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When the Government Must “Buy American”: Understanding the Buy American Act, the Trade Agreements Act, and Related Policy Developments

June 18, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


Since taking office, President Donald J. Trump has continued to tout his “Buy American” agenda. For example, in April 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13788, which set forth a policy and action plan intended to “support the American manufacturing and defense industrial bases” by “maximiz[ing]” the Federal Government’s procurement of “goods, products, and materials produced in the United States,” and mandated strict compliance with so-called “Buy American Laws.” In January 2019, President Trump issued a new Executive Order extending and reinforcing EO 13788, this time specifically directed towards infrastructure projects funded by federal financial assistance awards. Meanwhile, across the aisle, some Congressional Democrats have been actively pushing to strengthen the Government’s “Buy American” requirements and to close supposed “loopholes” in current regimes like the Buy American Act. In other words, “Buy American” action is one of the rare items that attracts bipartisan participation in Washington, D.C.

As a result, it has become even more critical for contractors and subcontractors to fully understand and comply with all domestic procurement preferences and restrictions applicable to Federal Government contracts.

Designed for lawyers and contracting professionals, this course will examine the key statutory and regulatory frameworks of the United States’ domestic preference regime – focusing on the Buy American Act and the Trade Agreements Act. The instructors (Justin Ganderson of Northrop Grumman and Scott Freling & Mike Wagner of Covington & Burling LLP) will help attendees navigate this complex area and take steps to avoid compliance problems.

Learning Objectives

This course will help participants:

  • Understand the statutory and regulatory requirements arising from the Buy American Act (BAA) and the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) that apply to a Federal Government procurement
  • Recognize nuances in the BAA and TAA (e.g., components versus sub-components; end products versus construction materials; manufacturing versus substantial transformation; civilian agency requirements versus Department of Defense requirements)
  • Learn how to apply the BAA’s two-part test (i.e., determining where the item is manufactured, and calculating the cost of components)
  • Learn how the BAA and TAA requirements are implemented and incorporated into a contract, and determine what requirements must or should be flowed down to subcontractors
  • Understand the implications of compliance failures, including False Claims Act violations, bid protest risk, suspension and debarment actions, and breach of contract
  • Identify other domestic sourcing regimes, like the Berry Amendment and the restrictions on specialty metals


June 18, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
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