Trump proposes expanded Buy American requirements for steel, iron

July 18, 2019

A new executive order proposes a rule change to consider steel products foreign-made if at least 5% of total cost

President Trump recently issued a new executive order calling for the broadening of Buy American requirements for federal infrastructure projects. 

The Buy American Act requires that American-made products be given preference on certain projects that receive federal funding.

The newly issued Executive Order on Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials proposes a new rule that would consider materials to be of foreign origin if the cost of the foreign products used in the material is 45% or more of the total cost, a slight shift from the current foreign-content designation for products with 50% foreign material.

For steel and iron products, a more significant change is proposed as it sets the threshold for foreign products at 5% of the total cost.

The executive order directs the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council to consider and evaluate public comments for the next 180 days and then issue a final rule. The president has also asked the FAR Council to consider whether the foreign content threshold for products other than steel and iron should be lowered to 25%. 

According to a report from Engineering News-Record, the new order would not affect federal-aid highway work as such projects would be covered by a different preference requirement. The new directive would, however, have an impact on direct federal programs.

The president has taken other steps to push industries away from buying internationally sourced products by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum manufactured in foreign countries over a year ago. The administration has since placed additional tariffs on products made in China.  


SOURCE: Engineering News-Record | Construction Dive | The White House

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