Summary: H.R.1993 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (10/13/1999)

Export Enhancement Act of 1999 - Sets forth policy recommendations for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the International Trade Administration (ITA).

(Sec. 4) Amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to extend through FY 2003 OPIC's authority to issue investment insurance and guarantees.

(Sec. 5) Revises certain OPIC requirements to prohibit the OPIC Board of Directors from voting in favor of any proposed action likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse, or unprecedented unless: (1) an environmental impact assessment or initial environmental audit has been completed by the project applicant and made available to the Board of Directors; and (2) such assessment or audit has been made available to the U.S. public, locally affected groups in the host country, and host country nongovernmental organizations.

Directs the President of OPIC, prior to any OPIC decision regarding insurance, reinsurance, guarantees, or financing of any project, to meet with at least one member of the public who is representative of individuals who have concerns regarding any significant adverse environmental impact of such project. Requires the Board of Directors of OPIC, in making such decisions, to take fully into account any recommendations made by other interested Federal agencies, interested members of the public, locally affected groups in the host country, and host country nongovernmental organizations with respect to environmental impact assessments or initial environmental audits made regarding proposed projects. Requires the Board to hold at least one public hearing every six months (currently, each year) in order to afford an opportunity for any person to present views with respect to OPIC activities.

Directs the Inspector General of the Agency for International Development (AID) to review OPIC's procedures for financing, insuring, and reinsuring operations in order to determine whether it receives sufficient information from project applicants, Federal agencies, and members of the public and other countries on the environmental impact of investments insured, reinsured, or financed by it.

(Sec. 6) Prohibits OPIC from issuing any contract of insurance or reinsurance, or any guaranty, or to enter into any agreement to provide financing for investment in a foreign manufacturing enterprise, if such investment would cause a reduction in U.S. manufacturing.

(Sec. 7) Urges the General Accounting Office to report to specified congressional committees with respect to the review of OPIC claims activities.

(Sec. 8) Prohibits Federal agencies and their employees from intervening with the intent to impede or delay any pending settlement determination on any claim arising as a result of OPIC's insurance, reinsurance, or guaranty operations unless such intervention is published in the Federal Register. Directs OPIC to report to Congress on such interventions.

(Sec. 9) Revises the purposes of the Trade and Development Agency to include, with respect to the promotion of U.S. private sector participation in development projects in developing and middle-income countries, special emphasis on economic sectors with significant U.S. export potential, such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, and environment. Directs the Agency to require corporations and other entities to: (1) share the costs of feasibility studies and other project planning services; and (2) reimburse the Agency those funds it has provided, if the corporation or entity concerned succeeds in project implementation. Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes appropriations to the ITA for its Market Access and Compliance program, Trade Development program, and Commercial Service program.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, to take steps to ensure the appointment of Commercial Service employees in no fewer than ten sub-Saharan African countries, one full-time Commercial Service employee in the Baltic states, full-time employees in South and Central America, and an adequate number of employees in the Caribbean, in order that U.S. businesses are made aware of existing market opportunities for goods and services.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Undersecretary of Commerce for the International Trade Administration, to make a special effort to: (1) identify those goods and services of U.S. companies which are not being exported to Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa but which are being exported to countries in those regions by competitor nations; (2) identify trade barriers and noncompetitive actions, including violations of intellectual property rights, that are preventing or hindering the operation of U.S. companies in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America; (3) publish such information annually; (4) bring it to the attention of authorities in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America with the goal of securing greater market access for U.S. exporters; and (5) report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate the results of efforts to increase the sales of U.S. goods and services in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Urges the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) to report to Congress with respect to those countries in which goods or services produced or originating in the United States, that would otherwise be competitive in those countries, do not have market access.

Directs the ITA to undertake a Global Diversity and Urban Export Initiative in order to increase exports from minority-owned businesses and businesses in under-served areas, including inner-city urban enterprise zones. Authorizes the ITA to advertise in newspapers, business journals, and other relevant publications and related media to inform businesses about ITA services.

Directs the ITA, subject to the availability of appropriations, to take necessary steps to increase the number of standards attaches in the European Union and in developing countries.

Directs the ITA to expand its efforts to assist small businesses in exporting their products and services abroad by using electronic commerce technology and other electronic means.

(Sec. 11) Revises the composition of the OPIC Board of Directors.

(Sec. 12) Amends the Export Enhancement Act of 1988 to require the TPCC to develop a Federal trade promotion plan that, among other things, shall: (1) ensure that all export promotion activities of the Agency for International Development (AID) are fully coordinated and consistent with those of other agencies; (2) identify the means for providing more coordinated export promotion services to small and medium-sized businesses; and (3) establish a set of priorities to promote U.S. exports to, and free market reforms in, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and other emerging markets, that are designed to stimulate job growth both in the United States and those regions and emerging markets.

(Sec. 13) Requires the TPCC to: (1) report on actions taken to eliminate the areas of overlap and duplication identified among Federal export promotion activities; (2) coordinate efforts to sponsor or promote any trade show or trade fair; (3) work with all relevant State and national organizations, including the National Governors' Association, that have established trade promotion offices; and (4) report to Congress on actions taken to promote better coordination among State, Federal, and private sector export promotion activities.

(Sec. 14) Changes the deadline for TPCC annual reports from September 30 to March 30.