On August 21, 2017, the Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a request for comments in response to Section 3(e) of the Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American, which directs the Secretary of Commerce and the USTR to assess the impacts of all United States free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) on the operation of Buy American Laws, including their impacts on the implementation of domestic procurement preferences.
In response to this Executive Order, Commerce and the Office of the USTR are conducting industry outreach in order to better understand how the U.S. government procurement obligations under all U.S. free trade agreements and the GPA affect U.S. manufacturers’ and suppliers’ access to and participation in the domestic government procurement process. In addition, because reciprocal access to trading partners’ markets is an important motivation for including government procurement obligations in U.S. free trade agreements and for the United States’ membership in the GPA, Commerce and the USTR are also seeking information about the costs and benefits of these obligations to U.S. manufacturers and suppliers competing in U.S. trading partners’ government procurement markets. The trading partners with which the United States has international government procurement obligations are: Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, the European Union (which includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom), Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Panama, Peru, Singapore, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
The Secretary of Commerce and the USTR are required to conclude the assessment called for under Section 3(e) by September 15, 2017. Responses to this notice will be considered in the assessment as well as in the final report of findings and recommendations to strengthen the implementation of Buy American Laws that the Secretary of Commerce will submit to the President of the United States by November 24, 2017.
The deadline for interested persons to submit written comments is September 18, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).