By Elizabeth Newell firstname.lastname@example.org January 6, 2010
A Federal Acquisition Regulation rule change filed on Wednesday would waive certain Buy American restrictions for contracts in support of operations in Afghanistan. The waiver would apply to nine countries in the Afghan region and would exclude some products such as guns and ammunition.
The proposed rule would implement a July 2009 declaration from Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn to the same effect. Lynn’s waiver, outlined in a memorandum from Shay Assad, director of Defense acquisition and procurement policy, to military and contracting officials, stated that allowing Defense to buy support items from South Caucasus and Central and South Asian countries — specifically Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — has a range of potential benefits.
Permitting these acquisitions would improve local market and transportation infrastructure in the Afghan region; reduce the U.S. government’s transportation costs; and facilitate “the free flow of regular, reliable large-scale shipments of products and services through the region in support of the operations in Afghanistan,” Lynn stated. The waiver would lift restrictions “inconsistent with the public interest” and encourage countries in the region to cooperate in expanding supply routes, he added. In turn, a more robust commercial transportation network in the area would help connect Afghanistan to its neighbors, promote regional commerce, diversify existing infrastructure, and generally bolster stability and prosperity, he noted.
The FAR rule, which is open to public comment until March 9, would apply this waiver to Defense Department contracts and those underwritten by the General Services Administration. There is a repeated exemption for arms, ammunition and war materials; the government will continue to be required to buy those products from American firms.
The proposal contains a clause aimed at reciprocity. Foreign companies that sign deals with the U.S. government under this provision would be required to inform their country’s government of its participation in the acquisition and that “it generally will not have such opportunity in the future unless its government provides reciprocal procurement opportunities to U.S. products and services and suppliers of such products and services.”
Comments on the proposal can be sent to email@example.com.
(C) 2010 BY NATIONAL JOURNAL GROUP, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.