Market Access Program comes under scrutiny

From the New York Times:

In India, one of the most-talked-about television programs is the reality show “Let’s Design.”

Aspiring designers create fashionable outfits using cotton, and this year India’s leading fashion house will showcase the winner’s clothing in its store; the winner will also be profiled in the fashion magazine Verve and win a trip to Paris to meet international designers.

And the American taxpayer helps foot the bill.

The show, now in its third season, is the creation of the Cotton Council International, a trade association representing the United States cotton industry. The council received $20.3 million in matching funds last year under a United States Agriculture Department program to promote and advertise products abroad.

The money given out under the Market Access Program is used by agricultural trade associations like the cotton council to pay for advertising, consumer promotions, market research, technical assistance and travel.

For Groups That Sell Goods Abroad, Help From U.S. Taxpayers

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