March 1, 2010

The Federal Acquisition Regulation and US Government Contracting: An Introduction

Danish-American Business Forum
David S. Black
Government Contracts Partner David Black authored the article "The Federal Acquisition Regulation and US Government Contracting: An Introduction", in the March 2010 issue of the Danish-American Business Forum.

The article states that it is vital for companies wishing to do business with the U.S. government to know the details of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), a set of guidelines through which the government purchases goods and services. Mr. Black writes that all stages of the U.S. government's contracting process are laid out in the FAR including planning, soliciting, awarding, performing and closing. He adds that understanding the FAR is a fundamental requirement for marketing, preparing bids and offers, receiving awards, administrating a contract, avoiding contract litigation and complying with federal laws.

Mr. Black writes that under the FAR, non-U.S. companies are permitted to compete for U.S. government contracts as long as they meet several requirements. Among other things, these companies must obtain a nine digit D-U-N-S number, register with the Central Contractor Registration, complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application and for Department of Defense contractors, obtain a NATO Contractor and Government Entity code.

The FAR is more than 1900 pages, but Mr. Black believes its uniformity and predictability make it easier and more manageable for non-U.S. companies to enter the U.S. government market. However, he also writes the FAR has a vast number of regulations and requirements that are easy to violate for a company that is not familiar with its content. With this in mind, he recommends that non-U.S. companies seeking to make significant investments in U.S. government contracts should hire employees and independent consultants with knowledge and experience in U.S. government contracting.

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