[Federal Register: February 12, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 29)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Foreign Agricultural Service
Section 108 Foreign Currency Program
AGENCY: Foreign Agricultural Service.
SUMMARY: The Foreign Agricultural Service invites proposals from interested parties to use certain foreign currencies acquired by the United States for activities to expand markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and for technical assistance activities. All proposal submitted under the UES must be received by 5 pm Eastern Standard Time, March 12, 2001.
DATES: All proposals submitted under the UES must be received by 5 pm Eastern Standard Time, March 12, 2001.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Director, Marketing Operations Staff, Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 1042, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1042, (202) 720-4327.
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) will use available currencies of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Tunisia, to provide assistance in the implementation of market development and agricultural technical assistance activities. This use of foreign currencies is commonly referred to as the ``Section 108 foreign currency program.'' These foreign currencies were acquired by USDA pursuant to agreements made under Title I of the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, (Pub. L. 480).
Title I, Pub. L. 480 authorizes the U.S. government to finance the sale and exportation of agricultural commodities to foreign governments on concessional terms. Between 1986 and 1991, the U.S. entered into various Title I, Pub. L. 480 agreements with foreign governments, on terms which allowed repayment to the United States in local currencies. Pub. L. 480 authorizes the U.S. government to use these foreign currencies to implement market development and agricultural technical assistance activities.
This announcement supersedes all previous announcements regarding this program. On July 8, 1998, FAS published a notice in the Federal Register (63 FR 36872) inviting proposals to use Tunisian or Moroccan currencies for market development projects and technical assistance activities. On October 1, 1998, FAS published a notice in the Federal Register (63 FR 52677) inviting proposals to use currencies of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica, or Sri Lanka for market development projects and activities.
The currencies of Guatemala, Morocco, and Sri Lanka, which were available under the previous announcements, are no longer available. Consequently, FAS is now limiting new proposals to those which involve the use of currencies of Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, or Tunisia for market development projects or technical assistance activities.
FAS must disburse local currencies to program participants, through the disbursing officer in the U.S. embassy in the country of origin. That is, FAS may not convert the local currency to any other currency prior to disbursement. Activities funded with Section 108 currencies are not limited to the country where the currency originated. It is the responsibility of the recipient to arrange for receiving and using the foreign currencies made available, or converting the funds to other currencies. At the time of this announcement, approximately 750,000,000 Costa Rica colones; 200,000,000 Dominican Republic pesos; 500,000,000 Jamaica dollars; and 12,000,000 Tunisia dinars are available.
This notice is complemented by concurrent notices announcing four other foreign market development programs administered by FAS, including the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development Cooperator (Cooperator) Program, the Emerging Markets Program, and the Quality Samples Program (QSP). The MAP and Cooperator Program notices detail a Unified Export Strategy (UES) application process which provides a means for interested applicants to submit a consolidated and strategically coordinated single proposal that incorporates funding requests for any or all of these programs. Some applicants to the Section 108 foreign currency program, particularly those who are applying for funding under more than one program, may wish to use the UES application process. The Internet-based UES application, including step-by-step instructions for its use, is located at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/cooperators.html. Other applicants, particularly those who are applying for funding only under the Section 108 foreign currency program, should follow the application procedures contained in this notice. Interested applicants that are unsure of how to apply are urged to contact the Marketing Operations Staff at the address or phone number above.
FAS recommends that proposals to participate in the Section 108 foreign currency program contain, at a minimum, the following:
(a) Organizational information, including:
(b) Market information, including:
(c) Project information, including:
(d) Information indicating all funding sources and amounts to be contributed by each entity that will contribute to implementation of the proposed project. This may include the organization that submitted the proposal, private industry entities, host governments, foreign third parties, Commodity Credit Corporation, FAS, or other Federal agencies. Contributed resources may include cash, goods, and services;
(e) A completed Standard Form 424 (SF-424). This form is available on the Internet via the Section 108 fact sheet at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/108/108fact.htm, or by calling the contact listed above.
Review Process and Allocation Criteria
FAS will provide financial assistance under this program on a competitive basis and applications will be reviewed against the evaluation criteria contained herein. FAS will consider the following factors when evaluating proposals:
Proposals will be evaluated by the applicable FAS commodity division. The divisions will recommend funding levels for each applicant based on a review of the applications against the factors described above. The purpose of this review is to identify meritorious proposals and to suggest an appropriate funding level for each application based upon these factors.
Meritorious proposals will then be reviewed by representatives of each FAS program area for the purpose of allocating available funds among the applicants. FAS will allocate funds according to the following criteria.
First priority consideration will be given to proposals which target the growth markets listed below. These developing markets account for a significant share of world imports of major farm commodities and much of the projected long-term growth in global import demand. As such, they are expected to be among the most supportive of USDA's primary export objective of increasing the U.S. share of world agricultural trade.
First priority growth markets for allocation of Section 108 funds: Brazil, countries in Central America and the Caribbean Basin, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Turkey.
Second priority consideration will be given to proposals which target other markets where growth prospects for the relevant agricultural product are high. These proposals would serve to open new markets or bring about substantial growth in existing markets.
In all cases, preference is given to nonprofit U.S. agricultural trade organizations that represent an entire industry or are nationwide in membership and scope.
Note: FAS generally reviews Section 108 proposals on a quarterly basis (in January, April, July, and October.) However, FAS may also consider proposals on an accelerated basis if an urgent marketing opportunity becomes available. FAS will evaluate such proposals according to the criteria specified in this notice. Details concerning the accelerated review can be obtained from the Section 108 fact sheet on the Internet at the following URL address: http://www.fas.usda.gov/mos/108/108fact.htm or by calling the contact listed above.
Following approval of a proposal, FAS will enter into an agreement with the organization that submitted the proposal. Agreements will incorporate the project details as approved by FAS and specify any other terms and conditions applicable to project funding. Agreements include the maximum amount of funds, in local currencies rather than U.S. dollars, which may be made available for a participant's approved activities. All agreements with non-profit organizations under this program are administered under 7 CFR 3019--Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-profit Organizations.
Submission of Proposals
Proposals may be submitted on a continuous basis. However, all Internet-based Section 108 proposals (using the UES application) must be properly submitted by 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, March 12, 2001, because the UES entry website closes at that time. Signed certification statements must be delivered to one of the addresses listed below.
All proposals on diskette (with two accompanying paper copies and a signed certification statement) and any other proposals must be delivered to one of the following addresses:
Hand Delivery (including FedEx, DHL, etc.): U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Marketing Operations Staff, Room 4932-S, 14th and Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1042.
U.S. Postal Delivery: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service, Marketing Operations Staff, STOP 1042, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-1042.
Dated: January 31, 2001.
Mattie R. Sharpless,
Acting Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service.
[FR Doc. 01-3571 Filed 2-9-01; 8:45 am]
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