The federal government has a long-standing preference for using domestic products in federal manufacturing, supply, and construction procurements. Newer rules are applying this old-age preference to additional sectors of construction that the federal government has a hand
The general rule for federal procurements is that all physical products provided or sold to the government must be made in the United States, unless an exception to this rule applies. These domestic preferences are governed by a complex framework of statutes and regulations, prohibitions and waivers, and rules and exceptions that are oftentimes difficult for contractors to understand and follow. It is crucial that all construction contractors, especially federal contractors, understand these domestic preferences in order to avoid the significant penalties that may be imposed for any failure to comply.
The federal government’s domestic preferences are generally governed by one of four statutory schemes: (1) the Buy American Act of 1933 (“BAA”), as modified by the Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”); (2) the Buy America provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (“Buy America”); (3) the American Iron and Steel Requirements (“AIS Requirements”), as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (“Appropriations Act”) and the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (“WRRDA”); and (4) the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Recovery Act”).