- Learning from other recent historical events, such as Hurricane Katrina, GSA is taking proactive measures to ensure that certain critical supplies are available to help respond to the COVID-19 health emergency.
- GSA has determined that there are not sufficient supplies of certain items available from trade agreement compliant sources or under the Buy American Act.
- This class D&F applies to GSA contracts and orders placed against GSA contracts.
On April 3, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) issued a class Determination and Findings (D&F) waiving country of origin restrictions imposed by the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) and the Buy American Act (BAA) for certain supplies to aid in responding to the COVID-19 health emergency. The class D&F applies to purchases of these supplies at any dollar amount made from April 3 to July 1, 2020.
The class D&F explains that waivers of country of origin restrictions in TAA and BAA contract clauses are warranted for certain supplies that are temporarily unavailable in sufficient quantities or of satisfactory quality. It applies to all GSA schedule contracts (and orders issued under them) and GSA individual procurements that contain the TAA and/or BAA clauses. While new contracts or schedule awards may be issued for these supplies, due to the limited applicability period of this class D&F, GSA’s stated preference is to modify already existing contracts.
GSA Class D&F Applicability
The waiver in this class D&F applies to both GSA schedule contracts and new contracts, but only to the following Federal Supply Classes (FSCs) listed in the D&F:
- N95 masks (FSC 4240)
- Sodium hypochlorite (bleach) (FSC 6810)
- Disinfectants including cleaners, sprays, and wipes (FSC 6840)
- Cleaners including sanitizing surface and floor cleaners (FSC 7930)
- Hand sanitizers, soaps, and dispensers (FSC 8520)
Under the class D&F, these supplies may be manufactured in any country, including China, except those listed in FAR Subpart 25.7 (e.g., most transactions involving Cuba, Iran and Sudan are prohibited, as are most imports from Burma or North Korea). Additionally, supplies from other territories, such as the Crimea region and Syria, may also be prohibited due to other existing OFAC regulations that are incorporated by reference in FAR Subpart 25.7.
It is important to note that the class D&F’s waiver is not limited to contracts or orders issued solely in response to the COVID-19 health emergency. Additionally, contractors may also receive rated orders for these FSC products from the federal agencies that are authorized to issue them pursuant to the Defense Production Act.
What This Means for Contractors and Suppliers
- A contractor should ensure that it has the proper procedures in place for its supply chain staff to track and archive country of origin information for the supplies it provides under any GSA contract.
- Although the class D&F relaxes significant TAA and BAA restrictions on the country of origin for certain supplies, a contractor should not assume that it can immediately begin to sell these products under its existing GSA contracts. Instead, the contractor should reach out to its Contracting Officer to ensure that its contract has been appropriately modified consistent with this class D&F.
- If a contractor has manufacturing or supply chain capabilities for any of the FSC supplies listed in the class D&F, it should consider immediately contacting its Contracting Officer to request a contract modification to take advantage of this short-term opportunity.
As the situation evolves, the GSA may update the FSCs or modify the class D&F’s end date to meet the government’s needs. Our Government Contracts and International Trade teams will monitor developments and provide federal contractors and suppliers with these updates as they arise.