Earlier this month, Venable reported on the Trump administration’s intent to make the federal government’s procurement preference for domestic products (i.e., the body of “Buy American” laws that have been around in some form or another since 1933) even “more muscular” by moving forward with a “new policy” that is “based on the twin pillars of maximizing Made in America content and minimizing waivers and exceptions to Buy American laws.” To that end, on April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order. In his remarks on the executive order, President Trump said, “With this action, we are sending a powerful signal to the world: We’re going to defend our workers, protect our jobs, and finally put America first.” He further stated, “We’re using every tool at our disposal to restore the American Dream. In fact, when it comes to wasteful, destructive, job-killing regulations, we are going to use a tool you all know very well—it’s called the sledgehammer.” To learn more about the specifics, read more from our Government Contracts Group.
Of course the substantiation needed for “Made in USA” claims is different and heightened compared to the Buy America standard. In encouraging businesses to invest in American manufacturing, it is likely such businesses will want to advertise the investment to non-government purchasers. But given the FTC’s standard to support a “Made in USA” claim is that “all or virtually all” domestic sourcing be used, the bar is very high. Might a new FTC chair revisit this standard and provide some greater flexibility? This is something else that would be HUGE if it happened.