For the third time since he entered the White House, President Trump has issued an Executive Order aimed at maximizing the Government’s procurement of American-made products. While the two previous “Buy American” Orders were primarily aimed at enforcing existing Buy American rules, the latest Executive Order proposes significant changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rules on Buy American preferences—rules that have been in place for more than 60 years, and have guided how contractors manufacture products and source components to comply with the Buy American Act. As a result, the impacts of this latest Order on government contractors subject to the Buy American Act and their existing supply chains could be significant.
The latest Executive Order on “Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials” comes on the heels of two prior Executive Orders aimed at enforcing the “Buy American” policy: EO 13788, “Buy American and Hire American” issued in January 2017, which directed federal agencies to strengthen enforcement of existing Buy American laws and close “loopholes” to maximize the procurement of American-made products in Federal procurements; and EO 13858, “Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects,” issued in January 2019, which called for maximizing the procurement of American-made products in federally-funded infrastructure projects. The President’s newest Order—billed by White House Director of Trade and Industrial Policy Peter Navarro as the President’s “third pillar to his Buy American platform”—goes further than merely enforcing existing rules, and instead calls for significant changes in two key aspects of the FAR rules on Buy American preferences.
Continue reading at: Wiley Rein