7 CFR § 1489.14 - Application review and formation of agreements.
(a) General. CCC will, subject to the availability of funds, approve those applications that it considers to present the best opportunity for developing, maintaining, or expanding export markets for U.S. agricultural commodities. The selection process, by its nature, involves the exercise of judgment. CCC's choice of Participants and proposed promotion projects requires that it consider and weigh a number of factors, some of which cannot be mathematically measured - e.g., market opportunity, market strategy, and management capability. CCC may require that an applicant participate in the ATP through another ATP Participant.
(b) Application review criteria. In assessing the likelihood of success of the applications it receives and deciding which it will approve, CCC will follow results-oriented management principles and consider the following criteria:
(1) The effectiveness of program management;
(2) Soundness of accounting procedures;
(3) The nature of the applicant organization. With respect to nonprofit U.S. trade organizations, preference will be given to those organizations with the broadest base of producer representation of and affiliated industry participation for the commodity being promoted;
(4) Prior export promotion experience;
(5) Appropriateness of staffing;
(6) Adequacy of the applicant's strategic plan in the following categories:
(i) Description of target market conditions;
(ii) Description of and plan for addressing market constraints and opportunities;
(iii) Breadth of industry participation in strategic planning process;
(iv) Strategic prioritization identified in proposed plan;
(v) Export volume and value and market share goals in each target country;
(vi) Description of evaluation plan and suitability of the plan for performance measurement; and
(vii) Past CCC market development program results and/or evaluations, including program success stories.
(c) Allocation factors. CCC determines which applications to approve and develops preliminary recommended funding levels for each approved application based on the following factors, in addition to those in paragraph (b) of this section. CCC determines final funding levels after allocating available funds to approved applications on the basis of criteria that will be fully described in each program period's ATP Notice of Funds Availability announcement:
(1) Size of the budget request in relation to projected value of exports;
(2) Where applicable, size of the budget request in relation to actual value of exports in prior years;
(3) Where applicable, Participant's past projections of exports compared with actual exports;
(4) Level of contributions by the applicant and by all other sources to meet minimum cost share requirements;
(5) Market share goals in target country(ies);
(6) The percentage by weight, exclusive of added water, of U.S. agricultural commodities contained in the promoted products;
(7) The degree of value-added processing in the United States;
(8) Proposed ATP-funded general administrative and overhead costs compared to proposed ATP-funded direct promotional costs; and
(d) Approval decision -
(e) Formation of agreements. CCC will send a program agreement (or amendment to an existing program agreement), an approval letter, and a signature card to each approved applicant. The program agreement or amendment and the approval letter will outline which activities and budgets are approved and will specify any special terms and conditions applicable to an ATP Participant's program, including any requirements with respect to contributions and program evaluations. An applicant that decides to accept the terms and conditions contained in the program agreement or amendment and the approval letter must so indicate by having its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or designee sign the program agreement or amendment and the approval letter and submit these to CCC. Final agreement shall occur when the program agreement or amendment and the approval letter are signed by both parties.
(f) Signature cards. The ATP Participant shall designate at least two individuals in its organization to sign program agreements and amendments, approval letters, reimbursement claims, and advance requests. The ATP Participant shall submit the signature card signed by those designated individuals and by the ATP Participant's CEO to CCC. The Participant shall immediately notify CCC of any changes in signatories and shall submit a revised signature card accordingly.
(g) UES ID and passwords. CCC will provide each ATP Participant with IDs and passwords for the UES website, as necessary. ATP Participants shall protect these IDs and passwords in accordance with USDA's information technology policies that CCC will provide to ATP Participants. ATP Participants shall immediately notify CCC whenever a person who possesses the ID and password information no longer needs such information or a person who is not authorized gains such information.
(h) Annual certifications. An ATP Participant through which U.S. for-profit entities are participating in the ATP program shall obtain annual certifications from all such entities that certify their size or their status as U.S. agricultural cooperatives, as defined in these regulations. The Participant shall retain these certifications in accordance with the recordkeeping requirements of this part.
(i) Changes to activities and funding -
(1) Adding a new activity.
(i) An ATP Participant may not conduct a new activity without first obtaining an approved activity budget for such change. To request approval of such activity budget, the ATP Participant shall submit a notification to CCC.
(ii) A notification for a new activity shall provide an activity justification and identify any related adjustments to the approved strategic plan, including changes in market, constraint, or opportunity that the activity proposes to address. The notification shall contain the activity description, the proposed budget, and a justification of transfer of funds.
(iii) After receipt of the notification, CCC will inform the ATP Participant via the UES website whether the requested budget is approved.
(2) Modifying existing activities and their funding levels.
(i) An ATP Participant desiring to increase the funding level for existing, approved activities addressing a single constraint or opportunity by more than $25,000 or 25 percent of the approved funding level, whichever is greater, must first submit a notification explaining the adjustment to CCC before making such change.
(ii) An ATP Participant may make significant adjustments below that threshold to the funding levels for existing, approved activities without prior notification to CCC, only if it submits a notification explaining the adjustments to CCC no later than 30 days after the change. Minor adjustments to existing, approved activities and/or funding levels do not require notification.
(iii) Notifications shall describe the activity, changes to the activity, the existing funding level, the proposed funding level, and a justification for transfer of funds, if applicable.