Biden’s Buy American Pledge Has Its Limits
International Trade Partner Nasim Fussell was quoted in a Financial Times article about the limits to President Joe Biden's Buy American campaign pledge to boost domestic manufacturing by forcing more government procurement of goods produced by U.S. companies. Under the Biden Administration, it will become harder for companies to get exemptions, or waivers, if they’re manufacturing overseas. Additionally, any waivers will be made public, so that U.S. companies can potentially challenge them by offering their own U.S.-made products instead. However, the Government Procurement Act (GPA) limits the effect Biden’s Buy American can really have as large public procurement contracts are still open to foreign competition.
There are lines in Biden’s executive order, too, that talk about the potential to modernize international trade rules. "Does modernize mean change, improve, tighten, restrict?” said Ms. Fussell. She says that while she’s only reading between the lines, she wonders if the current easy access to U.S. public contracts for GPA signatories could be up for discussion. There is also, she points out, a new requirement that the head of each agency submits records of where money went to foreign countries bidding under GPA or other trade agreement rules.