Summary of Program Activities

Public Law 104-127, the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (FAIR Act), was signed into law on April 4, 1996. The FAIR Act oriented trade and food aid programs toward greater market development, with increased emphasis on high-value and value-added products. It reauthorized and revised such longstanding export assistance programs as Public Law (P.L.) 480, short- and intermediate-term export credit guarantees (GSM-102 and GSM-103), the Export Enhancement Program, the Dairy Export Incentive Program, and the Market Access Program (formerly the Market Promotion Program). The FAIR Act also provided for the creation of the Supplier Credit Guarantee Program and the Facility Guarantee Program.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers the export assistance programs contained in the FAIR Act, except for Titles II and III of the revised P.L. 480, which are assigned by law to the Agency for International Development. Within USDA, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is the leader in developing and executing these programs and initiatives.

Food Aid Programs

The FAIR Act reauthorized and added activities to one of the oldest U.S. export assistance programs--P.L. 480, also known as Food for Peace. Fiscal year 1999 commodity programming for food aid under P.L. 480 is estimated at $1.4 billion, including $910 million for Title I (including Title I/Food for Progress), $469 million for Title II (including Title II/World Food Program), and $19 million for Title III.

The FAIR Act reauthorized Title I government-to-government concessional sales and included the authority to sign agreements with private entities. It also modified the repayment terms for Title I credit, eliminating the minimum repayment period of 10 years and reducing the maximum grace period from 7 to 5 years. An agricultural trade organization will be allowed to carry out projects or programs in developing countries using funds from the sale of Title I commodities if the organization has a market development plan approved by the Secretary of Agriculture.

For FY 1999, concessional sales of about 3.1 million metric tons of commodities valued at $910 million will be made to 18 countries under Title I and the Food for Progress program using Title I funds. These value totals do not include ocean freight financing and ocean freight grants. As of January 13, agreements were being developed for 2.8 million tons of commodities valued at about $808 million. This included Title I concessional sales and Title I-funded Food for Progress donations of 1.8 million tons valued at about $615 million as part of the assistance package to Russia announced by the Secretary of Agriculture on November 6, 1998.

The FAIR Act reauthorized the Title II emergency and private assistance donations program. It increased the maximum level of funding that can be provided as overseas administrative support from $13.5 million to $28 million and added intergovernmental organizations such as the World Food Program to the list of organizations eligible to receive these funds. For FY 1999, about 2.2 million metric tons of commodities valued at an estimated $469 million will be donated under Title II, including Title II donations through the World Food Program.

The FAIR Act reauthorized the Title III Food for Development program. This program provides government-to-government food assistance grants to least-developed countries. Local sales proceeds can be used to support a variety of economic development and related activities in recipient countries. For FY 1999, 152,000 metric tons of commodities valued at about $19 million will be programmed under Title III.

Another program, Food for Progress, is carried out using commodities available for distribution under Section 416(b), funds available to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), or funds appropriated under P.L. 480, Title I. The program provides commodities to needy countries as a reward for having undertaken economic or agricultural reform. The FAIR Act extended the authority for the Food for Progress program to provide assistance in the administration and monitoring of food assistance programs to strengthen private sector agriculture in recipient countries through 2002. The authority was also expanded to include intergovernmental organizations in Food for Progress programming, to make sales on credit terms to all eligible countries in addition to the former Soviet Union, and to include the provision of technical assistance for monetization programs.

As of January 5, FY 1999 Food for Progress bilateral agreements using the Title I authority were planned with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, and Russia totaling 272,400 metric tons valued at about $94 million. In addition, a Food for Progress agreement with a private entity using the Title I authority was planned in Russia totaling 56,600 tons valued at about $10 million. Dollar totals exclude transportation. Food for Progress programs using CCC funds were planned with U.S. private voluntary organizations for projects in 20 countries totaling 105,000 tons of commodities valued at about $62 million. The Food for Progress program is limited by a global 500,000-metric-ton legislative ceiling and by a cap of $35 million on noncommodity costs paid directly by CCC (primarily transportation).

The FAIR Act reauthorized the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, which can include middle-income countries and emerging markets. FAIR also increased the minimum percentage of P.L. 480 funding for the Farmer-to-Farmer Program from 0.2 to 0.4 percent.

Section 416(b) of the Agricultural Act of 1949 provides for the donation of eligible commodities held by the CCC to needy countries. For FY 1999, donations of 5 million metric tons of commodities valued at about $681 million are planned under the Section 416(b) program. On July 18, 1998, President Clinton announced a Food Aid Initiative providing for the purchase of wheat by the U.S. Government from the domestic market. Two authorities are being used to carry out the initiative. The wheat is purchased under the authority of the CCC Charter Act and is donated under the authority of Section 416(b). As of January 11, donations of 4.3 million tons of wheat and wheat flour valued at about $569 million were planned under this initiative during FY 1999. In addition, 9,500 tons of nonfortified, nonfat dry milk and 50,000 tons of corn have been determined available for 416(b) programming in FY 1999. As of January 11, about 2,700 tons of the nonfat dry milk had been programmed.

Commercial Export Credit Guarantee Programs

The FAIR Act mandates a minimum annual program level of $5.7 billion for the Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) and the Intermediate Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-103), but it allows flexibility in how much is made available for each program. The GSM-102 program guarantees repayments of short-term credits (90 days to 3 years) extended by U.S. financial institutions to eligible banks in countries that purchase U.S. farm products. As of December 31, 1998, GSM-102 allocations of about $3.5 billion were announced to 22 countries and 11 regions, including the Andean, Baltic, Central America, Central Europe, East Africa, East Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Southeast Europe, Southern Africa, West Africa, and West Caribbean regions. Under this availability, GSM-102 registrations totaled about $700 million for nine countries and six regions.

Guarantees issued under the GSM-103 program can cover financing periods of more than 3 and up to 10 years. This program is designed to help developing nations make the transition from concessional financing to cash purchases. As of December 31, 1998, $285 million in intermediate credit guarantees were made available for sales to nine countries and two regions B the Central America and Southern Africa regions. Under this availability, GSM-103 registrations totaled about $10 million for two countries.

The Supplier Credit Guarantee Program (SCGP) became operational in late FY 1996. This program is designed to encourage U.S. exporters to expand, maintain, and develop markets for U.S. agricultural products in areas where commercial financing may not be available without a CCC payment guarantee. The program can help U.S. exporters who wish to provide short-term credits (180 days or less) directly to their foreign buyers.

As of December 31, 1998, SCGP allocations totaled $341 million in coverage for sales to 11 countries and six regions, including the Baltic, Central America, Central Europe, East Carribean, Southeast Asia, and Southeast Europe regions. Under the announced FY 1999 availability, registrations totaled about $11.2 million.

The Facility Credit Program was implemented in December 1997 to extend credit guarantees for export sales of U.S. capital goods and services to improve agriculture-related facilities in emerging markets. No sales have been registered under this program in FY 1999.

Export Assistance Programs

The Export Enhancement Program (EEP), announced by USDA on May 15, 1985, operates under authority of the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 as amended, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, and the FAIR Act. The EEP permits USDA to provide bonuses to make U.S. commodities more competitive in the world marketplace and to offset the adverse effects of unfair trade practices or subsidies. The FAIR Act sets maximum funding levels for CCC to make available for the EEP each fiscal year through 2002 as follows: FY 1996, $350 million; FY 1997, $250 million; FY 1998, $500 million; FY 1999, $550 million; FY 2000, $579 million; FY 2001, $478 million; and FY 2002, $478 million. However, for FY 1997, the Appropriations Act authorized $100 million for EEP bonuses and a subsequent Supplemental Appropriations Act effectively reduced the amount authorized for EEP bonuses to $10 million.

On June 30, 1998, one-year allocations under the EEP were announced for wheat, wheat flour, barley, barley malt, rice, vegetable oils, frozen poultry, and eggs that coincide with the quantity limitations of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture. The EEP is currently operational only for frozen poultry under a 20,210-metric-ton allocation announced July 1, 1998, to six Middle Eastern countries. As of January 29, 1999, EEP bonuses had been awarded for sales of 1,500 metric tons of frozen poultry.

Section 148 of the FAIR Act extended the Dairy Export Incentive Program (DEIP) through FY 2002. Section 148 focuses the DEIP on market development, providing full authority and funding to reach the volume or spending limits consistent with U.S. obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization. The DEIP operates on a bid bonus system similar to EEP, with cash bonus payments. The DEIP program helps exporters of U.S. dairy products meet prevailing world prices and helps develop foreign markets for the targeted products.

Allocations under the current DEIP program for July 1, 1998, through June 30, 1999, were announced on June 30 last year. The major markets being assisted include Africa, Asia, the Former Soviet Union, Latin America, and the Middle East. As of January 29, bonus values totaling around $105 million were awarded for 94,924 metric tons of nonfat dry milk, 3,656 tons of whole milk powder, 2,662 tons of processed American cheese, 334 tons of mozzarella cheese, and 1 ton of cheddar cheese.

The Market Access Program (MAP) was authorized by the FAIR Act. The MAP is funded at $90 million annually for FY 1996 through 2002 and is designed to encourage the development, maintenance, and expansion of foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products. The MAP forms a partnership among small businesses, cooperatives, state-regional trade groups, trade associations, and FAS to use the experience of specialists deployed around the world and share the costs of eligible overseas marketing and promotional activities. Eligible activities include consumer promotions, market research, technical assistance, and trade servicing. In

FY 1998, USDA allocated $90 million in MAP funding to 64 U.S. trade organizations for export promotion activities in foreign markets. A Federal Register notice was published on February 1, 1999, announcing that USDA is accepting applications for the FY 1999 MAP.

The Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) also provides cost-share assistance to eligible nonprofit agricultural trade organizations to conduct approved international market development activities. USDA enters into agreements with nonprofit U.S. trade organizations that have the broadest producer representation of the commodity being promoted and gives priority to those organizations that are nationwide in membership and scope. Activities conducted under this program generally address long-term foreign import constraints and are designed to maintain and expand long-term growth in demand for U.S. agricultural products.

For FY 1999, USDA allocated $33.5 million to 26 U.S. trade organizations for export promotion activities under FMD. A Federal Register notice was published on February 1, 1999, announcing that USDA is accepting applications for the FY 2000 FMD.