HUD's Sponsorship of U.S. Companies' Participation in the International Trade Show for Construction Equipment and Technology in Moscow, U.S.S.R.

Gao ID: T-RCED-88-57 August 3, 1988

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the: (1) Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) trade promotion expenditures and activities relating to a construction equipment and technology trade show held in Moscow; and (2) trade show's effectiveness in securing business opportunities for participating U.S. firms in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). GAO noted that HUD: (1) was the designated U.S. executive agency for implementing a U.S.-USSR agreement on housing and other construction; (2) undertook the trade promotion activities with the Department of Commerce's support; (3) delivered product information and conducted an advance marketing mission to identify Soviet interest in U.S. products, resulting in the participation of 110 U.S. firms in the trade show; (4) violated the Antideficiency Act, since it did not have authority to spend about $1.6 million in appropriated funds for commercial trade promotion activities and did not charge the funds to its research support account; and (5) did not follow Commerce trade promotion practices when it paid certain expenses for participating U.S. firms. GAO also noted that eight companies have reported conducting some business as a result of the trade show, with: (1) four firms conducting less than $25,000 worth of work; (2) two firms conducting between $25,000 and $100,000; and (3) two firms conducting over $1 million.

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