. • Costs to expand NATO (ongoing). • Rationale for current U.S. security assistance apparatus. • International cooperation in combatting terrorism. • China’s proliferation performance. • Management of DOD’s counterproliferation programs. • U.S. agreements and commitments in the Persian Gulf. Trade Promotion and Finance • Reauthorizations of EXIM and OPIC (ongoing). • Assessment of U.S. representation of overseas economic interests. • U.S. and competitors’ promotion of business interests in Asia. • Options to reduce costs of Agriculture’s export programs. Trade Policy and Access • Costs/impact of NAFTA (ongoing). • Efforts to gain access to financial services markets in Asia. • Analysis of OECD investment agreement and U.S. interests. • Implications of integrating countries with state trading enterprises into WTO. a To be done in coordination with GAO’s Accounting and Information Management Division. Page 6 GAO/IAP-97-6 Table III: GAO Contacts Benjamin F. Nelson (202) 512-4128 Director Harold J. Johnson, Jr. (202) 512-4128 Associate Directors Jess T. Ford (202) 512-4268 JayEtta Hecker (202) 512-4128 John Brummet Assistant Directors Sharon W. Chamberlain Diana M. Glod Virginia C. Hughes A. H. Huntington, III John P. Hutton Stephen W. Lord Ronald A. Kushner Bruce L. Kutnick David R. Martin Tetsuo Miyabara LeRoy W. Richardson F. James Shafer, Jr. Elizabeth J. Sirois Lawrence L. Suda Celia J. Thomas Phillip J. Thomas Louis H. Zanardi Page 7 GAO/IAP-97-6 Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. 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International Relations and Trade Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Years 1997-99
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-05-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)