US issues Buy America requirements for Defense Department

The Defense Acquisition Regulations System and the US Department of Defense have received a final rule amending President Joe Biden’s executive order for maximizing use of American-made goods, products, and materials – including steel.

According to the executive order, a product is considered to be foreign if its components consist of greater than 45% foreign materials. However, iron and steel products are foreign if the cost of iron and steel equals more than 5% of the cost of all components. The rule is designed to strengthen domestic preference.

The analysis of public comments revealed responders fall on all sides. Some seek specific waivers, others feel their procurements are out of the scope of the executive order, and still others are greatly in favour of the order and show support for having more Buy American procurements in motion.

By some accounts, the federal market for iron has already undergone significant retooling to meet the demand increases to come from the department.

The department ultimately decided to uphold their initial assessment that the rule on the executive order is primarily a positive force and that cost impacts are not significant.

During the American Iron and Steel Institute conference attended by Kallanish in Washington, DC, on 25 May, the director of the Made In America department Celeste Drake suggested that steel producers be involved in the roll-out of the procedures for their industry. She explained new policies around limiting the number of waivers the office was willing to permit.

The latest ruling appears to be aligned with her message about integrating the use of American steel in federal departments.

Kristen DiLandro USA