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SUSTA Principles

SUSTA’s standard of professional conduct is a benchmark that all SUSTA staff and SUSTA’s member states follow. SUSTA strives to operate with honesty, integrity and the highest possible standards of professionalism. By applying for SUSTA’s programs as a participant you also have a responsibility to adhere to certain rules of behavior and conduct. Please read the following codes and policies.

Fraud Corruption Statement
Zero Tolerance for Fraud
Non-Discrimination Policy
Standards of Conduct Policy
Terms and Conditions
Conflict of Interest Policy

 

Fraud Corruption Statement

SUSTA staff and its members play a key role in combating fraud. This includes providing an organizational framework from within that eliminates fraud from flourishing, and promotes an anti-fraud culture across the organization. This should provide a sound defense against internal and external abuse of public funds. Anyone found conducting fraud or violating the Zero Tolerance for Fraud Policy will be reported immediately to proper officials.

 

Zero Tolerance for Fraud

In the climate in which we operate to administer the USDA Market Access Program (MAP), the risks associated with entities looking at ways to create fraud are many. For those looking to commit fraud, they are actively seeking opportunities to commit fraud and are also creating a means to conceal the fraudulent act.

Our Organization’s goal is to ward off fraud by making sure we have internal controls in place to properly review all participants applying for USDA’s MAP program. SUSTA wants to be good stewards of taxpayer funds distributed through USDA’s MAP program and continue to enhance the reputation of our organization, those participating in our programs and the industry in which we operate.

SUSTA believes the strength of the MAP program is to open international markets for small to medium sized businesses. This means that participants are expected to conduct business in accordance with the laws and regulations of the country which an activity is carried out and in accordance with applicable U.S Federal, state and local laws, and regulations. One act of fraud hurts tax payers, hurts the reputation of our organization, hurts participants who are trying to grow their business and hurts the industry we work so hard to serve.

SUSTA wants to warn applicants that the organization does not tolerate fraud. Applicants applying for SUSTA’s MAP programs will not engage in fraud, SUSTA has a zero tolerance for fraud. Fraud is defined as: the taking or obtaining by deception, of money or any other benefit from - when not entitled to the benefit or an attempt to do so; misrepresentation of financial position, information, or documentation to deceive or lead to financial loss.

Any suspicion of fraud will be reported to the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Services (FAS). There are serious penalties for making false claims for reimbursement of federal dollars. False claims can also include a breach of agreement between SUSTA and your company.

SUSTA follows the same guidelines to review all applicants for the MAP program. Our goal is to make certain that every eligible member company has an opportunity to access foreign markets to increase exports. It is incumbent upon our association to be vigilant in our admissions process for MAP funds and assist those companies that meet the eligible requirements to benefit from our programs. SUSTA takes our responsibility as stewards of taxpayer funds seriously. We do hope as participants who are also tax payers that you see merit in us protecting the program to help you continue to grow.

 

Non-Discrimination Policy

SUSTA does not discriminate in any of its programs and activities against recipients on the basis of: age, disability, national origin or ancestry, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, military status, marital or familial status.

 

Standards of Conduct Policy

SUSTA’s standard of professional conduct is a benchmark that all SUSTA staff and SUSTA’s member states follow. SUSTA strives to operate with honesty, integrity and the highest possible standards of professionalism. By applying for SUSTA’s MAP program as a participant you also have a responsibility to adhere to certain rules of behavior and conduct. The purpose of these rules is not to restrict your rights, but rather to be certain that as a participant you understand what conduct is expected and necessary to participate in SUSTA’s programs. When each person is aware that he or she can fully depend upon SUSTA staff, SUSTA’s member states and other MAP participants to follow the rules of conduct, then our organization will be a better place to help promote and positively impact the growth of agriculture internationally.

SUSTA staff, Members, Contractors, Affiliated Organizations and MAP Participants will make every effort to act in a manner that upholds the following principles of this Code:

  • Comply with all applicable state, federal, foreign international laws and regulations.
  • Use of legal and ethical business practices that maintain the highest standards of business conduct.
  • Adhere to SUSTA’s Zero Tolerance for Fraud Policy and be cognizant of SUSTA’s Fraud Corruption Statement.
  • Recognize that SUSTA stands behind its Non-Discrimination Policy and expect all participants to abide by it.
  • Refrain from any dishonest or deceptive business practices that go against SUSTA’s Conflict of Interest Policy.
  • Present your company and its Brand products honestly in public representation including at international events and through advertisement.
  • Avoid falsifying or misleading information on an application when applying for the MAP program, when registering for events or requesting reimbursement.
  • Avoid participating indirectly or directly, in any scheme that results in false expectations or obligation. This includes paying bribes, kickbacks or other corrupt forms of payment for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or favorable action.
  • Cooperate reasonably with other related organizations and government affiliates working to help foster the food and agriculture industry.
  • Protect confidential and sensitive information ensuring that all documentation and correspondence is handled with care.
  • Respect the intellectual property rights of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, or any other proprietary business information. Properly and immediately address any unintentional breach.
  • Comply with contractual obligations with SUSTA and any other business entities in good faith.
  • Acknowledge that lawful, reasonable competition for business amongst participants in all markets is customary.

 

Terms and Conditions

Please read these terms and conditions carefully before you begin your MAP program year.

Payment

All payments for 50% CostShare are non-refundable. The $250 application fee is due when an application is submitted for review. After approval of an application, the 6% administrative fee is due 30 days after receipt of the invoice and agreements.

Privacy

When applying for the Market Access Program (MAP), you will be asked to share personal information about your company and your participation in USDA MAP program. Proprietary information provided will be maintained as business confidential and will not be shared, unless you otherwise indicate.

You will be asked at the end of the MAP program year to provide an end of the year evaluation. Any information provided in the evaluation is strictly confidential. SUSTA is required to share certain performance measures with USDA Foreign Agriculture Services (FAS) (i.e. projected sales, actual sales, number of distributors met, etc.) when administering the MAP program. SUSTA only shares aggregate information when providing performance measures to FAS. Individual company information is never shared without a company’s written consent.

However, a company is contacted to share individual information through success stories to help SUSTA further promote and maintain MAP funding. SUSTA will always ask for your written consent to share any success stories.

Review

When participating in SUSTA’s 50% CostShare Program, SUSTA is authorized to contact any person listed as the president, officer, or company contact for the 50% CostShare application. We verify information listed in the application to assist with helping to approve the application. Questions are standard and usually always part of the review process or a requirement to participate in 50% CostShare. SUSTA’s ability to assist a company with the Brand Promotion Program is directly tied to the company wanting to share information needed to get approved.

When a company applies for 50% CostShare, SUSTA is also authorized to contact any person or entity, including but not limited to foreign third parties, which the company have contracted with or has authorized to assist in some way with a claim submitted for reimbursement requests. SUSTA’s involvement in contacting any foreign third parties or anyone authorized by the MAP 50% CostShare participant to assist with a claim is to facilitate verifying information submitted by the 50% CostShare participant in the claim. SUSTA follows the MAP regulations and SUSTA policies to assist getting the expense paid.

SUSTA is also authorized to obtain information about your company, products, brands, subsidiary or affiliates, activities, services or goods provided when you apply for 50% CostShare and/or submits claims. Participating companies must maintain copies of their records related to the 50% CostShare application and any expense claims submitted for a minimum of five (5) years. SUSTA’s 50% CostShare is a federally funded program. Therefore, SUSTA goes through an annual federal compliance review. Any claim is subject to be challenged during the annual federal compliance review and the participating company may be contacted by SUSTA, FAS, or the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) in regards to a claim submitted.

SUSTA may not approve every company that applies for 50% CostShare. Companies denied approval in SUSTA’s 50% CostShare is not subjective. SUSTA would like to approve all companies interested. However, every company applying must qualify for 50% CostShare. All qualifying requirements are reviewed for every company applying. All companies will be notified in writing on the additional information that is needed to approve them for 50% CostShare or why they were not approved for the program.

The latter also applies for all claims requests submitted. SUSTA may reject any claim for reimbursements if, in the sole opinion of SUSTA, it does not comply with the agreement, MAP or FAS regulations, or there is an outstanding question regarding additional documentation needed to validate the claim.

Contacts

Any questions about applying for 50% CostShare, please contact Deneen Wiltz or call (504) 568-5986.

Any questions about a claim, please contact Penney Lawrence or call (504) 568-5986.

 

Conflict of Interest Policy

Market Access Program (MAP) 50% CostShare participant represents and warrants that he is not prevented, whether by contract or otherwise, from marketing, promoting or otherwise representing or advancing any interest of the product brands promoted. Further, 50% CostShare participant agrees, represents and warrants that, during the term of the agreement, it will not have a conflict of interest or otherwise be precluded from marketing, promoting or otherwise representing or advancing any interest of the brand products being promoted.

50% CostShare participant also agrees that any third party working on behalf of the program participant, must ensure that no employee or official of the brand program participant, or any third party working on behalf of 50% CostShare participant is participating in the selection or award of a contract in which such employee, official, or third party or the employee’s, officials, or third party’s family or partners has a financial interest (e.g. doing business with yourself).

Companies may carry out activities alone or in cooperation with contractors, subcontractors, foreign agents or distributors (hereinafter called “Foreign Third Party”). Companies must disclose to SUSTA any ownership interest with foreign third parties the company is doing business with or disclose any employee of the company that has interest with any third party providing goods or services related to a claim that has been submitted for reimbursement. Companies are not allowed to be reimbursed for expenses that have been reimbursed by another entity. Expenses incurred by the Foreign Third Party must be separately identified in the claim submitted by the company. The company must then provide verifiable and reasonable proof of payment to the foreign third party.

Companies shall not contract with an entity to conduct activities if the owners of the Company or the officials of the Company, or the family or partners of the owners or officers of the Company have a financial interest in the entity. SUSTA cannot reimburse a company for expenses if the party to whom the expenses was paid is related to the Company by way of ownership share, officer, director, or employee of the company.