GAO’s International Affairs and Trade Mission Team

thumbnail international affairsGAO’s workforce is organized largely by subject area, with most employees working in 1 of 14 mission teams. Today we’ll be putting the spotlight on the International Affairs and Trade (IAT) team, which works on a broad range of international topics assisting the global community in addressing challenging issues through objective research and oversight in order to improve global prosperity and peace.

Reports

IAT reports cover six issue areas:

  • Foreign assistance
    • For example, we recently reported on the implementation and sustainability of earthquake reconstruction projects in Haiti.
  • Foreign affairs management
    • One recent report addressed delays in obtaining Pakistani visas that disrupt the delivery and oversight of U.S. assistance to Pakistan.
  • International counterterrorism
    • One report recommended ways that DHS could better ensure that its resources abroad for combating terrorism align with its priorities.
  • International finance and multilateral organizations
    • Work in this area includes a recent report on the effects of U.S. and international sanctions on the Iranian economy.
  • International security
    • One recent report assessed U.S. agencies’ funding and activities that support the Central America Regional Security Initiative.
  • International trade
    • We recently reported, for example, on key challenges that small- and medium-sized businesses face when they try to impose antidumping and countervailing duties to seek relief from unfair trade practices.

For more on our work, see our Key Issue pages on Countering Overseas Threats, Export Promotion, and International Food Assistance.

Impact

In fiscal year 2013, IAT’s work identified $2.7 billion in financial benefits for the federal government as well as other efficiencies. Directors from IAT testified at nine congressional hearings. And, IAT reported on U.S. interests in such countries as Afghanistan, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe.

A Closer Look at an IAT report:  U.S. Assistance to Yemen

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorists based in Yemen are a continuing national security threat to the United States—a threat exacerbated by Yemen’s fragile economic, social, and political situation. In response, U.S. agencies have invested more than $1 billion in security and civilian assistance since 2007 in support of U.S. strategic goals for Yemen. For example, the Department of Defense has provided weapons for counterterrorism activities. We made recommendations to USAID and DOD to better enable congressional and agency oversight of U.S. assistance programs. (GAO-13-310)

weaponsImage excerpted from GAO-13-310


  • Questions on the content of this post? Contact the Managing Director of IAT, Loren Yager, at yagerl@gao.gov.
  • Comments on GAO’s WatchBlog? Contact blog@gao.gov.
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